Charity Email: 5 Vital Things You Must Know When Writing One

14 Min Read

Charities all around the world for quite some time use all the benefits digital tools gave them. Meaning they now more efficiently raise awareness for their cause among people from distant locations, as well as among locals.

Digital marketing also brings lots of fundraising opportunities. Among them is charity email marketing. While many still believe email fundraising is not worth it today, we tend to disagree. If you are creative enough, you can still use email for charity donations. It is a cheap and quick fundraising channel, so you can incorporate it into any campaign you are using.

If you carefully implement all the data you got from your audience, you can create a charity email campaign that will boost not just the funding, but the profile of your organization. 

In our guide, we included five tricks you need to know when using email for charity. When you finish the reading, you will know how to write a charity donation email and which elements need to be included in your pitch.

charity email
Photo: Shutterstock

1. Sort out your email subscribers’ database

The first step is to identify your target audience. No matter how skillful you are and how compelling your email is, if you don’t reach the right people, you won’t see any return on your investment, and the fundraising campaign will be unsuccessful.

Segmenting donors and tailoring your charity email marketing campaigns towards particular users will have lots of impact on donation rates. If you want to give an immediate boost to your email charity campaign, you need to do this.

Divide your subscribers into different groups based on their interests, demographics, or behavior. You can sort them out by these characteristics:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Donation size
  • Last donation date
  • Open rate frequency 

By segmenting your email subscribers, you are able to send targeted and personalized emails that are more likely to be relevant and engaging. The more relevant and personal you make everything about your charity email design, the more likely subscribers are to donate to your cause. 

People don’t like to be bothered too much, especially if they receive emails that don’t align with their interests. So segmentation is a good way of establishing a stronger relationship with your audience. If you create personalized pitches, they will be more engaged, and that will bring more funds to your charity.

Show you understand the people who support you. Ask them for feedback and make them feel appreciated.

Also, when segmenting your email list, filter our inactive emails. Identify your subscribers who didn’t make any interaction in some time and remove them from the list to improve your charity email engagement rate.

Content writing taking notes on charity marketing email ideas
Photo: Unsplash

2. Create a persona for your charity email

We simply cannot assume that any person will donate to charity, no matter what the cause is. Also, we cannot assume that those people who are willing to donate will give funds to any charity.

That is why we need to include behavioral analysis when running a charity email campaign. We need to have a specific person in mind when creating content for our emails. What are that person’s interests, and what motivates him to be included in the noble work of some charity?

Anyone with email marketing experience knows open, and engagement rates are generally quite limited, even among donors who have specifically signed up to receive your content and correspondents. But don’t be afraid, that just means you need to be more detailed and inspiring with your pitches.

Every person is different, so you need to address them personally. This can make the reader more likely to engage with your message. Also, start your charity email with a compelling subject line. It should grab the reader’s attention and make them want to open your email even if they are not committed to donating. If they become interested in your cause, they can become donors in the future.

Email subject line should be short and descriptive, highlighting the most important aspect of your charity. It needs to be created in a way appealing to different kinds of people. It is a difficult task to manage, but with some practice, you will be able to reach out to many potential donors.

When writing a charity email keep in mind what your users want to read or see (yes, use pictures of your campaigns), and use that to create a story to illustrate the impact of your charity’s work. This can help the reader connect emotionally to your cause and motivate them to take action or make a donation.

how to write a charity donation email
Photo: Shutterstock

3. Tell a motivational story with your email

As we said in the previous paragraph, people find inspiration in real-life stories, and that makes them eager to participate in charity events or donate to a noble cause.

Email newsletters are a wonderful place for storytelling. You can use compelling testimonials from the people your charity helped to show potential donors how their money is spent. When people see the difference they can make, they are more willing to get into action.

That is why the biggest success in charity email strategy achieve emails that consist of a story of some sort. An audience can easily connect with your cause if they see and hear the real-world effects of the charity work.

The story of your work is much more immersive than any statistics you can present to your audience. Stats and figures might convey the weight of an issue to someone familiar with and inside of the process, but they’re ultimately less striking to the wider audience.

