How to Increase your Email Fundraising Responses

Posted: Dec 02nd, 2020 Updated: Dec 24, 2020

Email fundraising is like one of Batman’s gadgets - a small, powerful tool that can do a lot of damage - if you know how to use it properly! 

In the age of COVID, email could be one of the most powerful tools in your fundraising arsenal. Studies show people are 138% more likely to buy (or donate) over email versus social media, and a disciplined campaign can significantly boost response rates. 

So how do you write an email that increases response rates, brings in more donations and helps you save the world? 


Stand out with a strong subject line

The increasing clutter that plagues every inbox today makes this a tough one. But it’s also worth spending time on - if your email is never opened, what’s inside won’t matter. Short subject lines which create a sense of urgency work best. Including emojis also helps you stand out. Here’s a subject line tester I’ve used in the past, which scores your subject line and keeps it snappy. 


Sound human 

People want to talk to people, not robots. With all the automation, it's refreshing to receive an email from a real person - so make sure you sound like one! Most people don’t do this, preferring overly formal tones that alienate audiences. 



Personalizing your tone and call to action can really boost response rates. Younger audiences may prefer sharing your campaign on social media or giving smaller amounts. Tailoring your message to accommodate these differences is one of the best ways in which you can engage donors. If you haven’t segmented your audiences, something as simple as including their first name in the email can help! 

Ask for what you want 

If someone opened your email, they want to know what to do next. A clear call to action, even if it’s as simple as sharing your campaign, is critical for success. 

If you’re asking for donations, present compelling reasons for why someone should give and include a link to donate. It’s also helpful to state a goal amount, tell them how much you’ve raised and when the campaign closes. People are more likely to donate when they know others have contributed and there’s a deadline attached. 


Keep it short

When was the last time you opened an email and read carefully through all 10 paragraphs? Like you, most people don’t have the time. Email length affects response rates, and research backs the value of less content over more. An email with two or three paragraphs (250 words), is a good length. Be clear and concise, break text into well-spaced paragraphs and if you have more to say, include a link! 


Fundraising emails are hard to get right and what’s ‘right’ varies. The true path to success lies in knowing your audience - if your donors love reading in-depth stories, a five line email won’t cut it. So focus on who’s reading and what they want. FundHero can also help you optimize your responses through its email templates and timely reminders. Soon you’ll be a powerful fundraising vigilante which can’t be stopped! 

If you’d like to maximize your fundraising strategy, make sure to check out our blogs on asking for donations or learn about other ways to fundraise online.

Rachel Rao

Rachel is a marketing and communications consultant based in Mumbai, India. She focuses on conceptualizing brand identities and digital media campaigns for social businesses, non-profits, and startups. Her work is set in contexts of public education, corporate social responsibility, philanthropy, rural research, and social conflict mediation. She is passionate about effective and impactful storytelling and good coffee. Rachel has an MA in English Literature from the University of York and a Diploma in Communications for Development (C4D).