Creating Year-End Emails in a Snap!

As 2014 begins to wind down, those of us in the fundraising sphere are kicking into overdrive. In fact, the weeks between now and December 31st will see most non-profits raising the lion’s share of their revenue for the year. Chances are, you’ve already spent countless hours crafting year-end appeals, compiling lists of donors to contact, and getting your gift acknowledgement process in order. 

With any luck, you’ve also written a year-end email series to support your offline efforts and help drive online donations.

But if not, it’s not too late! 

One of the greatest strengths of digital fundraising is just how quickly you can move from strategy creation to implementation. There is still plenty of time to devise an email series that seamlessly integrates with your other fundraising efforts and boosts your year-end revenue. Here’s how:    

  • Find your focus.  The first step is to find a theme for your year-end email series that meshes with your other fundraising efforts. If you wrote about a matching gift opportunity or shared the story of a meals on wheels client in your year-end appeal, don’t select a whole new topic for your email campaign – pull from those campaigns you’ve already created. Crafting your emails around the same message that donors will read about in your year-end letter or see on your website will yield a truly integrated campaign and help to increase donations across all fundraising channels. 

  • Set a schedule.  Year-end is not the time to skimp on contacts with your donors. We recommend creating a series of at least 3 emails to go out in December. These multiple contacts will provide you with the opportunity to speak to your donors in slightly different ways. For example, your first email (sent early in December) may tug more at a donor’s heartstrings, while your final email (sent at the very end of the month) should communicate with a sense of urgency that there’s not much time left to make a tax-deductible gift this year. Each of these messages will motivate different types of donors, so be sure you’re sending enough emails to inspire as many supporters to give as possible. 

  • Write intriguing subject lines.  At the end of the year, your donors will be getting lots of emails from many different organizations. To ensure your emails stand out and are opened, you’ll want to dedicate some extra time selecting just the right line. Opt for short and sweet statements (or questions) to pique a donor’s interest and inspire them to open the email up to learn more.  

  • Don’t forget to link.  Each email you send asking for a donation should include at least three links to your donation page – and it’s critical that the first link appear in the first or second paragraph. You want to make it as easy as possible for donors to make a contribution, so offer them ample opportunity to click and take action.   

  • Coordinate your donation page.  As you send out your emails, the number of visitors to your donation page will rise. Before you hit “send” on your first email, be sure to visit your donation page and review it with fresh eyes. Does the page have a similar visual look as the emails you’ll be sending out? And does the message on the donation page jive with what you’re saying in the email series? If not, now is the perfect time to make a few quick updates so that your donors have a seamless experience making their donation. The last thing you want is for a donor to make it all the way to your donation page just to be turned off because the website page was confusing or had different messaging than the email that motivated them to give.

If you haven’t yet drafted a year-end email campaign, there is still time! By following the simple steps above, you’ll be able to create an effective email series that supports all of your end-of-year fundraising efforts – raising more money for your important mission. Good luck!