Dos and Don’ts for Your Next Fundraising E-Blast

By March 14, 2013
OfflinePhoto of Artez Updates

Research shows that simple decisions like a word or a colour could have drastic effects on the success of your e-blast.

Last week, we discussed optimizing your e-mail subject lines for the best open rates! Once you've hooked the reader in, you'll want to make sure you impress them with your content and encourage them to click-through some of your links. If you're looking for some help, here are our tips!

Ed Yourdon / / CC BY-SA

Showcasing your brand:

Once a reader opens your e-blast, you'll have a chance to showcase your organization and your cause. As HubSpot explains, there is some general etiquette and best practices that will assure your brand is well-represented!

  • Be personal and genuine. Overpromising and overselling can cause your readers to lose their trust in you. You can also build trust by stating your recipient's name and using a conversational voice, rather than sounding like a press release.
  • It always helps to have a great looking e-mail, but don't overlook plain text e-mails. Bright colours and fancy fonts are often too quickly associated with advertising and promotional offers, so standing out from the crowd when you want to share an important message may be helpful!
  • If you're using images, be sure not to overdo it! Images can make your e-blast crowded, too large in file size, and overshadow the real message of your e-mail. Try using three images: your nonprofit or event logo, a call-to-action button, and one more that compliments your content. To avoid images that take forever to load, keep them to a 72 DPI maximum.
  • The simpler, the better! Using tables and other HTML features may help fit in all the content you'd like, but may not show the way you're hoping on different e-mail clients.
  • Before you send off your e-mail, you'll want to test it on multiple different browsers and the different e-mail services your supporters might read it on, such as Outlook, Gmail or Hotmail.
  • Allow your recipients to unsubscribe from future e-blasts. Depending on where you're sending your e-mail from, this may even be a legal requirement! In any case, it is certainly good etiquette.

Improving your click-throughs:

Click-throughs are a very common measure of e-blast success. When e-mail recipients click links to your website, where they may learn more about your cause, register for an event, or even donate! E-mail marketing company Constant Contact has some tips for earning a higher number of click-throughs:

  • Be clear about what your reader will get from clicking your links. Research finds that specific calls-to-action, like "Click for more data", will outperform vague link text, such as "More…"
  • Using segmented lists will also help target the calls-to-action to the right audience. By clicking on your link, a reader is making a small commitment of time. A link directed specifically towards them will help them be sure they'll get something out of this small investment.
  • Have just a single call-to-action. Don't confuse your recipients by asking them to do a bunch of different things, rather, stay focused on your main goal and direct your supporters towards it!
  • Make your images clickable! This small step can really improve your click-throughs. As Constant Contact points out, "People love to click on images."
  • Study your results and react to them. Every audience is different, so by paying attention to what types of links perform better than others, you'll get good insights on how to boost your own click-through rate.

Avoiding the spam filters:

Just like your subject lines, the actual content inside your e-mail can trigger spam detectors and prevent your e-mails from reaching all of its intended recipients. Here is some advice from MailChimp to help your e-blasts avoid this fate:

Major Clanger / / CC BY-NC-SA
  • Talking a lot about money is the number one red flag to spam detectors. If you're trying to drive donations, be sure to watch out for this!
  • Don't talk about urgency and breakthroughs. If you've ever gotten a spam e-mail marked "Urgent" or asking for you to help fund a major breakthrough, you'll understand why spam detectors are leery of these types of terms.
  • Just like in subject lines, using too many exclamation marks and capital letters often leaves e-mails marked as spam.
  • Don't send an e-blast that's entirely an image. This may look great aesthetically, but since spam detectors can't read any text in your image, they often assume it's blank and is simply spam.
  • Spam detectors are often cautious of bright coloured text. Using simpler font colours is always safer, and in particular, green and bright red are worth avoiding!
  • In addition to offering a way to 'opt-out' of your e-mails, it is a best practice to have users 'opt-in' as well, usually through a form on your website. In Canada, for example, gaining consent of the recipient is becoming a legal requirement!
  • Along the same lines, starting your e-mail with a brief note reminding recipients that they are receiving the message because they have signed up for it will help prevent them from reporting your message as spam.

Now you have the tools to send out the perfect e-blast! We hope they lead you to some excellent fundraising!

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Artez Updates
March 14, 2013

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