5 Quick Ways to Increase Your E-mail Fundraising Response Rate

  • by Shala Graham
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If you're like most of the nonprofits we work with, your response rate to letters and e-mails gets monitored more closely than the Dow Jones industrial average. We can understand; if you don't keep track of the relevant figures, then you'll never know which messages are working, where to direct your future efforts, and what sort of cash flow your nonprofit can expect in the future.

In fact, to make those numbers look a little bit better, here are five quick ways you can increase your fund raising e-mail response rate:

Keep it short

Anything longer than three or four short paragraphs is more likely to be saved for later, and then eventually deleted, before it's read. Get to the point quickly; your donors already get too much e-mail and don't have a lot of time to deal with yours.

Remind people—quickly—about what you do

Don't expect that everyone's going to remember exactly what your organization is about. Include a sentence or two that reminds them about your mission, or the cause you support.

Ask for a single thing

Don't try to sign them up for an event, get them to make a donation, and refer five friends to your Facebook page. Think of a single goal for each mailing and then ask for it. You'll confuse fewer people, and get much better results.

Thank them in advance for their help

One thing that nonprofit organizations can’t have enough of is gratitude. Remember to thank people before they've even given you anything, and you greatly increase the odds that they will.

Don't ask too often

It's easy to forget, when you're working to solve some of the major problems that our world has, that your donors have other priorities, like their mortgage, groceries, etc. With that in mind, try not to ask for money more than once a month – otherwise you'll run the risk of having the men and women on your list ignore your messages because they're too busy with other priorities.