Non-Profit Marketing non profit fundraising feature image

Published on December 17th, 2012 | by Kim Stiglitz

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Non-Profit Year-End Fundraising – How to Use Email to Get Donations

At VerticalResponse, we’re inspired by the work non-profits do and even have a non-profit email program to help! This time of year we’re excited to see so many non-profits getting creative in their use of email and social media marketing to encourage donors to give. Today, we’ve got inspirational examples of non-profit fundraising email campaigns for a year-end done right.

First up is Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Their recent email made a splash in our inbox with a creative subject line: Winter’s Top Ten Gift Ideas for the Holiday SEAson!” (Winter is the dolphin featured in the movie, Dolphin Tale – who happens to live at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium). Next, they lead with a donate call-to-action and a nice headline and subhead. The clear copy simply explains that you’ll get a free calendar with a donation of $25 or more, and they present a bold “Donate Now” button. The imagery and button within the email link to landing page that reinforces your decision to donate.

Non Profit fundraising example from Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s email follows up with nine other gift ideas featured on their site. The campaign is simple, easy and effective.

Non-Profit Fundraising Example from Clearwater Marine Aquarium #2

Our next example comes from the folks at the American Cancer Society. They grab our attention with the subject line: Nothing Compares.” It’s simple and beckons you to open the email. The top third of the email is dedicated to a pre-header that includes a call-to-action to donate, and a large image that states your donation saves more than 350 lives each day (a powerful stat for sure). They include a donate by date (to increase the sense of urgency), as well as two “Donate” buttons.

Non Profit Fundraising Example from The American Cancer Society

After a short intro, ACS then breaks down what the impact your donation (by $ amount) can have:

Non Profit Fundraising Example from the American Cancer Society

Lastly, as a final call-to-action, they include a final “Donate Now” button and sign the letter/email from their CEO, giving it a personal touch.

Non Profit Fundraising Example from the American Cancer Society

Our final example comes to us from The American Red Cross. They capture our attention with the subject line: “Give a gift that gives all year-round.” The intro of the email appeals to our sense of unused and unappreciated gifts with the copy, “Scented candles, scarves, DVDs – many of the gifts we give during the holidays end up gathering dust on a shelf. This year, give a gift that lives on year-round.”

nonprofit fundraising Example #8

The body of the email gives examples by price point of what your donation will provide: gifts to active military personnel, swim lessons for children etc. They link to a very well put together holiday gift guide, and stress that giving something that means something. They add value to your donation with an offer for a free greeting card if you donate by December 15. The email is also given a personal touch by including the CEO’s signature.

After taking a look of these prime non-profit email fundraising campaigns, what inspiration can you gain from these ideas? From catchy subject lines, pre-header, calls-to-action, and a sense of urgency, it looks like non-profits have a firm grasp of email marketing best practices.

And, while we’re on the topic of non-profits, check out our latest research and infographic: Non-Profits Investing More Time, Money in Social Media

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About the Author

Kim Stiglitz

Kim Stiglitz is the Director of Content Marketing & Organic Customer Acquisition at VerticalResponse



One Response to Non-Profit Year-End Fundraising – How to Use Email to Get Donations

  1. Steve Kent says:

    Charities probably should ask more, I did some work with one this year and the first thing we did; mailing the list just asking for some support at a difficult time, brought in a shed load of donations, it just served to remind a lot of people I think, interesting to see these more involved approaches.

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