And trying to not get lost in your donors’ inboxes
By Jennifer L. Hipple
Writer, editor, internal and external communications specialist, aspiring astrophysicist
As the calendar year-end inches toward its close, if your organization’s Give to the Max Day results weren’t what you were hoping for and/or your Q4 is not where you need it to be, fear not (!), dear heart, all is not lost: You can give yourself another opportunity to ask your donors to include your nonprofit in their end-of-year giving plans.
Here’s how you do it.
Create a simple end-of-year email campaign
You know how crazy your inbox can make you at this time of year. Well, it’s no different for your donors. Consider the competition you’re up against for donors’ attention. The key is to help them feel confident they are making the right choice by choosing your organization for an end-of-year gift. Now, how do you make yourself stand out in their inbox?
Give ‘em what they need to make the right choice
This is where, what a former colleague used to call, “stra-tee-gery” comes in. Develop a laser focus on what your donors need to believe in order to say “yes” to you. This is different from what you think they should know (e.g. all the great things your organization is doing).
People pay attention to messaging that matches their interests, beliefs, and needs. This is especially true for that demographic nonprofit organizations are yearning to connect with . . . the MILLENNIAL. Here’s where modern psychology comes in: understanding what your audience/donors need to believe in order to make a decision. Millennials, just like other generations, are keen on supporting causes they believe in, but they also want you to SHOW them what their money is going to do—how it’s going to make a difference. And, bear in mind, that while they are open to opening their wallet, Millennials also want to actually connect with the causes they support. They look for opportunities where they can do a hands-on project or volunteer (without making a huge commitment)—bear that in mind when you’re communicating with them.
In general, here are some of the things donors need to know about if they’re going to support a cause:
- Benefits and features – what does your mission really mean for your donor? How can their gift make a difference in the lives of others?
- Tell a story – this helps your donors relate to your mission on an emotional level. Go one step better and use a testimonial from someone your mission supports. Remember, your donors need a way to connect with you.
- Results – what will your donors’ gifts help you achieve in the lives of others? The more specific you can be the better.
You’ve got it!
Matching information about your cause to the three bullets above is the foundation for your email appeal and provides donors with what they want to know. Keep it as simple as you can. Be sure to put some time into crafting the subject line, too. This is critically important if you want donors to open the door to what you have to share. Remember, your donors are likely being deluged with email this time of year. One formula for a successful subject line is: Benefit (to the reader) + Curiosity = Opens.
One more thing . . .
Make it e-a-s-y for people to make a gift online. Don’t make them search your website for how to do it. MAKE A DONATION needs to be obvious and require as few clicks as (humanly) possible.
Now, let’s get busy and develop an email appeal your donors will be happy to open this season.