Learn to craft an annual appeal email that speaks to your audience.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil, but when there’s a symphony of squeaks all in the same month every year, you need to craft an appeal that stands out.

Creating a message that speaks to the right audience, frames your call for donations in the right light, and makes it easy for readers to donate, can help to boost the results of your fundraising efforts.

Send to the right donors at the right time

Sending one mass email to your audience once a year will leave you short of your fundraising goals. Instead, maintain a consistent email marketing strategy throughout the year and segment your audience into groups. You should be sending an email, or a small series of emails, at the mid-year mark, on Giving Tuesday, and again around the holidays.

Separate your audience into potential donors and past donors, even down to specific donation amounts, so you can thank them for their past contributions within your email. For new donors, give a brief explanation of your goal, your organization, and how you’ll be using any donations. The more specifically you can point to a need for money, the easier it will be for readers to donate.

Turn your email’s focus towards the audience

It’s easier to grab someone’s attention when you’re talking about them. Turning the focus of your email to your reader, making them the hero of your cause, will help inspire them to become involved and feel the need to donate.

Use images of past fundraising events and your organization’s latest successes to showcase how past donations have lead to real results. Detailed evidence of past donations put to good use will help spur more donations from both new and past donors.

Make it easy for people to donate (and donate again)

Your audience wants to help your organization, and you can help them help you by making the major decisions for them. Instead of asking for a general donation, ask for a specific amount, or present a small number of amounts, and let them choose. You can also ask for a repeat donation of the same amount as they’ve donated in the past, and present a slightly larger number right beside it as a potential upsell.

A clear call-to-action is important, and reducing the number of steps needed to get to your donation page helps readers follow through with a click.

Why ask for donations only a few times a year?

You’re right, you should make it easy for your audience to donate to your nonprofit organization at any point in the year. Committing to a few select moments in the year to send a specific donation callout, however, will condition your audience to expect an email from you asking for donations at those times. Then donating every year can become a habit.

You can also make it easy for your audience to donate throughout the year via other channels, like your website and social media pages. Reserve space on your homepage to direct people to your donation page so they can contribute anytime they visit your website. You can even design a social media strategy to boost donations.

Cut through the noise during donation season

With so many organizations and businesses calling out to your audience asking for money, your email needs to sing your praises and convince them your cause is vital at the same time. Speak to the right audience, make them the hero of your efforts, and make it easy for them to donate to see better results throughout the year.

All of this will help to boost your fundraising efforts.