Christmas email campaign: Do's and don'ts to help reach targets and enter 2019 one step ahead 4 months ago

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 without them.

And the feel-good events to thank donors and canvass assistance into the New Year leave you with a confirmation that your life’s work is being rewarded.

As most businesses are thinking about winding down for a well-earned Christmas break, as far as charities are concerned, there’s still over a week of 2018 left to bring in crucial funding.

And every day counts!

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 your data
Sending a bulk email to your database without detailed segmenting will undoubtedly deter potential donors.

You should be able to give a general update of your existing campaign to all recipients and manage your data well enough to insert relevant copy depending on the recipient’s donation and communication history.

Nothing will ruin your credibility more than thanking a donor for a donation they didn’t make. Or, worse, failing to acknowledge someone for their kind support.

Do: Personalise your email
To encourage support, donors need to feel like communication is personalised and unique to them. Make sure you always use a first name (or title and surname if preferred) and in the case of existing donors, refer to the amount and date of the last gift.

This level of attention will show your donor you genuinely pay attention to their contribution encouraging them to give again.

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 haven’t met targets, don’t use email haphazardly to boost income.

Your asks must be structured and while email is a useful tool for a last-minute campaign, don’t use it to keep asking people who are obviously failing to respond.

Remember that you aren’t the only charity asking a donor for money, more so at this time of the year, so respect boundaries.

Do: Hyperlink to your website.
Ideally, your website should be filled with case study pages detailing how donors have helped achieve your mission.

Always hyperlink to these case studies in an eAppeal for two reasons:
Firstly, your recipients will see first-hand why their support is so vital, stirring empathy and encouraging them to give again.

Secondly, linking to your website will also take the reader to the ‘donate now’ button on your web page, making it easy for them to give again.

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.

How can SupporterHub help?
SupporterHub is a CRM and data-management tool that can help maximise the potential of an end-of-year email campaign and hit targets by using the following features:

• Data segmentation
• Personalisation
• Donor history
• Donor preferences
• High-level analytics

With over a week of 2018 left to go, there’s still plenty of time to make your Christmas email giving campaign a success.

To receive further guidance on how SupporterHub can help you streamline your in-house processes to get the best results from your Chastises email campaign, contact SupporterHub today.