The biggest advantage of storytelling is that it mostly causes an instant reaction. We can even say that storytelling is one of the finest tools for inspiration in the nonprofit arsenal.

To create a compelling and inspiring story that can be included in a charity email, you can use some of these guidelines:  

  1. Appeal to the emotion – although you may think you are using something immoral, that is not true. It is the hard truth, but you need to “sell” even the charity work. There are lots of competitors and lots of different causes, and you need to use every marketing tool you have at your disposal. Your message needs to have emotional weight that will affect people’s willingness to contribute.
  2. Present a main protagonist – people want to see other people and hear their stories. If you can present a name and a face in your story, you will make a lot of people intrigued. And they will want to know more about your work and your cause.
  3. Describe the timeline of the donation – many people want to see how the money that goes to the charity is spent. There are a lot of skeptics or people who already donated but have been scammed. If you document every step of the process and make it transparent, you will invoke their contribution. Everyone wants to see the impact their donation does.

Use simple and easy-to-understand language to tell the story of your charity, and reach a wider audience. Don’t use industrial jargon or hard-to-follow phrases that will make people miss the point. These stories aren’t written for entertainment, they need to force people to ask questions of themselves and to see how they can help others. 

4. Keep your emails short and sweet

When writing a charity email, you shouldn’t overdo it. Many people don’t have time to read through walls of text. Write a clear and concise email that explains your cause and the impact of donations.

Likely, users will just skim through your email or only read the subject line. That is why you need to have an informative subject line and short and on-the-point text.

While crafting a compelling email can be challenging, if you follow some of the best practices from marketers from different industries, you can increase the chances of your email being read. So, to have a good copy design try this:

  • Get to the point quickly and avoid long explanations.
  • Limit your charity email to 4-5 paragraphs of 2-3 sentences.
  • Use headlines to break up the text and make it more readable.
  • Put the information they’ll value at the top of the email.
  • Include social media links for more context at the footer.
  • Include a clear call to action. This could be anything from scheduling a meeting to responding to a question.

Besides personalization, by keeping your emails short, you will much easier engage your audience to support the goal of your charity.

5. Be tactical in asking for money

While every donation is important, you don’t need to use every occasion to ask for money. The same applies to email marketing strategy. You can use the call to action in emails, but you don’t need to explicitly ask for a donation every time. Sometimes you can just ask your subscribers to share something on social media or to forward the invitation to a fundraising event.

A smart charity knows how to pick its moment, being honest about where donations go and making each donor feel special. 

You should implement a sending of thank you notes to your donors. By showing gratitude and appreciation for their time and support, you will show them that you value their donation. You can also send a follow-up email showing your donors how their support made a difference.

If you don’t ask for money in every email, you can use that to create a sense of urgency when you finally send the invitation for the donation.

Email charity marketing is not just a case of crafting the right story but finding the right moment to tell that story. Never underestimate the importance of building up goodwill with your audience and how quickly you can lose it. 

Gmail opening on laptop to view charity emails
Photo: Unsplash

Why you should still send emails

If you are still not convinced that you should use email marketing for your charity, we will give you several more reasons to do so.

  • Email campaign offers an excellent return on investment (ROI),
  • It’s much cheaper than social media or search engine advertising,
  • If you don’t have much time, email is a great way to achieve quick results,
  • Emails can reach people all over the world, which can be useful for charities that have a global impact,
  • Emails are trackable, so you can see who has opened your email, clicked on links, and taken other actions,
  • You can set up automated email campaigns that will send messages at specific intervals or in response to certain actions that trigger them.

All in all, charity emails are a cost-effective, efficient, and personalized way to reach potential donors and supporters. But to avoid being just one in the line of people asking for money, you have to be creative and inspiring in your messaging. 

How to write an email to a charity – final words

Hope you like our guide. By following these steps, you will be able to tailor perfect mail for charity fundraising. If you succeed in reaching out to many people and spreading your message to them, you will more likely attract them to your cause.

Email marketing can still be useful to raise awareness among people, so don’t overlook it when creating charity marketing.

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