Email Marketing for Ministries
Before social media and text messaging, many Catholic organizations used good old-fashioned email to spread the word about important events. The good news is that email is still an effective way to get the word out about your giving day. In fact, in our latest donor survey, 56% of donors replied they had heard about #iGiveCatholic through an email or newsletter from the organization they supported on #GivingTuesday! It is an inexpensive way to reach out to donors on a regular basis with informative and inspiring messages. Here are some tips to help you market your giving day through email:
- Add an #iGiveCatholic logo to your email signature
- Send an email or direct mail to your constituents from your organization asking them to 1) "Save the Date", and 2) tell their friends about the giving day.
- Send an email from your personal email account to your friends letting them know about the giving day and asking them to forward the information to 10 of their friends!
Announcement/Save The Date
Dear [Donor Name],
Thank you for being a part of the [organization name] family/community/team! We’re excited to announce that we are participating in #iGiveCatholic on #GivingTuesday, our nation’s first-ever Catholic day of giving! This year it will be December 1 from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM. If that date doesn’t work, there is an Advanced Giving Day phase for donations beginning at 12:00 AM on Monday, November 16, running through November 30 at 11:59 PM.
Your generous support makes a meaningful difference to [core mission constituency, e.g. education, spiritual formation, etc.]. As you know,[organization name] is changing lives every day by/through [core mission or program].
On December 1 (#iGiveCatholic Giving Day), your [$XX Target Donation Amount e.g. $25] gift will help us receive extra funds for our work in the community. [If you have matching/challenge funds, be sure to include “Every gift of $25 or more will go further with [$X] matching funds provided by (matching funds source)!] By visiting iGiveCatholic.org [Insert hyperlink to main page, or even better directly to the URL of your organization’s profile page to make it as easy as possible for the donor}, you can make a difference with your gift to [Organization Name].
All gifts you make to [organization name as listed on iGiveCatholic.org] on December 1 will increase our impact by allowing us to [specific program with quantity e.g. clothe ____ children, grant ___ scholarships]. With your help, we WILL reach our [$X,XXX] fundraising goal on the #iGiveCatholic Giving Day!
Follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram [insert link(s) to your social media pages] so you can share in the excitement of our Catholic day of giving and remember to "give Catholic" on #GivingTuesday, December 1.
[Title (Executive Director, Board Chair, Volunteer)]
Today is the Day!
Progress Update During #iGiveCatholic
Hi, [Donor Name],
It’s the [X] hour of our #iGiveCatholic campaign for [Organization Name]. In [X] hours we have raised [$X], and now we’re only [$X] away from reaching our goal to... [Project Details]!
We are so thankful for the support of our Catholic community—but the giving isn’t over yet! Please help us reach our goal of [$X] by sharing our donation page [Profile Link] with your friends and family on social media one more time! You can also check out our Facebook [Link], Twitter [Link], and Instagram [Link] pages to share our posts.
Thank you, again, for your continued support of [Organization] on the #iGiveCatholic Giving Day!
[Title (Executive Director, Board Chair, Volunteer)]
Why use email marketing?
Email is cheap!
Your only expense is time, and if you use a scheduling service like Constant Contact you can set it and forget it.
Email allows you to connect with people instantly.
Need your donors and volunteers to do something now? Email allows immediate dissemination.
Your donors and volunteers can respond quickly.
Turnaround time on emails is 1-3 days.
Email gives you information on how your campaign is working.
Most people don't know that you can track open rates on emails and see how often your readers are using the links within them. Use this information to analyze how well your messaging is working, then tweak and send again.
Email allows you to send the right message to the right reader.
First time donor versus long time donor. Do you send them both the same message? What about volunteers? Your message should and can be crafted to engage your different constituents.
Let's Get Started
To begin a successful email marketing campaign the first thing you need to do is build an email list. Maintaining a complete and reliable list of constituents will directly impact the success of your campaign, events, and organization as a whole.
