Telling Stories in Fundraising Emails

Seth Carr

When sending email to your subscribers, keeping them informed about your organization is always a top priority. However, when you’re seeking donations from your audience, there’s strategy required to motivate them to contribute – you need to tell stories. Here’s are a few ways how storytelling can impact your email fundraising efforts.

Tell the Tale of Your Finances to Gain Donors’ Trust

A recent study by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance found that 47% of Americans cite finances and how they relate to overhead costs as the most important measure in determining an organization’s trustworthiness. You must gain their trust before they’ll donate. If you want your appeal to be effective, try to paint a picture of your organization’s overhead costs, but don’t just refer potential donors to detailed financial reports. Paint a vivid picture of how donations are used after they’re received. Use pie charts, case studies, testimonials and videos to show (and not tell) the great work you do.

Explain Outcomes for Stronger Donor Retention

Instead of reporting your total donations received and thanking everyone for their generosity, show them the outcomes of their contributions. Did last year’s donations results in reduced carbon emissions or provide funding for new technology that resulted in greater productivity?

Explain to your donors exactly how their efforts helped accomplish specific goals. More importantly, show how the positive outcomes you’ve created from fundraising efforts are unique compared to the efforts of similar organizations. Visual content — like infographics and photo albums — can be easily shared to help spread the word about what makes your organization special. When a donor can succinctly explain how their contribution advances your mission, they’ll be more likely to become a repeat donor, which is always a good thing.

Revisit Your Mission Statement

The way your organization operates is largely dictated by the content of your mission statement. It should obviously be inspiring, but it also needs to be measurable.

Regardless of your cause, your mission statements needs to specifically measure how you’re making the world a better place. Make it easy for your donors to see just how their charitable contributions advance this mission. If your mission statement lacks some form of measurement, it’s probably time to do some editing. Make it read so that it metaphorically slaps your readers in the face with the impact their donations will have. Once your mission statement reflects this, make sure it’s prominently displayed online and in emails to remind potential donors just how they can help make a difference.

What other types of strategies have you employed to increase fundraising?

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About the Author
Seth Carr

As an eMarketing Advisor at Informz, Seth arms his clients with a variety of email marketing best practices that help them deliver timely, engaging content to their subscribers. Outside of work, he likes to write creatively and yell at the television during football season.