Ep 227 | What to Put In Your Year End Giving Emails

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Email is a big part of your year end giving campaign. But what do you actually put in those emails? This episode gives you a glimpse into what to put in them to get more people to engage and donation to your organization.

What you'll learn:

→ importance of storytelling.
→ how to make impact levels that convert. 
→ where to start with your emails
→ planning and scheduling to save yourself time.
→ establishing a clear call-to-action (CTA).
→ power of the P.S.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[3:08] Get specific on your storytelling. Make sure you are connecting on a personal level with your audience. Stories connect more than stats. Tie direct impact to dollar amounts. 
[5:46] Start with your longest email first. That way you can break down that email into smaller sections for social media and shorter emails.
[14:42] Make it easy for people to donate. Ensure there are several places that people can click to get to your donation page. You a combination of buttons and text that is hyperlinked.
[17:33] Send from a person and focus on subject lines. If people don't open your email then they can't see the greatness inside. Send it from your Executive Director or Development Director and make sure the subject lines are interesting.


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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey there, and welcome to another episode of digital marketing therapy. Today we are continuing our conversation around your end giving with email. I love emails, I think they're a great way for you to raise a lot of money from your list and your your past donors, your subscribers, all the people during this busy year and giving season. And so today we're going to talk about what types of things can go in those emails, how to communicate them, and how to pull these all together so that you're ready to go. Because when we have these emails written and ready and scheduled, it frees you have so much more during this time to have more of those one on one calls to set those one on one meetings for those larger gifts from your major donors. So let's get these emails are ready to go written and scheduled. So you can have a multi pronged approach going in to your year end giving campaign and have money coming in, in multiple different ways. So that's what we're going to talk about today. What goes in these emails, what types of things you want to include how you want to craft your messaging, all of the goodness, right here, right now.

Before we jump into it, this episode is brought to you by our digital marketing therapy sessions. These are 30 minute one on one sessions with me to walk you through any of the strategies that you're needing support with, especially as you're gearing up for your and giving. Now we could go through your emails, we could help craft and refine some messaging, we can help you set up the strategy that you need to hit your goals for your year end giving all in 30 minutes, we can get a lot done in 30 minutes when we're focused and ready to go. So you can book time with me at https://thefirstclick.net/officehours. I'm so excited to work with you on this and to really ramp up your year and giving campaign with digital marketing strategies. So if we can help you at all again, that's https://thefirstclick.net/officehours. I can't wait to see you there. Let's jump into the episode.

[Intro] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. Each month we dive deep into a digital marketing or fundraising strategy that you can implement in your organization. Each week, you'll hear from guest experts, nonprofits, and myself on best practices, tips and resources to help you raise more money online and reach your organizational goals.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern]  So you're here and giving campaign is probably a combination of a bunch of different things from email, to social media, to one on one conversations, outreach, all of the good things. So what I want you to do is really start with what your goal is for your campaign. And specifically, when we're thinking about these emails that are going to be going out over a period of time, it probably doesn't include your major donors or those folks that are, you know, you're having one on one targeted conversations with, you can include them, by all means totally up to you. But in a lot of cases we don't because we want to make sure that they're getting a very specific message for what we're asking them to do. And then I want you to think about your story, what is the impact that you're sharing this year as part of your campaign. Remember that people connect to the emotion and the storytelling stats in impact statements that have numbers and things like that are great that people are going to remember the emotion of it more than they're going to remember the exact number. So we want to make sure we're leading in these emails with ways that we can connect emotionally with the readers more so than just bombarding them with steps. The other thing we want to think about is how we can make it feel approachable. How can we make sure that we feel like the impact that my donation is going to make is significant. So by that, I mean, we're not going to say things like we want to serve a million meals or things that are going to feel a little bit like too big, like my gift isn't going to really support that impact. We want to bring it back down and really get granular and specific on the numbers of people that this money is going to directly impact. And that's how we're going to come up with our levels. You know, 250 does this 500 Does this 750 Does this. So really think thoughtfully about how you can show that impact in a meaningful way for your organization. So people that are giving this year end gift, feel really warm and fuzzy about what it is that they're going to be able to do to support your organization this year and that it feels significant, right? If you're telling people your goal is to serve a million meals and then you tell them $250 feeds three people that doesn't feel as good as saying we have a goal of serving 100 meals a month and you Your your gift of 250 serves 10 meals like that feels like I'm, you know, I'm helping to put put a dent in that. So really think about that. If you can hear the woodpecker that is in my house right now I really apologize because he's just having a grand old time today. Okay, so now that we know what our story is, we're going to start to craft our messages and our emails accordingly. And we're going to do a combination of different things, we're going to take a look at writing a long email that really has a lot of information and a lot of the story in there, you're going to have some shorter emails that are more specific, and to the point that are just kind of reminders, you're going to probably have some video, you're gonna have some testimonials. So we want to start gathering all of these things. So I always like to start with writing the longest email first. Or if you're doing a direct mail piece, whatever the letter is, that's in that direct mail piece, start with the longest one first, because then it's easy to kind of chunk it out. So we're going to think about writing what that appeal is going to be. And in that we want to really craft the story as if we're kind of taking people on a journey. So we're explaining the problem that we solve, we're explaining how we solve the problem, maybe through the lens of somebody who's gone through your program, right, like, meet Jane. And when Jane came, when Jane came to us, this is what she was struggling with yada yada yada. Through our work, we were able to help her do this. And now this is what's happening. And this is how her life has been transformed. So you're sharing about your organization and what you do through the lens and the whole journey through the lens of someone who's been through it. Or maybe it's really talking about all of the pain points that they have, that people are the donors are experiencing in their everyday life. And you're talking about how you as an organization can help are helping to solve those specific pain points for people, maybe even for them, then it's a personal feeling. They know, oh, my gosh, these people understand what I'm going through, I really want to support them. Because you know, more people need support with this particular problem. Right? We see that a lot with health care things. And, you know, people that are doing pet adoption, things like that, where people can really see themselves inside of that story. And it just engages and encourages them to give. So really weave that story and write that story. Again, if you need to interject one or two pain stats in there just to prove that there is a need, totally fine, but let's not bombard people with too many, too many steps. We also want to make sure we're including things like video, if you have links to YouTube or Vimeo videos that you can utilize. That's also great and fantastic testimonials. So quotes and things from people that you've worked with and connected with, if you can include photos, that's fantastic. Again, we want to have this be visually engaging just as much as engaging with our emotions when we're reading it. If you don't, some people can't use photos. And I think that's totally fine. And then finally, we want to make sure that we have testimonials from people in our community. And also, if you have it from donors, maybe it's somebody who came through your program and is now a donor, what that looks like things that are going to help you build trust and reengage with people that are on your list and in your community. Finally, we want to include a specific ask a specific level of giving and what that impact looks like.

