By Freddie Tubbs
How you ask for donations often makes a big difference. You are asking people to donate their money and you have to be compelling when doing this. You also have to be transparent.
Asking in person is difficult, but what may be even harder is writing effective fundraising e-mails. You only get that one chance to make a good online impression and to ask for a donation from your potential donor. There isn’t much space either so you have to be concise.
Here are just a few tips on how to write effective fundraising e-mails:
Tell a good story
In order to get the emotional response you want, you have to tell a really interesting story. Of course, it has to be relevant to your cause. Start your e-mail with a few sentences describing the problem at hand, but in a way that will immerse readers. You’ll probably have to rewrite this section a few times, but it will be worth it when it comes to getting readers to take the next actionable step.
Another thing you should do is be as specific as possible. This means adding real numbers and percentages into your story to make it even more realistic and compelling.
Make it short
Your fundraising e-mail can’t be long. You need to say what you have to say quickly, without flowery prose or elaborating the issue for too long. Dedicate the first few sentences to telling your story, another few sentences to what is being done at the moment to help the cause, and a few more to explain where the money is going. Then, finish strong with a polite, yet compelling call to action.
Use online editing tools
Your e-mail will have to be short and to the point, which may take some editing to perfect. It’s important that there are no spelling or grammatical mistakes (something that can kill your message and be off-putting to potential donors). If you find the editing process tedious, here are a few tools that can help you:
- Stateofwriting and Viawriting for those new to copywriting
- Academ advisor and Boomessays – great tools for testing readability
- Mywritingway and Essayroo – great tools for testing grammar and spelling to help you polish your e-mail
Talk about what has already been done
In a few sentences, describe the work that has already been done in order to reach the goal of your cause. This gives your potential donor the confidence that his or her money will be going towards supporting a cause that already has legs and has started to make a tangible, positive impact.
Make it about them
Use a lot of ‘you’ instead of focusing on ‘we’. Represent the cause in such a way that the recipient feels like they are the only one that can help.
Talk about where their money will go
Another very important part of your e-mail is telling your audience and potential donors exactly where their money is going in supporting the cause. It is important to be specific and transparent in order to build trust and in order to create a call to action that will lead to ongoing future donations.
While writing fundraising e-mails can be hard, it is something that can be done effectively with the right ideas from the get-go. Hopefully these tips will help in making your future fundraising e-mails successful in getting results!
About the Author
Freddie Tubbs is a communication manager at Paper Fellows. He regularly takes part in online marketing and communications conferences, and contributes articles to Academized and Australian help blogs.