3 boring ways to dramatically improve your email open rate

Email is a difficult way to raise money. Open rates are low. Response rates are often microscopic. You can improve your chances by doing three rather unexciting things with every email you send, from How to Boost Your Email Open Rate on the Shortstack blog:

  1. Focus on the Subject Line First. The subject line has more impact on open rate (and thus response) of anything you do in email. Spend about half of your writing time writing the subject line. Always make a list of 5 to 10 or more and choose the best one.
  2. Your Preheader Text Comes Next. The preheader text is visible under the subject line in many email clients. It’s a chance to expand on the extremely limited space you have in the subject line. If you don’t write a preheader, people will likely see some kind of default that has no power to get the message opened.
  3. The Sender Name. All recipients look at the sender name as they decide whether to open, ignore, or trash an email. Make sure what they see is that it’s from a real person at a real organization.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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