Now, we talked about impact statements already. And you might have more of them on your donation page. But in these letters, and in these emails, we want to be consistent in what we're asking people to give. Now, some people like to do this, some people don't. But it's a great way to really encourage those donations to kind of go up. So what I like to do is pull the number, the average gift of people either during your urine giving campaign or for the whole year, whatever you want to do exclude your major donors. So we don't have skewed too high exclude your grants all of that the foundation's, but your individual donors, what is their average gift amount? And let's say that the average gift is about $250 for your organization. Now in these letters, and in this campaign, we're going to say your gift of $300. Right, we're going to pick the next giving level that's just higher than that average gift. And that's what we're going to put in our statements. So $300 does this. Now when they go to the donation page, they might see other options. They can always give less if they want to, but we really want to encourage those people to give just a little bit more than if your average gift is two 50 And you can bump that up 50 or $100 Every single year, that's significant impact to your organization. So think about what your average gift size is. And you're going to the Ask that you're going to have in this appeal is going to be just a little bit higher than that. And hoping that we can bump a few more people up that level, people that are going to give more are going to give more anyway, they know that's what's in their budget. And that's what they are going to feel inclined to do. So make sure that you do that research. So you know what your number is for your organization, and utilize that data to really kind of drive that story home. Okay, so once we have that big old appeal done, we've got the whole thing written, now we can start to chunk it up. Now remember, we're probably going to want to send at least 10 emails over the course of, let's say, from November all the way through to the end of the year, and they don't all need to be super long. So we might send the first one that's a little bit longer, we might send one that just includes a video. But as we think about the other emails that we're sending, during this time, we can pull out specific parts of the story that are going to connect with different types of people. So we know that people need to hear things over and over again, before they're ready to make that decision to donate or to purchase or to whatever, convert in some way. So we want to talk to the different motivations of different donors and some of these emails, so we might pull out. Let's say that you're an after school program, we might pull out one email that still within the same story, but talks more about our heart centered courses. You know, it might be one that's going to talk more about our athletics, so that people can connect with different parts of those stories, more quickly, short emails that just talk about that impact and remind people to give, because the purpose of these emails is to make sure we're staying in their inbox, so that when they are ready to make that gift, we're still top of mind. And we're the ones that they want to connect with. So take that letter, chunk it up into some shorter emails. And then you're also going to want to include some status updates. So throughout the, throughout the campaign, really encouraging people, oh, my gosh, we're so close. We only need $5,000 More, or, you know, we've hit our goal. And I know sometimes it's nerve wracking to say we hit our goal, because people think, well, I don't need to give to them anymore. They already hit their goal, they're good. But instead of saying, Oh, we hit our goal, thank you so much. It's, oh my gosh, we've hit our goal, the generosity of our donors is incredible. However, if you haven't had a chance to give, please still do, because additional gifts will help us and give them another aspirational goal will help us, you know, add 10 more kids to the program, or hire three more teachers so that we can expand our impact, whatever. So you can use it as a yay. And right, Yay, we did it. We have amazing donors, that's going to help you build trust with people help you build engagement, you know, there's a lot of people that are supporting this organization. That's incredible. And now, if I choose to still give to this organization, it's going to allow them to do this much more work. So creating an aspirational statement, there is awesome. It allows you to celebrate, and it allows you to even grow even more. So have those statements ready to go so that you know which emails to send out the oh my gosh, we're so close, can you be our closer or the we've done it and we're going to be able to do even more with your additional gifts. Remember, we always have people that are on the various timelines of motivations. Some people like to be the first ones in and they like to have that notoriety. Some people like to be the ones that come in and save the day at the end and say, Yay, we did it, we helped you kind of close that gap. So playing to those motivations with your email is going to be critically important. Now, if you can with your automations, you'll also make sure that once people have donated, they're pulled out of that general list so that way, they're not getting all of the additional messages once they've already given. So depending on I'm not going to go too much into that right now. Just depends on the software that you use. If that's an option that you can do, then that's fantastic. Go ahead and do that. If not, it's all good. No worries. Okay, so we've talked about kind of all