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5 more examples of great fundraising emails

The beginning of each new year is the perfect time to remind your donors of your cause, not to mention revisiting your email strategy for bringing in donations. Email campaigns are powerful tools for connecting with both past and potential donors to show them the goals your nonprofit has outlined for the year.

Spend time looking back at the emails that received a high response rate last year and noting the similarities. How long were the high response rate emails? What did they ask the donor to do? How were they structured? What types of images did they include? Base your new strategy on what worked best in previous years and learn from what didn’t.

Then, reference the following five points and examples as you craft the first fundraising appeal emails of the year to optimize your response rate.

1. Catchy or intriguing subject line

How will your email stand out among the many your contacts’ inboxes receive each day? 33% of email recipients are choosing whether to open your email just based on the subject line alone. This means crafting an intriguing subject line has the power to drive your reader to click or delete without opening. Our best tips for writing winning subject lines? Keep it short (50 characters maximum), unique and consistent.

With the catchy subject line “Let it snow” to introduce their email about the decreased threat of extinction facing Snow Leopards, the Wildlife Conservation Society provides a good example of an enticing subject line.

Wildlife Conservation Society
Wildlife Conservation Society fundraising email

2. Emotional storytelling

Our connection and ability to relate to other human beings is part of what makes storytelling so powerful. Use your fundraising emails to tell detailed stories about the people your nonprofit has assisted or about the volunteers who have been impacted by your cause. Alternately, tell the story of your organization—how it came to be, who it was founded by and the community impact it’s made. An emotional story told well can ultimately be the factor that motivates donors to give to your cause.

Consider the below email from the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County. By using the story of an injured dog found in a dire situation, the email pulls at reader’s heartstrings and allows them to form an emotional connection to a dog in need of a home.

Humane Society
Humane Society fundraising email

We’ve written more about storytelling as a way to inspire donations here.

3. A SINGLE call to action

Don’t overwhelm your audience by asking them to do multiple things or click on multiple links within your email. Keep your call to action simple, focused and singular. This email from the David Brower Center is a great example. There is only one place you can click: the simple, easy to see donate button. No other buttons or links distract from it.

David Brower Center
David Brower Center fundraising email

4. Impactful image

If you’re planning an email campaign, be sure to include relevant images to drive your point home. Showing potential donors a picture of who or what their money goes toward gives a visual picture of the impact a donation will make. 65% of people prefer emails with images rather than those that are text-heavy. Even better? Consider including multiple images within your emails. Hubspot has also found that a decrease in the number of images included in an email leads to a decrease in click-through-rates.

The below example email from the Lan Su Chinese Garden showcases the tranquil oasis the donors are supporting.

Lan Su Chinese Garden
Lan Su Chinese Garden

5. Focus on the reader and their impact

Your contacts will want to know how their donation will be used to make a difference. In your fundraising appeal emails, spell out a few examples. Detail exactly where their donation of $10 will go or what a three-hour volunteer session will help you achieve. The St. Louis Area Foodbank does this well in the below email. With the line “$25 provides 100 meals,” readers have a clear idea of the impact they will make, depending upon how much they donate.

St. Louis Foodbank
St. Louis Area Foodbank fundraising email

Check out our previously written post detailing five other examples of great fundraising emails. When you’re finished reading and crafting your next email blast, we’d love to share with you the ways 4aGoodCause can help.


Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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