11 things you can do to improve fundraising emails

Your donors’ email inboxes are crowded. You need every possible advantage to get their attention and action. Here are some tactics you can put to work from the Content Marketing Institute, at Fresh Ideas and Expert Advice for Writing Email That Gets Opened and Read:

  1. [Use brackets] in the subject line. Brackets have been shown to increase email open rates by 31%. Go figure.
  2. Keep comparison images close together. Before and after photos are highly compelling. If you use them, make sure they are close together.
  3. Don’t spell numbers. 6, not six.
  4. Say “because.” This word helps prompt readers to action.
  5. Capitalize without shouting. Emphasize a word here and there by putting it in all capitals.
  6. Go negative. Loss avoidance is usually more compelling than opportunity.
  7. Rhyme at the right time. Don’t write entirely in poetry. Just use rhyming words in key places.
  8. Proofread. Typos are easy to miss, but they can cause all kinds of problems.
  9. Ask one question first and always. The question: Does this content serve our readers?
  10. Give it a voice (and a face). Make it look and read like it’s from a real and specific person. Not an institution.
  11. Enable a two-way conversation. Make sure recipients can connect with you by hitting reply. Ask questions and invite response.


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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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