of the content that you can put into these emails, make sure they're variety, alternating kind of longer and shorter. I want to talk about how you get people actually to your donation page. So we need to make sure we're super clear in these emails about the call to action. And there's a couple different ways that you can create this. One would be a button you can put a button in your email that says join us or don't Right now or give today, whatever kind of language works best for your organization. That's super easy. And also testing hyperlinks and URLs, right? You want to have it in multiple places in your email. So when they get to the point where they're like, Okay, I'm ready, they've got a place to click pretty quickly. So even underlining and hyperlinking, you know, sentences or information that is, you know, okay, if you're ready give today is really going to be impactful when it comes to your emails, especially those longer ones, because people don't want to be scrolling all over the place to do that. And then it goes without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway, make sure when they click those links, it goes to a very easy donation page where they can give you their money right away, don't make them work hard for it, don't ask for too much information, name, email, address, hey, done, things are busy, there's a lot happening when we've got their attention, and they're ready to buy, we want them to come in and be able to make that contribution. We also love a good PS. So especially on your longer emails, having a PS at the bottom, you know, for those that scroll all the way to the bottom, you know, you've got those people that love to read the end of the book, first, these people are going to scroll to the bottom to see what's what, and then they might come back up and read it. So having information there, that's even as fun if this is part of the personality of your organization is case, you're someone who doesn't like to read long emails, here's the short and sweet of it, bla bla bla, and then be done donate today. It can be a great fun way to engage with people. Those pieces are fantastic. Okay, now we want to chat about who these emails are coming from, because that's important. Make sure that they're coming from a person, a person at your organization that is important. Maybe the Development Director, if you're a larger organization, or the executive director, one of the founders, if people you know, whoever's kind of forward facing for your organization, maybe it is a board, President, I don't know, whatever makes the most sense for your organization, these email should be coming from a person. So you can do like Jane Doe, and then your company name comma, right habit from that, that's totally fine. But make sure it's coming from a person first, and not just the name of your organization, and the email addresses and info add or Hello at, that's not personal, that doesn't feel personal. And people will immediately feel less connected to that email and the content that's coming out. So try to have it come from a person and make sure that your subject lines are on point, make sure your subject lines are engaging, don't have your subject line be donate today. And I've talked about this tip before. But if you've got your email written, hop it into a AI tool and ask it to write you some subject lines. So that you can kind of get those creative juices flowing. That is the first opportunity we have to really engage emotionally with the reader. And so that has to be critically important. People aren't opening the email, they're not seeing the content that's in there. And so we want to encourage them to engage and connect. So those are your first two touch points, who it's coming from, and the subject line that are going to get people to click in to read the email to see all this content that we have been talking about during this episode.

Try not to make it be super like will click-baity, but also just tried to try to make it build a connection and not just say we're trying to raise $50,000. And then really just think about the data. Take a look at your data from last year. Take a look at how your campaigns are performing this year, track your open rates and make sure you're collecting open and click through rates and which emails are performing better so that you can refine and do better next year, right. We want to be able to see how our campaigns worked. So we know if we need to send more emails or less emails, how many we should send at the end of the year, like which ones brought in the most money. We want to be tracking that so that we can make the most of our campaigns as we go into planning during 2024. So that's the down and dirty of what can go into your emails for your year end giving campaign. Start collecting your testimonials, your videos, your impact stories. Now start writing them now so that you can get ahead of it. Get these scheduled and keep building relationships with your donors as we go through this busy year and giving season. I hope that you found this helpful. And I will have all of this information linked up for you in the show notes at https://thefirstclick.net/227. So if you want to get some of the text versions of this so that you can put it into action right away by all means go ahead and grab that information. in there, I hope that you will subscribe wherever you listen so you don't miss out on a single episode. Plus, we have bonus episodes that come out that I don't share anywhere else. So the only way to know about them is to subscribe wherever you listen or watch us on Youtube. I appreciate you so very much. Thank you for being you and I will see you in the next episode.

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