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[GUEST POST] Email Marketing for the Holidays: 3 Key Tips for Nonprofits

Believe it or not, the holidays are just around the corner, and that means holiday giving is coming up soon! Whether you’re gearing up for a brand new holiday campaign or just trying to add a bit of spice to your year-end fundraising traditions, odds are you’re looking for some inventive ways to capture your donors’ attention this year. 

With virtual communication both more vital and more saturated this year, email outreach is a must for your holiday fundraising strategy. But how do you cut through the noise of a busy inbox and get through to your donors? 

Here are three tried and true tricks to make the most of your holiday email campaigns:

  1. Be smart with your email timing.
  2. Emphasize empathy with a specific campaign goal. 
  3. Intrigue donors with the possibility of increasing their impact.

1. Be smart with your email timing.

With more and more events and outreach campaigns going virtual this year, it can be tough to figure out how to stand out in a flooded inbox. One way you can keep from getting lost in the virtual crowd is to be strategic with the timing of your holiday campaign. 

We recommend the “start early, stay late” method — being one of the first emails supporters get about the holidays helps them associate the season with your organization and your campaign. And don’t be afraid to continue your outreach on December 31 — with New Years Eve being the most generous day of the year, you can position yourself to capture some of that holiday-inspired generosity by continuing your ask into the new year. 

2. Emphasize empathy with a specific campaign goal.

It’s always a plus for donors to know exactly where their money is going and who they’re helping. That’s why we recommend including testimonials and stories of the communities you serve in your email outreach. That way, a donor can open your email, and come face-to-face with the lives they’re going to impact by making a gift. 

When you show your supporters that they could be part of helping your organization reach a specific goal or help a specific set of people/animals/etc., they’re more likely to take the extra steps to be a part of that story. Plus, when donors are able to attach their gift to a person or group’s story, they’re more likely to share that story with others and create a community of folks pitching in.

3. Intrigue donors with the possibility of increasing their impact. 

Your supporters give to your organization because they want to make a difference, and they make even larger donations during the holidays because they want to contribute to the season of giving that comes at the end of every year. So what better way to increase donor engagement at year-end than to provide donors with an opportunity to double or triple their impact? Mentioning corporate gift matching in your holiday emails can do just that. 

Companies also take part in the giving season via corporate philanthropy programs, and gift matching is a great way to take advantage of those programs while getting a lot of engagement from your donors. Mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in average donation amount. That means you could cut through the noise in donors’ inboxes to increase supporter engagement, boost the average donation amount at the most generous time of the year, and double that donation with a corporate matching gift — all starting with a simple email. Make sure you’re including a matching gift appeal in your emails so you don’t miss out on what could be the biggest draw for your donors this year. 

Make the most of this year’s season of giving with the above tips, and you’ll have the perfect recipe for a successful end-of-year fundraising email campaign. 

Good luck, and Happy Holidays!


by Adam Weinger, President, Double the Donation

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift tools to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Adam created Double the Donation in order to help nonprofits increase their annual revenue through corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

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