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Making Sure Your First Fundraising Email Wins in the Inbox

For most of the email marketing world, it’s no big secret that building awareness for a charitable cause and leveraging the power of the inbox are two practices that go hand-in-hand. However, if you’re new to the scene and not quite sure where to start on behalf of your nonprofit organization, this process can be more than a little daunting.

If this outlook describes your current situation and mindset, the truth of the matter is that you actually have nothing to worry about. By following the tactics and tips we’ve offered up below, you’ll have all the tools you need to make sure that the first fundraising email you fire off to the inbox wins over its target audience in a hurry.

Succinct Content Scores Well

As you sit down and put digital pen to paper in an attempt to provide insight into your cause, Caron Beesley of the Nonprofit Hub suggests that you do your best to keep things brief when it comes to your email copy. Specifically, you’ll want to aim for the 10 to 15 second viewing window – 180 to 250 words usually cover this time spam – as a rule of thumb. If you go beyond this succinct framework, don’t be surprised when you lose these viewers to boredom or waning interest.

From a bigger picture perspective, this email offering is simply meant to pique the interest of the person on the other side of the screen. Focus on getting their attention, then save the details for when these future donors click-through to your nonprofit website or landing pages.

Appeal to the Heart with Evocative Imagery

In terms of other inclusions in your first fundraising email, Beesley goes on to explain that it’s hard to go wrong with evocative imagery that helps pull on the heartstrings of your audience. Anything that can help show the charity of your contact list in action is worthy of consideration as you angle to generate more donations and support.

The big key here is to avoid the temptation of going overboard with graphics. A healthy portion of your audience will be on mobile devices when viewing your content, so keep load times and viewability in mind as you include images and plan out the design of this inbox offering.

Add Some Power to Your Subject Line

For many initial outreach efforts via this channel, getting that first click on the “open” button is the most difficult part of the process. However, the team from the Nonprofit Marketing Blog point out that honing in on the right words and phrases in your subject line can help boost open rates and ensure that this introductory fundraising message has its time in the spotlight.

The words that most often help a nonprofit message generate an open include:

  • Newsletter
  • Issue
  • Digest
  • Edition
  • Posts
  • Survey

As you can see, words that indicate recurring updates and the ability to interact with a charitable cause are strong inclusions. The upside of going this route is that utilizing these terms also helps promote a consistent experience as you build this initial offering into a stable force within the inbox.

Timing Matters More Than Ever Before

Finally, don’t discount the role of timing as you prepare to unveil this first fundraising message to your audience of future donors and charitable supporters. While most nonprofits might view this event as an exploratory offering or a way to “test the waters” before truly getting serious about building a response from contact list members, there’s no reason to leave anything – including optimal timing – on the table.

The team from the Nonprofit Marketing Blog goes on to note that fundraising emails sent between 6 A.M. and 7 A.M. generate the greatest amount of opens and clicks. Other periods or time slots might work better for your specific audience (don’t be afraid to do a little A/B testing later on down the road), but your best bet is to aim for this portion of the day if it’s your first time reaching out in the inbox.

Pressing the “send” button and watching your initial fundraising email speed off to the inboxes of potential donors is an exciting – and stressful – experience; nobody can deny the gravity of this situation. Thankfully, by taking the time to implement the best practices and guidelines offered up in this post, you can tackle this challenge with confidence and the knowledge that you’ve done everything you can to spread the word about your cause and make the most out of this golden opportunity.

About Victor Green

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