Christmas email campaign: Do’s and don’ts to help reach targets and enter 2022 one step ahead

If you’re about to launch the email part of your Christmas appeal, follow our do’s and don’ts to ensure maximum success.

Christmas is undoubtedly ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ to work in a charity.

Good news messages are shared in abundance.

Giving increases as donors rise to the challenge of delivering essential support to causes that can’t continue on without them.

Yes, you’ve been working tirelessly all year. But, as the season of giving reaches its crescendo, it’s likely you still have an email campaign left to deliver to help you enter the New Year already ahead of your fundraising goals.

If you’re about to launch the email part of your Christmas appeal, follow our do’s and don’ts to ensure maximum success.

Do: Segment data

It’s fundraising 101 that you don’t use the same language for existing donors as you do for potential supporters.

Segmentation can be as complex or as simple as you choose. Define groups by giving history, donation amount or demographics such as location, age and gender to strengthen relationships.

VDo: Personalise your email

To maximise donor potential, supporters should feel like communication is personalised and unique. Use their preferred name and don’t forget to thank them for their most recent gift if they’ve made one.

Do: Plan ahead

If you’re using email as a follow-up, do allow ample time between the first and second email to avoid bombarding recipients.

Ideally, you want to leave as much time as possible so you can still send a Christmas-related receipt through the mail, with a Christmas card for those higher givers who you plan to steward into a Major Donor program.

‘Strike while the iron’s hot’, they say, and nothing says lukewarm like a Christmas card received in January.

Do: Integrate with other channels of communication

In an ideal world, your email campaign is just one element of your Christmas campaign to give you more chance to reach your donor.

Let’s suggest that you use email to follow up those who haven’t yet donated to your direct mail campaign. Or perhaps you don’t have access to direct mail yet so if email is your only communication option, follow up with a phone call where appropriate.

Your donors want choice in how you contact them, so make sure you deliver.

Don’t: Bombard people

If your appeals are missing the mark on targets, don’t fall back on a random email to increase the total received.

Asks must be structured. While email is a useful tool for a last-minute campaign, it is not a standalone method to ask supporters who have already given to give again.

At this time of year, every other charity will be putting in their requests for support so respect boundaries.

Don’t: Assume how people want to give

Just because you’re requesting support via email, don’t assume that all email recipients will be comfortable to give online.

Always include offline options such as a phone number and even an address to send a cheque in the mail. It’s vital that your donors have as many options to give as possible to meet their needs.

Don’t: Send emails that are too long

Telling a powerful and emotionally-charged story is a necessary part of your campaign, but you only have a limited amount of time to capture the attention of an email reader so make sure you’re concise.

If you send emails that are too long or waffle unnecessarily, it’s almost certain you’ll lose the attention and therefore support of your reader.

Keep emails to a maximum of 200 words and if you want to expand, create a page on your website and hyperlink there instead of putting all the information into your email.

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