Use email to drive engagement and donations on Giving Tuesday

If ever there’s a specific time that marketers look forward to (or perhaps some of you dread?), it’s Black Friday weekend (with Cyber Monday following). Sales go through the roof due to the excitement of buying highly-discounted goods and engagement is at an all-time high.

For quite a long time, non-profit organizations could only watch and wish to get a piece of the pie. Giving Tuesday (the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving) was introduced in 2012. The idea behind this? That people would be in a giving mood after rampant spending over the weekend. Unsurprisingly, Giving Tuesday caught on, and non-profits have been experiencing a boost in donations since then.

Unsurprisingly, Giving Tuesday caught on, and non-profits have been experiencing a boost in donations since then.

Source: Really Good Emails

So, how can you use email to drive engagement and donations on Giving Tuesday? After all, it’s an internationally recognized day and you’ll need to use unicorn tactics to stand out. Here are our top tips. 

Tips for emailing and donations on Giving Tuesday

Ready to engage your donors on one of the biggest charitable days of the year? Here are 10 email marketing strategies you can use to ensure your campaign is successful.

1. Keep your list warm.

One of the biggest mistakes non-profit organizations make is letting their email list get cold. Reaching out to your audience when you're soliciting donations is an easy way to ruin a relationship. After all, no one likes to feel like they’re occasionally needed.

Keep your email list warm by regularly sending them updates on how their donations are making and impact for the cause they love. What’s a good way to do this? Send out a newsletter regularly. While you may continue asking for donations in the newsletter, make the bulk of the message informational. Doing this will spur your donors into action whenever you need their support. You’ll prove your sincerity by being accountable to them. 

2. Segment your audience.

Another effective strategy to drive engagement is list segmentation. Simply put, this is grouping donors with similar attributes in a sub list. Segmenting an email list is not complicated, particularly if you’re using a powerful email service provider like Emma. With advanced segmentation capabilities, you can create hyper-targeted email list segments to easily manage and create tailored messages.

3. Send personalized messages.

One off-putting thing brands, including non-profits, do in business emails is send a blanket email to everyone. Instead, drive engagement and donations for your Giving Tuesday campaign by sending personalized messages. Research shows that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. That’s a likelihood of a 26% bump in the people who participate in your fundraising.

Research shows that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. That’s a likelihood of a 26% bump in the people who participate in your fundraising.

Source: Really Good Emails

Personalized emails contain data about your recipient—data that fosters an emotional connection. Don’t worry, you don’t need to hire an investigator to get this data. Simply use the data that you gather from your interactions with your donors. For example, you could refer to their previous donations or location to let them know that they’re not just another email address in your database but a valuable part of your family.

4. Use the power of storytelling.

People are moved by stories. Stories have the power to inspire action as they make it easy to relate to a situation. This is why you must share your staff’s experiences in the field. More impactful stories, however, are those of the people (or things) you’re serving.

People are moved by stories. Stories have the power to inspire action as they make it easy to relate to a situation.

Source: Campaign Monitor 

The Australian Red Cross leveraged storytelling very well in the example above. By highlighting the plight of one of the victims, the cause becomes about the people and not just another cyclone story. Making the story about the people and not the event helped drive a lot of much-needed donations. 

Master the art of storytelling in your emails and you’ll surely be able to garner more support from your donors this Giving Tuesday.

5. Build excitement.

To have a greater impact on Giving Tuesday, make sure to build excitement leading up to the day. You can start your email campaign weeks before the actual date to get people pumped about participating in the fundraising campaign.

One way you can help build excitement is by creating a series of emails showcasing how much you raised the previous year and what you managed to achieve. Challenge your donors to outdo themselves this time around, to better serve the cause. 

Another way to build excitement around your Giving Tuesday campaign is to ask your readers to share your email on their social media timelines. Sharing on social media will help you get more supporters to champion your cause.

6. Suggest donation amounts.

Sometimes, all your donors need to participate is a little guidance. Giving them figures to consider is a great way to guide them and encourage them to give. However, suggesting a figure is not enough to spur your readers into action. How did you come up with the amount? What will donating impact? Provide your readers with this information for better donation contributions. 

Sometimes, all your donors need to participate is a little guidance. Giving them figures to consider is a great way to guide them and encourage them to give.

Source: Really Good Emails 

In the above example, the email shows the reader that $1,000 can feed a class lunch for an entire year. By tying in the cause, an amount to donate, and the impact the amount will have, the email campaign stands a better chance of reaching its intended target.

7. Offer a gift.

Everyone loves getting gifts. That’s why offering a gift to your donors is a great way to get them to donate to your cause. You can give away anything as long as they’ll find it interesting. While this strategy may not work for every type of non-profit organization, it’s a great way to help alleviate poverty among minority groups. Here’s a great example of this strategy from PuraVida:

You can give away anything as long as they’ll find it interesting. While this strategy may not work for every type of non-profit organization, it’s a great way to help alleviate poverty among minority groups.

Source: Really Good Emails

People would rather spend money when they know their purchase is supporting a cause, particularly one they are passionate about.

8. Get to the point.

Keeping your emails short and to the point is another way to ensure your readers interact with your emails. Never beat around the bush, as people don’t have the time decipher your lengthy message. Instead, be direct with your request. 

Also, keep your email simple and your design simpler. A cluttered email template with too many elements will only add to the other distractions that can keep your readers’ eyes away from the main issue at hand.

Also, keep your email simple and your design simpler. A cluttered email template with too many elements will only add to the other distractions that can keep your readers’ eyes away from the main issue at hand.

Source: Campaign Monitor

The Royal Children’s Foundation nailed it. They made the purpose of the email by boldly stating it and placing it right next to the hero image. As for the email copy, they also kept it short and sweet, ensuring that their readers got the message before getting distracted. With research showing that people’s attention spans are becoming shorter, it’s best to adjust your message to accommodate that.  

9. Run a “gift match” campaign.

A great way to get people to participate in your Giving Tuesday campaign is to run a gift match campaign. This type of campaign matches every gift given to make people feel that their gift is being multiplied.

Source: Really Good Emails

10. Optimize your call-to-action.

One of the most important elements of your Giving Tuesday email, and every other email for that matter, is the call-to-action. A weak call-to-action will diminish the impact of your donation request, no matter how good the email copy may be. To ensure that your call-to-action motivates more people to cross the finish line:

  • Use action words

  • Make sure the call-to-action button is prominent

Here’s an example from one of Emma’s client, Charity Water. 

One of the most important elements of your Giving Tuesday email, and every other email for that matter, is the call-to-action.

Source: Really Good Emails 

Charity Water’s Giving Tuesday email is a classic example of a well-designed high impact email. From the simple yet effective copy to the choice of the hero image, this email is worth emulating. One element that immediately sticks out, however, is the call-to-action button. It is well-positioned and contrasts the rest of the email well that it sticks out like a sore thumb – a good thing for a call-to-action button. 

Wrap up

Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to help change the world. To enlist the help of your donors, you have to design and execute an effective email marketing campaign. Some of the elements that make for an impactful campaign include:

  • Segmentation and personalization

  • Leveraging storytelling

  • Building excitement in your donors

  • Suggesting amounts to donate

  • Keeping your email short and to the point

Need more tips on how to drive donations? Check out our article on how you can use email to turn one-time donors into recurring constituents.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. Unlike other email providers, Emma puts their customers first. It's email marketing that works for you.

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