6 Creative Ways to Increase Donations Through Email
— June 28, 2018
Even though your cause is important, finding funding can sometimes feel a little salesy, both for you and your potential donors.
The key is to use the low pressure effectiveness of email marketing to be as specific as possible about your funding needs. Donors like to know exactly where their money is going, and with an education about your cause comes the willingness to give.
Creating an individual campaign each time you ask for donations is a great way to refresh your techniques, so your emails stay new and exciting. New campaigns also give you the opportunity to be creative, making the asking for money awkwardness feel much more comfortable and even fun.
Here are six ways you can get creative with your fundraising email marketing campaigns:
1. Recognize your donors in different ways
Donors like to be recognized for their gifts, so creating titles for the different levels of giving can help donors decide how much to give after opening your email. This is a chance to be creative and ask for funding in a way that will get donors excited, even competitive, so they hopefully give even more.
For example, if your organization supports an after-school program for at-risk youth and you are creating a fundraising campaign around building a new gym, the different levels of giving could relate to sports, such as:
- MVP Level: $ 5,000+
- All-Star Level: $ 1,000+
- Trophy Level: $ 500+
- Pro Level: $ 100+
After the campaign has finished, post the donor names, with their consent, and their donation tier on your website. Even better, you could build a plaque that sits on the wall in the new gym to boost the incentive when asking for donations.
2. Piggyback on holidays
Creating email campaigns that piggyback on national holidays and seasons is a fun way to get creative when asking for money. For example, your emails could be education-themed, and you could ask for donors to “Sponsor a Backpack” for kids who are going back to school in September and are in need of school supplies. Not only is this specific enough so the donors know exactly where their money is going, but it is a campaign that is relatable to almost everyone.
Here are a few more examples to give you some ideas:
- A dog shelter could launch a “Summer Giving” campaign asking donors to sponsor dogs to get their summer haircuts before the heat sets in.
- A food pantry could create a “Feed a Family” campaign around Thanksgiving, asking donors to sponsor Thanksgiving dinner for families in need.
- A forest rehabilitation organization could launch a “Plant a Tree” campaign asking donors to sponsor a young tree to be planted that Spring.
3. Ask face-to-face (or at least face-to-video)
Asking for donations face-to-face is personal and sincere, but the next best thing is through video in email. Video performs well, which maximizes your reach, but it can also be fun to create.
Come up with creative ways to ask for donations, such as the kids your organization supports could explain how donations will help improve their athletic ability with a new gym. Then have the kids shoot some hoops or score some goals to cool music. Or have them act out a skit on the opportunities a new gym would provide. Fun will be had by all, and seeing what could be accomplished with donations will leave an impression on your audience, encouraging them to help in any way they can.
4. Get arts-and-crafty
Using imagery in email can impact the readers more than plain text. Some creative ways to use imagery in your next email campaign could be to use a picture of a handwritten note asking for donations.
Using the example with the kids again, you could share their handwritten cards or their crayon-colored pictures of sports in the new gym. Using these pictures in email will melt hearts and add that personal touch that boosts your contacts’ willingness to donate.
5. Tell your story in photos
Even simple photos of your progress can tell the story of your fundraising goals. If you run a campaign every year to provide new sneakers to kids in your athletic program, create an email campaign asking your contacts to sponsor a kid. Use photos from last year when the kids received their shoes.
Pictures of happy faces opening shoe boxes will help your audience want to be involved, providing happiness to a child and seeing it in their inbox.
6. Encourage more donations with a thoughtful “thank you”
Thank you emails can include a personal touch including a quote from someone who directly benefited from donations to your nonprofit. This could be as simple as a parent explaining how important it is for their child to have a safe place to go after school, or one of the kids expressing appreciation for the homework help they received at your organization.
Timing is also important. An autoresponder series can thank donors each time they give to your cause, without needing you to push a button. Be sure to include a link to your donation page in these emails to give your audience another chance to pitch in while they’re feeling good about the last contribution.
Put the “fun” in fundraising
From design to messaging and everything in between, email marketing provides infinite opportunities to fund your nonprofit organization’s goals in unique and creative ways. Just remember to keep it personal, and recognize your donors by saying thank you. Have fun with it and your donation prospects will be happy to help.