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Our top 5: Email campaigns meet social media

This year we’re giving you a new twist on our annual review of great fundraising email examples to provide you with additional ways to combine your email efforts with strong social media content.

1. Wellroot Family Services

Wellroot Family Services started #GivingTuesday out with an email solicitation coupled with great Facebook messaging throughout the day and a final “it’s not too late” email that went out to round out the evening. The organization utilized images of real foster children throughout the day on Facebook—nearly a dozen images—to grab at the heartstrings and put real faces to the cause. Wellroot was also mindful to thank its donors the following day with a heartfelt post on Facebook after the campaign wrapped.

Why this works: While Wellroot’s emails were a great start to its #GivingTuesday campaign, there’s only so much space for imagery and content in a single email. By showcasing multiple children throughout the day on Facebook, Wellroot continued their ask online, creating an ongoing way to share their story and show the faces of those who benefit from its services.

Wellroot Family Service Email


Wellroot Family Services Facebook posting

2. Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County

As a final push for 2019, the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County sent out an email challenge to meet a matching gift goal of $50,000. As part of this Holiday Drive to Save Lives, the organization not only gave an option to donate online through its website but also created the same campaign on its Facebook page with a link to donate that way as well.

Why this works: When you give your donors multiple ways to donate online, you’re also providing them with multiple ways to share this option with their friends and family. For instance, if a donor contributes via a donate link in an email, others may not see that they’ve given, unless you are offering social media sharing tools. But, if you include a donate link that leads to a Facebook fundraising campaign, when donors take action on that link, it will show in their newsfeed that they’ve donated to your cause providing others in their network the opportunity to see the action and take interest themselves.

Humane Society Email
Humane Society Facebook

3. St. Louis Area Foodbank

Through storytelling, the St. Louis Area Foodbank used longer-form copy in its email to donors to highlight Jim, someone just like you and me who needed the foodbank in hard times. Through still imagery and a video link, the organization was able to showcase the importance of donations and exactly how those donations help. The organization shared this same content and video links through shorter copy on Twitter and when others tweeted about the campaign efforts, they were there to retweet the content.

Why this works: Using multiple mediums to distribute information about your campaign ensures that donors who prefer words, pictures and video can all partake in your message. Video is also a great way to share your story by capturing the essence of what you do and who you serve. St. Louis Area Foodbank also did a good job of social listening during the campaign—it was there to retweet and comment on user-generated content also supporting the campaign.

Foodbank email
Foodbank twitter


4. Root & Rebound: Reentry Advocates

First, a big shout-out to Root & Rebound for using so much amazing imagery and video in all of its storytelling. From its website to social media channels and emails, this organization does a great job of tying in themes of imagery across all channels. At the end of 2019, the organization took a different approach than most and focused its email content around its annual report—to showcase what the organization did over the past 12 months and how donors’ support made that happen.

Why this works: Considering that Root & Rebound’s year-end content was scheduled to go out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day—holidays where, for those celebrating, are more about family and get-together than sitting online making donations—the opportunity for a ‘soft sell’ approach works well. It puts the content out there, shares a heart-felt story and provides options across all social media channels for users to learn more if they’re so inclined. We love the tie-in to what the Christmas season is all about—reflection and giving thanks. They did a great job of both in the online content at the end of December.

Root and Rebound email
Root and Rebound instagram post


5. Boston Trinity Academy

In similar fashion as Root & Rebound, Boston Trinity Academy approached its year-end emails as a way to say thank you to its donors and wish everyone a Merry Christmas by sending out a highlight video. This video, viewable via a direct link in its email, could also be viewed on Facebook and called out the use of music from its own student performers.

Why this works: Sometimes the simplicity of a message is what catches attention. There isn’t a lot of fluff and verbiage in Boston Trinity Academy’s year-end email, but yet it captures the essence of what fall semester was all about and focuses on the students.

Boston Trinity email
Boston Trinity Facebook posting


Honorable mention: Wildlife Conservation Society

We really loved the way WCS composed its year-end email ask. It was personalized and, more importantly, it spelled out three critical reasons to donate (to coincide with its Triple Your Impact campaign). The organization also had a similar post with a link to donate go out on its Facebook page that same day.

How to expand on this: While a single Facebook post is better than none at all, WCS also has a host of individuals who create Facebook fundraisers for the organization year-round (see image). This leads us to believe Facebook is an extremely viable channel to reach its donors. If you notice that your followers are also apt to promote peer-giving campaigns on Facebook, make it easy for them to share giving opportunities by placing multiple pieces of content through the day/campaign. You’ll increase your reach and likely gain a few new donors.

WCS email
WCS Facebook

For more email marketing ideas related to fundraising, our previous posts from 2018 and 2016 can still offer great starting points. What will you do this year to combine messaging efforts across email and social media channels to educate and connect with your donors?

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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