Email is a cost-effective way to keep people involved and up to date, and it can also be used as a great fundraising tool. This guide reviews big picture things to keep in mind when crafting your fundraising email. For a deep dive into creating a fundraising email campaign, be sure to check out a resource that our friends over at ActBlue put together here.
Please note: A federal court decision in August 2018 has expanded the scope of donor disclosure for 501(c)(4) organizations spending money on federal elections. Now, a 501(c)(4) is required to disclose any donors who give more than $200 in a calendar year to influence federal elections, regardless of whether their contribution is earmarked for a specific federal candidate. What this means for you: we recommend that your group not tie your distributed fundraising asks to federal elections. The safest fundraising ask is one that doesn’t mention elections at all, but if you are going to mention electoral activity, we highly recommend that you avoid using language that ties the the ask to any federal election or federal elections in general. If you would like more information about the ruling and implications, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following text is required to be included at the bottom of your fundraising emails: Your contribution will benefit Indivisible Project, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. Donations are not deductible for federal income tax purposes as charitable contributions.
Tell Your Story
If you’ve read any of our other fundraising resources, you are probably starting to notice a trend. Telling a compelling story will drive folks to support your group. Give them a meaningful action they can take that will help bring about a positive change in the community.
Create an Ask
Once you’ve told the story of WHY you need support, let them know WHAT the funds will be used for. This could be a billboard to oppose a piece of legislation, supplies to make posters for a march, transportation for canvassing, or many other things (as we mentioned above, you should not mention fundraising for activities related to a specific candidate, election, or state/lobby initiative!). Communicating your needs will increase the likelihood of receiving donations because it directly links your upcoming efforts to the story you told.
Here’s a sample list you could use in an email:
$25 puts a poster in everyone’s hands at the next rally at our congressman’s office!
$50 will pay for clipboards, paper, water, pens, and everything else needed for a month of canvassing!
$75 lets us buy an ad in our local paper to tell our congressman to hold a town hall!
$100 will be put toward our next billboard advertisement telling people to remember to vote!
Readability is Key
You will be competing with many other emails, so be sure your email is clear and easy to read. Some tips to remember:
Start with an engaging sentence
Keep paragraphs short. A large block of text is daunting!
First ask should come in paragraph 2-4
Bold strong statements to make them stand out, and be sure to bold and hyperlink your donation asks!
Here is a sample fundraising email you may consider using:
Subject Line: Naboo deserves better
In 2017, we resisted, we organized, we made phone calls, we rallied, we held our elected officials accountable, and we built power.
In 2018, we’re taking all of that energy and taking back power.
The upcoming recess provides our group with another opportunity to mobilize and continue to build power—before we GOTV this November, we’re getting louder. We need to raise $800 to keep up this momentum and to be sure our voices are heard to protect immigrant rights, prevent gun violence, and stop the unraveling of Wall Street reform:
$100 for poster board, markers, and office supplies for rallies
$150 for gas for carpooling to actions
$250 for a big Indivisible Naboo banner for future office visits and marches
$300 for meeting space for the next 3 months
Chip in $25 today so Indivisible Naboo can continue to organize and build power as we head into election season! (HYPERLINK TO ACTBLUE PAGE)
Over the past year, Indivisible Naboo made a difference by defeating Trumpcare, resisting the Trump Tax Scam, and standing with Dreamers. And we built a progressive network in our local community that has the power to not only resist, but to elect progressive leaders.
There is a real opportunity for progressives—for this group—to take back the reins of our government and stop the GOP’s hate-filled agenda once and for all.
Donate now to help fuel our group’s work from now until Election Day! (HYPERLINK TO ACTBLUE PAGE)
Let’s get to work!
Your contribution will benefit Indivisible Project, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. Donations are not deductible for federal income tax purposes as charitable contributions.