Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stop "Lettering" Donors Through Email

It's the most wonderful time of the year... for fundraisers we are entering the end of year solicitation cycle, when most of the gifts that support our organizations come in through a variety of channels. With the rise of online giving, we are seeing a rise in email solicitations. And boy, do we have some work to do in this department. 

Just like donor relations and stewardship are not synonyms, neither are letters and email. I become really frustrated every time I open a solicitation email on my mobile tablet or phone and have to scroll at least 10 times to get to the end of the message. I'm not alone. Remember, most email is read on a mobile device, it's 2014. You can't take your year end fundraising letter and cut and paste it into an email and think this is an amazing way to raise funds. 
Email is meant to be a short communication form, with dynamic images, great subject lines and a clear call to action. Keep it short, don't belabor me with having to read through hundreds of words of text.

Let's look at some examples of what works and what doesn't.
This epistle is over 400 words long. No, seriously. 

After I finish reading this thing, I'm exhausted, not inspired to give. 

But look here, look at these folks who are using email effectively- Great examples here:

 These folks are putting the donor at the center of their world, embracing mobile friendly design, and keeping it short and simple. If I'm interested, I'll click the link, but at least you haven't written a tome. Kudos!

This is another simple yet effective example- and for goodness sake, don't forget about the subject line- Peter Drury at Splash just sent a brilliant email solicitation and the subject line was "Do You Want to Do a Good Thing- with true impact?" YES I do. KUDOS to the folks at Splash!

Much better than the other one I received that week that read, "Give to the 2014 Annual Fund" Seriously? That's all you've got? zzzzzzz Come on, we can do better!

Planning a year end appeal? (of course you are) Think about the way it looks on your mobile device, think about the message it sends to donors. What are you saying and good grief why so many words? You will have much higher conversion rates if you put the donor at the center of your efforts and remember that mobile is king. Care to share your examples? email them to me ( and I can help you streamline them for success and help you raise more money! 

Cheers and happy asking!


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