Email Fundraising Must
by Alan Sharpe
Inspire Donors to Go Online
Sending an email with no links to follow is like mailing a direct mail appeal without enclosing a reply device or return envelope. Costly.
Email fundraising only works when you inspire donors to go online. Online is where you get their donation. Online is where you secure their advocacy. Online is where you encourage their involvement. That’s why your email appeals, alerts and newsletters must give donors something to do, and must give them somewhere to go to do it. That place is your website.
Websites alone might raise some funds but they won’t build relationships. And email letters might inform donors but they won’t advance your cause unless you drive those donors to your website to act.
The easiest way to show you what I mean is to show you how Mothers Against Drunk Driving does it. Their email newsletters are filled with links.
Down the right side of each email donor newsletter is a simple, vertical navigation bar that looks like this:
- HELP SUPPORT MADD
By making a donation today, you’re making a difference for tomorrow. More
- VICTIM SERVICES
After the crash, there’s the impact. MADD is here to help you. More
- TAKE ACTION TODAY!
Learn what simple things you can do to help save lives and prevent injuries. More
- FORWARD TO A FRIEND
Share the latest news with your family and friends. More
Why this is effective:
- It’s strategic. MADD has a three-fold mission, Activism, Victim Services and Education. These simple, consistent links in every newsletter advance that mission by encouraging subscribers to speak out (Take Action Today!), help victims (Victim Services) and educate others (Forward to a Friend).
- It’s donor-centered. Notice that every one of these four links speaks directly to “you,” the donor. “You” are making a difference. “You” can save lives. MADD is here to help “you.”
- It teases. Each link tells you just enough to understand what lies on the other end of that “More >>” link, but no more. You must click the link to satisfy your curiosity.
- It stresses action. Three of the four links contain active verbs. “Help support,” “Take action,” “Forward.” In direct mail we call this the “call to action.” It calls the reader to act. The quickest way to encourage your donor to donate, sign a petition, take a survey or simply read more is to command them to do so.
To see what this entire email newsletter from MADD looks like, visit http://www.raisersharpe.com/z/madd.htm.
© 2006 Alan Sharpe. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Alan Sharpe, fundraising letter writer, instructor and author, is president of Raiser Sharpe, the full-service direct mail fundraising agency that helps non-profit organizations raise funds, build relationships and retain loyal donors using cost-effective, compelling, creative fundraising letters. Sign up for free weekly tips like this at RaiserSharpe.com.
The gold standard in nonprofit email newsletter delivery. Custom newsletter templates, funding appeals, event updates & more. 20% nonprofit discount!
7 Essential Steps to Raising Money by Mail
Learn with practical examples, detailed checklists, writing helps and other tools. Sample letters for different types of solicitations and for different nonprofit groups. A step by step guide to writing fundraising letters.
Silent Auction Guide & Toolkit
Learn how to create a successful silent auction fundraiser. Silent auction strategies, timelines, auction items and how to organize and display them, how to close an auction and take payments, and other add on fundraisers to boost the bottom line of your silent auction.
Let's Raise Money
The inside scoop about small group fundraising. Learn from the founder of a national fundraising company as he reveals secrets observed over nearly two decades of fundraising.
Read a Free Excerpt
The Ultimate Guide to Planning a 5K Run or Walk Fundraiser
Plan a successful race from scratch. Proven marketing strategies, find and manage volunteers, maximize revenues, recruit and motivate teams. Checklists, forms, speadsheets, worksheets all included.
Secrets of the Charity Auction Experts
Learn from the experts! Discover the best selling auction items. How to get auction items donated. How to boost attendance. How to get more bids and higher selling prices. How to coordinating volunteers, staff and auction consultants.
Grant Writing for Beginners
Learn how to quickly and easily establish relationships with regional foundations and build a strong base of grant support for your nonprofit.
Read a Free Excerpt