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4 strategies to make your fundraising emails more successful

email strategies

The end of the year always seems to fill inboxes with a flurry of nonprofits’ fundraising emails. Rightly so—the holiday season can be one of the biggest times of the year for charitable giving and nonprofits aim to end the year meeting their goals.

With so much fundraising activity there is much opportunity to glean great fundraising strategies by reviewing some of the best emails sent during the year-end giving season. In contrast to last year when I shared examples of great fundraising emails from many nonprofits, this year I want to zero on one nonprofit and share some winning strategies they employed in a series of fundraising emails.

The United Methodist Children’s Home achieved their goal of raising over $100,000 between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Here is a look at the various types of emails they sent to make the year-end season a success.

1. Take advantage of the dates and deadlines

Use cause awareness days and holidays to your advantage by sending emails that remind your donors of them and giving them inspiration to donate on these days. We think these cause awareness days are such a key fundraising opportunity, that we’ve written a whole post about them.

As you draw close to the end of the year, keep in mind Indigenous People’s Day, Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year's Eve as great days to use for fundraising purposes.

Nov 22: This email features a Thanksgiving theme and plays on the feelings of giving thanks for blessings. The email encourages readers to give back to others with the header, “Multiply the Blessings this Thanksgiving” as a push to donate.

thanksgiving email


Nov 29: This email was sent on Giving Tuesday and reminded donors of the holiday and donor match opportunities.

giving tuesday email

2. Be consistent

The key to success is not just a series of emails sent to your contact list encouraging them to donate. Rather, successful consistent emails explain the campaigns process, have a clear end goal, let readers know what it will take to get there and have a deadline. Plan your emails’ content and schedule them according to date.

Nov 29, again: This was the second email UMCH sent on Giving Tuesday. It arrived in inboxes later in the day and pushed donors to give by reminding them that the day and the matching donation offer were nearly through.

giving tuesday email


Dec 31: This email was sent out on the last day of the year as one last push for UMCH’s fundraising campaign.

end of year fundraising email

3. Find a donor willing to match gifts

Securing a large donor who agrees to match donations during the holiday season is a great opportunity. Since studies show that people tend to give more to charities during these months, gift matching will double your already larger-than-usual donation amounts.

Dec 6 and Dec 13: Sent just a week apart, both emails sent by UMCH center around the gift matching opportunity and encourage readers to donate during this time to help the nonprofit meet its end-of-year goals. Nearly every email UMCH sent during this campaign in some way alerted readers of the opportunity for gift matching.

matching gift email


xmas fundraising email

4. Incentivize donating

Offering a small gift in return for donations may inspire some people to give who have not yet. Although this can occassionally get expensive for your nonprofit, a mention of a $5 Target gift card or something similar could be what it takes to bring in donors who have been on the fence.

Dec 20: This email not only mentions UMCH’s matching gift opportunity and gives fundraising updates but also offers a short-term stocking stuffer offer of a complimentary Starbucks gift card for any reader who donates.

stocking stuffer fundraising email

Looking for more ways to increase your nonprofit’s fundraising? We update our blog often with tips on how nonprofits can work to become successful.

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Since founding 4aGoodCause in 1998, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves - building software that makes a difference in the world. For almost 20 years, Ronald and the 4aGoodCause online fundraising platform have helped raise millions of dollars for nonprofits from Maine to Hawaii. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @4aGC.

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