We are counting down to the most lucrative month, week, and day of the year in nonprofit fundraising, December 31. Today I want to challenge you to be careful when you use your professional email templates.
When so many of us started in fundraising, we sat at our computers and typed out plain and what we thought were boring emails to our donors. And we raised money. But as soon as we could afford it, we moved up to email templates in our CRMs or email marketing platforms. These templates made us look professional! They allowed us to easily plug in images, fancy text, links, and other elements.
But we didn't know that these templates were hurting our fundraising. Research proves over and again that these email templates hinder the success of our fundraising.
What's up with that? Here's the rub: These email templates take away the personal touch in our communications. Tim Kachuriak's team at NextAfter has studied this extensively. He says:
Imagine sitting down to write an email to your spouse, parent, kid, or friend. Most likely, you're not going to pull up your email template with fancy buttons and images and start typing. It's too impersonal, and it's unnecessary. If we wouldn't use a template in that context, then why would we use it to communicate with our donors? In many ways, skipping the email template can make the process much easier, and be much more effective.
Tim's team tests this theory regularly. In NextAfter's experiment #4174, they contrasted the click-through rate in two emails, one created with an email template and the other plain text.
What they found is amazing! The stripped-down plain text email had an 80.3% increase in click-through rate!
NextAfter concludes that donors are more likely to take action when they feel an email is coming from a person rather than an organization. Which brings up another important step to take in sending your emails. MAKE SURE THEY SHOW THAT THEY ARE FROM YOU PERSONALLY AND NOT YOUR ORGANIZATION.
NextAfteri did another experiment with two identical emails, one showing it was from an organization (Compassion International) and the other from a person in the organization.
The email on the left is from the organization. The one on the right is from a person in the organization.
Did it make a difference? THE EMAIL FROM A PERSON HAD A MASSIVE 329% INCREASE IN OPEN RATE.
My challenge to you today: Send an email to your donors, from you (not your organization) and send it plain text, no email template!
Are you hurting yourself by using professional templates? In week twelve, in our countdown to the most lucrative week in fundraising, I challenge you to consider using personal emails in December rather than professional templated emails. You will raise way more money!
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