How To Execute Killer Year-End Emails

October 31, 2019

Year-end emails: they’re probably sitting on your to-do list right now. Maybe they’ve been there a couple of weeks, being put off over and over in hopes that inspiration will strike (no judgment!).

Your year-end emails can be some of your biggest digital revenue generators of the year – if you do it right. And time is ticking!

I’ve written before about how your email program as a whole can impact the success of individual appeals. Today, I’ll talk through some of the keys to a killer year-end campaign that you can use right away to draft those dreaded emails!

Don’t forget the basics.

I know that in the manic urgency of year-end, it can be tempting to focus on deadlines, fundraising goals, and tax receipts. And don’t get me wrong – those things have their place! But so do all those best practices you’ve been implementing all year long. Don’t ditch the emotional storytelling or the thoughtful segmentation in favour of short, sharp asks!

Take a look back.

Now is your chance to look back and learn. What emails performed the best in last year’s year-end campaign, and why? What about the rest of the year – did you have appeals that stood out, for better or worse? This is a great opportunity to grab those learnings and implement them when the stakes are the highest, optimizing your emails based on historical data. Combine your best-performing stories, storytellers, and asks to build an email that donors just can’t help but give to!

Remember your manners: Say thanks!

A well-timed stewardship email can generate as much revenue as one with an ask! Consider taking the time to report back to donors who have already given this year about what that gift accomplished, and to non-renewed donors about everything you’ve been up to this year. Remind donors that you’re a wise steward of their dollar, and that your organization is the right vehicle to make a big impact. Celebrate big milestones, share behind-the-scenes achievements – but keep it all grounded in your mission, not your organization!

Timing is everything

As you’re planning out your schedule, put thought not just into when you want to be in donor inboxes, but to when your donor wants to hear from you. An email sent on Christmas morning is much likelier to get ignored than one sent mid-afternoon. Late on New Year’s Eve probably isn’t a great time, either. Be mindful of major events and common celebrations, and work them into your schedule.

I hope these tips help you raise more money than ever in this final quarter of 2019. And as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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Charlotte Field

Charlotte Field

Fundraiser. Digital native. Word wiz. Tea drinker. Pun maker. Kitten cuddler. Pronounces GIF with a hard 'g'.