Building a charity email campaign can be challenging. How do you keep your readers interested in your content? What should you include in your campaign? When should you send emails?
For charity organisations, the typical email marketing strategy differs from that of a business. With generic sales campaigns, it's widely accepted that you can fill your email with bold CTA buttons (call-to-action) and exciting text and graphics in order to win over your customers. However, for a charity, the approach needs to be different. Finding the balance between driving donations and sharing information is key.
Here are some useful tips you can apply to your charity email campaigns to increase your donations and raise awareness for your important cause.
It doesn't matter if your email list has 100,000 subscribers, or just 10. When it comes to charity email campaigns, it's important to establish a direct connection between your organisation and your reader. If subscribers feel a personal connection with you and your cause, they are much more likely to respond to your appeals.
One great way of achieving this connection is through personalisation. Speak directly to customers and address them by name. Not only does this help grab their attention, it also gives them more of a sense of responsibility; leading to more engagement with your charity.
This powerful email from Cancer Research UK uses personalisation effectively. In addressing me by my name, the email makes me feel compelled to donate and help make a difference.
Use powerful images
It's often said that a picture speaks a thousand words. Using powerful, emotive images in your email campaign is a guaranteed way to pull on readers' heartstrings and get them on board with your important cause. Compared to a 100% text email, an email that includes a strong feature image will have a much greater effect on the recipient.
This email from charity: water is a prime example of how effective a strong image can be in your email design. The heartwarming father and son photo highlights the Father's Day theme and helps trigger an emotional response in the reader; encouraging them to donate to the cause.
Provide regular updates
Although the main goal of a charity email campaign is to get as many donations as possible, you can't come across to desperate to your subscribers. Use email marketing as an opportunity to update your readers on your great work. Try sending out a regular email newsletter with the latest news and information about your cause. This will help readers better understand what your organisation is working towards and also encourage more donations.
Here are some examples of what you could include in your newsletter:
- General facts and research about your cause
- Interesting blog posts or news articles
- Information about new appeals or fundraising events
- Your organisation's goals for the coming month
- How much money you raised last month
The ALS Association send out a monthly e-newsletter to keep their subscribers up to date. This is an effective strategy, as they regularly remind readers of their cause without being too pushy and putting them under pressure. As well as important news and updates, they're also sure to include the all-important donation link as a subtle reminder:
Include real life stories
People often respond better to a cause when it is something they can relate to. By including real life stories in your email newsletters, you give the reader an idea of where their donation is going and help them relate better to your cause. Think about how testimonials and good reviews help a regular business. Sharing your charity's success stories will also help show your subscribers what their money can help achieve.
Don't forget, the majority of your subscribers signed up to your list because the cause is close to their heart. These heartwarming stories will help remind them of why they want to support your charity.
This email from Cancer Research UK shows how money donated goes towards life-changing research. This is the kind of success story which will help encourage subscribers to continue donating and carrying on the good work.
Amnesty International also used powerful success stories in this New Year themed email. This approach is particularly effective, as they also list examples of ongoing problems which need support from donations. This is a good balance between celebrating achievement whilst still recognising what still needs to be done.
Thank your subscribers
Thanking your subscribers for their support and donations is also an integral part of your charity email campaign. Even though we may not like to admit it, people like having their contributions recognised from time to time. Send out a thank you email as a way to show your subscribers how grateful you are.
A thank you email can be super effective for your charity, as it makes a nice change from asking for donations. Moreover, many readers will subconsciously feel the urge to keep on donating to your cause when they notice how much you appreciate it.
Try linking a thank you email together with a success story. This example by charity:water is super positive and a great way to show appreciation by rewarding donators with good news:
Send out seasonal greetings
The holidays are one of the most effective times to run a charity email campaign, as people are usually in the mood for giving (think Giving Tuesday.) Take a break from your regular campaigning efforts and focus on creating a seasonal email campaign. This is a fun way to get into the holiday spirit and also plays on readers' festive goodwill.
Typically, consumers are willing to spend a lot during the holidays. Make your seasonal email campaign home in on this trend and convince subscribers to spend money on your good cause.
This holiday-themed email by WE has a clear festive feel to it, while also sharing an important message to donate clean water.
You can also use a seasonal email campaign as the chance to do something out of the box and just have fun. Cats Protection use this email to link to a fun animated video and celebrate the holidays together with their readers.
Link to your social media pages
Email is a great way to update your subscribers about your charity work, but don't forget to make the most of other marketing channels. Include links to your social media pages and show subscribers even more ways they can follow your work. They've gone to the effort of signing up to your newsletter list, so your cause is obviously of interest to them. Utilise this opportunity to grow your social media following too.
JustGiving include prominent links to their social media sites in their email footer:
We hope you will take these tips and ideas on board when creating email campaigns for your charity to truly make sure your good cause will benefit. Sending out regular emails is a great way to stay in touch with your audience and spread important information about your cause.
Struggling to find the right tool for your charity email campaign? Mail Designer 365 is a practical HTML email design service for Mac that allows you to easily create impressive email newsletters to spread your important message. Find out more here.
Until next time,
Your Mail Designer 365 Team
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