Resources Hub » Blog » 15 Email Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits That Are Sure to Drive Donations

Article first published November 2016, updated May 2019

Most nonprofit organizations do at least some fundraising year-round, but the majority of it occurs in the last quarter of the year.

Thirty one percent of all donations to non-profits occur in December, and a whopping 12% in the last three days of the year.

How do nonprofits fundraise?

Nonprofits have several different methods when it comes to fundraising. From email fundraising to rallies and charity auctions, many ideas can help get the money that a nonprofit may need to stay up and running to provide their services to the community.Nonprofit ideas:

  • Charity auctions
  • Crowdfunding
  • Online donations
  • Donation kiosks
  • Peer-to-Peer fundraising
  • Walk/run
  • Trivia nights
  • Email fundraising

One of the easiest and most affordable ways for nonprofits to get the word out and generate donations is by using email marketing. For every 1,000 fundraising emails delivered, a nonprofit raises $44. Campaign Monitor makes it easy to stay in touch with donors and volunteers with our simple drag-and-drop email templates.

How do you ask for a donation in an email?

Some people find that asking for money is rather awkward—not everyone wants to give, and some find it offensive that you’d even ask, while others simply don’t have the money to give and feel just as awkward as the sender does. When it comes to email fundraising ideas, how does an email marketer go about asking for a donation in an email?The very first thing you’ll want to do is craft an eye-catching subject line—something that’ll entice your readers to open your email and read it.From there, you’ll want to get right to the chase, explain the situation, and simply ask for their contribution. You’ll want to personalize it as much as you can so that you truly touch the reader and encourage them to want to contribute. In your email, you’ll want to provide links and or buttons with text to help guide the reader so they know where they can go to give. Most importantly, you’ll want to make sure you follow up and thank your readers for their time, no matter if they donated or not. Just the fact that they opened your email is deserving of recognition, so don’t leave out those who clicked to open and read.

What to do the rest of the year

While many nonprofits wait until the last quarter of the year to hone in on their fundraising efforts, there are plenty of ways that marketing teams can work fundraising into the rest of the year as well. Year-round fundraising doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, many big-name nonprofits have found a perfect way to put their fundraising efforts upfront and allow followers the chance to run their own mini-campaigns to help out the cause. Take the National Breast Cancer Foundation—they make navigating to their fundraising campaign simple with a clear “How you can help” button on their primary navigation menu. From there, they provide the user with everything they need to help donate through running their own fundraiser for the brand.nonprofits fundraise through email marketingSource:National Breast Cancer FoundationThis is a fantastic way to promote year-round fundraising for a nonprofit, and it’s simple enough that many smaller nonprofits could follow in their footsteps to help create a platform for year-round fundraising.

15 email fundraising ideas for nonprofits that are sure to drive donations

Email marketing can help nonprofits crush their year-end goals, and we have 15 inspiring fundraising ideas to help.

Thank you messages

Now is a great time to let donors know how grateful you are for their involvement with your organization by sending a thank you email. You can thank them for supporting your nonprofit through the year, to show the impact their donation has made, or for reaching a specific goal like SF-Marin Food Bank did.

Sending a thank you email when someone signs up for your email list gives them more information about your cause and another opportunity for them to donate. Save the Children sends a combined Welcome and Thank you email to new subscribers, sharing how to find them on social media and how to get involved or donate.

A simple Thanksgiving thank you email is a sincere way to appreciate what your donors have done through the year and also keeps your organization in their minds for future donations.


Events are  popular for non-profit fundraising, and email marketing can help get people to your event and to donate. Global Fund for Women held a special discussion and used emails to get people to attend.


Even larger events can use email to interest attendees and to generate donations, like Amnesty International did for their walk.

The Healthy Me Project used email marketing to let their readers know about their dinner and silent auction fundraiser.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Nonprofits


Many non-profits sell some type of product to help with fundraising and get the word out about the organization. The American Red Cross has gifts that can be made in the name of a friend or family member and then used by those in need.

The American Diabetes Association  offers holiday gifts in their email as a fundraiser.  Including a donation call to action button in all your emails makes it easy for your readers to contribute to your cause.

Or offer something that ties in with what your nonprofit does, like Wildfowl & Wetland Trust did with this book in their email.

Remind readers of previous donations

Both the Asthma Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital send automated emails to remind their readers of previous donations and make it easy to donate again.

Shareable content

Sometimes useful content can help with fundraising for your nonprofit. Care and Share, a food bank, shares a fall recipe in their email and includes a Give Now button as well.

Doctors Without Borders shares webinars in their emails to update their followers and gives them the opportunity to donate as well.

Tell a story

Share how donations impact a specific person, group, or organization. Seeing precisely how your non-profit benefits others can encourage more donations now and in the future.

UNICEF shared a story about a 13-year-old girl and how the reader could help her and others like her.

Charity: Water shares three stories of people who did fun things to raise money for their organization.

RSPCA sent an email about badgers with call to action buttons on how to help.

Wrap up

Fundraising ideas for non-profit organizations come in all shapes and sizes, but to help make your fundraiser successful use email marketing to keep in touch with your donors. It’s easy to use, can help drive donations, and with Campaign Monitors 15% discount for nonprofits.

Ready to revamp or create an email marketing strategy for your nonprofit? Let Campaign Monitor help with our Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Nonprofits.

Set it and forget it
Set it and forget it

Try our automation tool, and send triggered emails based on user activity or time of day.

Learn More

Case Study

How 1440 Media used email marketing to gain 1M+ subscribers and a 55%+ open rate.
Learn how
Create greater impact

Create greater impact

Nonprofit emails are easier with our nonprofit discount and unique integrations.

Learn more
This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
Press CMD+D to Bookmark this page

Get started with Campaign Monitor today.

With our powerful yet easy-to-use tools, it's never been easier to make an impact with email marketing.

Try it for free