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Whether you’re launching a nonprofit, trying to support your publishing outlet, or thinking of running a fundraiser, asking for donations never feels natural.

Social media algorithms make it almost impossible to reach your audience organically, and advertising costs can add up quickly, which gets pretty counterproductive when you’re trying to raise money.

Email offers a unique solution because it gives you a one-on-one line of communication with your audience—no fighting with algorithms and no paying for sponsored posts and hoping for the best.

According to research from Adobe, 61% of people prefer for brands and organizations to contact them through email over other mediums like direct mail and social media. That’s one reason why email is so effective.

Sixty-one percent of people want to hear from brands and organizations through email instead of social media.

How do you ask for a donation in an email?

With a little planning and strategy, you can write effective donation campaigns that build a relationship with your most loyal subscribers.

Create urgency right away.

Start with the subject line and keep the urgent energy flowing in the preview text and body copy.

“Yemen can’t wait” and “Sudan needs your help today.” Work much better than “Did you know there’s a humanitarian crisis in Yemen?”

If your subscribers don’t get the vibe that you need their donation now, they’ll just keep putting off taking action indefinitely.

Make it easy to donate.

If your subscribers are opening your emails and failing to convert, you may need to optimize your CTAs.

Limit the number of clicks it takes for subscribers to donate. If they can donate directly inside the email without visiting too many landing pages, that’s ideal.

It’s also a good idea to provide specific donation amounts to reduce decision fatigue. Add three or four CTA buttons with varying amounts. When subscribers see a concrete number they feel comfortable with, they’ll be more likely to click it.

Write to one person.

People need to feel like you’re not screaming into a crowd. Write your emails as though you’re talking to a personal friend and explaining the urgency. A conversational tone can go a long way in donation request emails.

Use automation and triggered campaigns.

Informational campaigns are essential for building trust, and thank you Campaigns are critical for developing loyal relationships with donors. Use automation to your advantage here.

Informational campaigns are essential for building trust, and thank you Campaigns are critical for developing loyal relationships with donors.

Source: Campaign Monitor

How to measure the results of your donation campaigns

Naturally, you want to make sure your campaigns are working. While brand awareness is important, you really want to focus on direct conversions when you’re asking for donations.

Log into your Campaign Monitor dashboard and click on the campaign you want to measure. From there, you’ll be able to see how many people opened your email, clicked the links, and donated.

If people aren’t opening your emails, start working on optimizing your subject lines. If subscribers are opening the emails but failing to take action, rework your copy, images, and CTAs. Remember to put yourself in the reader’s shoes and test your emails for efficiency.

Does it really matter?

Yes. Understanding how to ask for donations through email is vital for many organizations and brands.

If you run a nonprofit or media company, nailing down your donation email strategy is critical for staying afloat. Appropriate copy, images, and accessibility all go a long way when you’re asking subscribers for donations.

Even if your company doesn’t rely on donations or plan to run a fundraiser, you can still benefit from the tips here for optimizing your promotional email strategy.

What now?

Now that you understand how to ask for donations through email, you can work on writing subject lines and copy that entice subscribers to convert.

It’d also be worthwhile to put your effort towards developing personalized subscriber journeys and automated campaigns. Instead of just asking for donations, these campaigns will help you develop a long-term relationship with your audience and build trust.

Are you ready to learn more about optimizing your fundraiser copy? Check out this ultimate guide to email marketing for nonprofits.

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.
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