How to gather email addresses
Add a field for email on any materials that will be filled by your constituents. Be it a survey, a sponsorship commitment form, or any other response form; this is something that should always be included. Also, whenever at an event where there will be a number of your donors/volunteers attending, have a sign-in sheet and include a field for this. Be honest about why you want this info and ask them to always provide this information, as you'd like to be sure your records are up to date. If you are consistently providing them with engaging information they will not mind you contacting them via email.
The best place to gather email information is on your website. That being said, it is important that you are constantly driving people to your website by using your URL in your signature line of your email, on all print materials, and as often as possible in social media posts.
Once an individual lands on your website, prominently promote where folks can register for your newsletter, find more information about volunteering/donating, and view all your special events. Keep in mind that less is more! Do not ask for tons of information; a name and email is enough to get them started.
Though this falls under online, there are so many ways to generate interest in your organization by asking your current volunteers and donors to share information to their social networks. Whether it is a fundraising campaign, special event invitation, or newsletter, using your constituents to maximize your message can only help.
How to make sure your emails are being read
Getting your volunteers and donors to read and not delete your email is a difficult task. Across all industries the average open rate for email is about 20-40% with about 50% of that happening within the first 6 hours after you send the email (campaignmonitor.com). Though there is no way to guarantee an increase in open rate, there are a few things you can try.
First and foremost make sure your list is up to date. If you are sending emails to boxes that don't exist anymore you are doing nothing to help your organization. Make it easy for your supporters to choose what types of emails they would like to see from you and how often.
Experiment with subject lines and definitely do not use the same one ALL THE TIME. Keep your content short and sweet, and put the most important information at the top of the message.
Try sending emails on a different day. If you always send your newsletter on the first Monday of every month and your open rate is 15%, it may be time to adjust.
Creating an Effective Email Campaign
Whether you are sending one email message, or multiple messages over a timeframe, strategic marketing is going to be very important. Given that this campaign is geared towards #iGiveCatholic you are going to want to be sure that each message is building upon the last and that they are directed to the appropriate segment of your constituent population.
Create a Communication Schedule
In the days and weeks leading up to #iGiveCatholic it is important to determine how frequently you want to communicate with donors and volunteers. You may have to adjust your schedule based on the feedback you get and you do not want to damage relationships or leave people feeling uninformed. Make sure to stay on top of the following items.
Coordinate all communications within your organization. If you have a marketing department have them help you develop a strategy for the entire organization. Otherwise you will need to communicate with all departments about what messaging is going out when so as not to bombard constituents with repetitive or competing messaging.
Pay attention to day and time of delivered emails. You may find that most of your constituents are only reading email on the weekends or first thing in the morning. You want to target your messages for whatever time garners you the highest open rate.
Let the importance of your messaging determine the frequency. As you get closer to #iGiveCatholic you will want to up the frequency. Do not make the mistake of bombarding your readers with messaging early on, as it will only decrease the importance of later messaging.
Choose the right message for the right recipient
First and foremost you want to make sure you know your audience. Is your message being directed to all constituents? Or might it better serve your intent by segmenting your list for a target audience? Second, make sure your message line is short and sweet; use action words that draw in the reader so that they will open your email.
Design the body of your email to elicit a response
A picture is worth a thousand words. Not only focus on images that draw the reader in, but also consider font, colors and layout as well. This is also a great way to include your brand within your message.
Keep the meat of the message in the first paragraph or two. We all hope that if our emails are opened the whole thing is being read, but just in case, be sure to keep the most important items first. If your readers have to scroll to find out what you want them to know they may just never get the message.
Even better, just keep it short. Don't send a novel, just share a highlight. Your constituents want to know how you're using their dollars to support the organization's mission, but as opposed to sending a detailed list, share some highlights along with a nice summary.
Send them to your website. Instead of putting everything in your email message, drive your readers back to your website. This allows you to keep your message short, but allow readers the opportunity to learn more if they like.
Personalize your message
Last but not least, always use your email marketing to create and develop relationships with your supporters by sending them messages that peak their interests, motivate them to action, and engages them in further dialog. Also, addressing your readers by name will add a personal touch to your email communications, and can help you to garner a better response rate. A good email marketing tool can help you to do this and allow you to track open rates as well.
Thank you in advance for helping make our #iGiveCatholic campaign a HUGE success!