Fundraising Coaching Emails Made “Even Easier”

“The average person spends 51 seconds scanning an email.”

Note: We got a lot of great feedback from this original post. We also got constructive feedback that many of you are sending out emails in text form…with no picture and no segmentation. As such, the email template in our original post was more than you needed.  

We listened and in response we’re re-posting our original blog post with an even “easier email template version” for those of you that want the best email practices for 1. tying your coaching emails to mission and 2. offering a fundraising tip or call-to-action. Thanks so much for your feedback. We want you to succeed this fall so keep asking for what you need.

Want to increase your fall event fundraising anywhere from 5% to 10%? The single best thing you can do is send a series of fundraising coaching emails. It’s easier to do than you think. Here’s how.

Good Enough Beats Perfect

We’re the first to admit that highly segmented and personalized coaching emails written by a Pulitzer Prize winning copywriter–or better yet, Don Draper of Mad Men–will perform better. However, we’re going with “good enough beats perfect” because this series of emails will actually get written and sent yet this fall.

We’ve broken down this process into 4 easy-peasy steps that you can complete in 60 minutes or less for each email, not counting your internal approval process.

STEP 1: Coaching email Templates

We know what makes emails effective. We also know that writing emails is hard. So we created two self-explanatory coaching email templates to make drafting “effective” coaching emails as easy as possible. We want to thank Derek Halpern of Social Media Triggers for inspiring and modeling this idea.

Click here for a downloadable version of the “easiest” template. This template is good for text-emails or emails that don’t include a photo or graphic.

Easiest Email Template

Click here for a downloadable version of this template. This template works well for html-based emails and when you can segment your audience.

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STEP 1.5: Image Ideas

Stuck for ideas on what to use for images? Here are some rules-of-thumb:

  • Authentic images in good lighting (however bad the photography) work better than stock photography
  • People respond well to “faces” — this is especially true in display advertising
  • People really like a facial photo with a name and title or city added to the photograph
  • Photos that offer readers a sense of your event-day emotions and feelings that they will experience (triumphant finish lines, sweating, camaraderie, memories of loved ones) are also very effective

STEP 2: Fundraising Tips

Now that you’ve got your headlines, mission content, and “what’s in it for me,” you’ll want to offer up fundraising tips. Following is a quick, yet not exhaustive, list of ideas to help your fundraisers overcome barriers and hit their fundraising goals. Click here for a downloadable version.

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STEP 3: Segment

These coaching emails will work without segmenting. But they will work even better with segmenting. In fact, some studies show that you can increase your click-through rates by up to 8% just by segmenting, rather than blasting your email communications. Following are just two segmenting models to consider and both are pretty darned solid.

If you have no other information about your participants, the best segmentation to use is “fundraising performance” and a typical segmentation might look like the chart that follows and can be downloaded here.

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Our colleagues at Event360 developed a more sophisticated way to segment, using “participation drivers” that look like the chart below, but we encourage you to download their Infograph on this topic. Their research is rock-solid.

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Bonus Material

Want to start segmenting? Here’s a quick tip on how to start this year to improve your segmenting ability next year. Click here for a downloadable version.

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Step 4: Coaching Fundraising Schedule

Oddly enough we’re wrapping up with what we often recommend you do first–create your email communication calendar working from the date of your event backwards. Set out your schedule with your top-line messages for each email and then go to work using your email template to build out your emails.

You need to send out a series of coaching emails to be effective. Keep in mind that if your participants need to send out five emails for every one donation received, you need to plan on sending a minimum of five or six coaching emails if you don’t segment, more if you are able to segment. Following is a sample schedule to get you started that can be downloaded here.

This year’s not over till it’s over. You still have time to make the most of your fall events.

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We love to hear your comments and field your questions. Let us know if you have any.