3 Donor Cultivation Emails To Secure Your First Gift

KindfulAugust 10, 2015

3 Donor Cultivation Emails To Secure Your First Gift header image

Donor cultivation. If you want your nonprofit to survive, those two little words are likely at the heart of all your development and fundraising conversations. But did you know that donor cultivation doesn’t just have to come from phone calls and direct mailing campaigns? Email marketing with donor cultivation emails is one of the most effective strategies for nurturing new donors and igniting your online fundraising efforts.

Ready to up your donor cultivation game? Check out three essential emails to help you acquire a first gift from new donors in just a month.

1. Introduce Your Organization & Offer A Way To Stay Engaged

Potential donors aren’t going to give to your organization if they don’t know who you are! That’s why your first email is all about making a good first impression. Did you know that our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text? Put your best foot forward by keeping it light on text and letting images tell the story for you. And when you do include text, use it to introduce your organization’s purpose in just a few sentences. Try taking your mission statement and boiling it down to a powerful statement about who you are and why you matter. Finally, make sure you have a call-to-action (CTA) that gives new contacts a clear next step for engaging further. Ask them to follow you on social media or join your email list.

2. Inspire Action With A Specific Campaign

Now that you’ve introduced yourself in the first email, inspire prospective donors to go deeper by getting involved with a specific campaign. New donors are most likely to give to a cause they can have a direct impact on. Introduce your campaign with a short video, share a 1-2 sentence testimonial or quote that highlights the significance of your campaign, and include a CTA that asks them to read the full impact story on your blog or Facebook profile. Remember to include photos that personalize the story.

3. Extend The Invitation To Give

You’ve put in the time to introduce yourself and show the influence of your work — now’s the time to ask for support. This email should pull elements of your first two emails by reminding them who you are and why your work is important, ending with a direct CTA that invites them to join you by making an online donation.

Pro Tip: Customize your CTA (or better yet, on your online donation page) to give your first-time donors some guidance when it comes to their support. Provide a few options to choose from along with a blank space for them to write in their donation amount. Not only will this make it easier for them to give, it may just be the little push they need to give a larger gift! With Kindful’s integrated online giving forms, you can easily include up to four different giving options, let donors choose which campaign they would like to support, and even give them the option to turn their one-time gift into a recurring donation!

sample donation page

A Quick Note on Timing

The trick with any email marketing strategy is to stay at the front of your prospective donors minds without overwhelming their inbox. If you email them too often, you risk lowering your open rates because of oversending. But that doesn’t mean it has to take months to cultivate new donors. If you send one email each week for three weeks, you can secure your first gift within one month. We recommend trying an email marketing service like Emma, Mailchimp, or Constant Contact.

Wondering when the best time is to send your emails? Good news—we found out this and more by studying the emails that 199 nonprofits sent in the first 45 days of subscribing and donating. Learn more in The State of Nonprofit Email Cultivation study.

Schedule a live demo with our partner Bloomerang, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.

Filed Under:   Communication