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4 Types of GivingTuesday Email Communications You Need to Send

12 min read
August 25, 2021
Connor Nolan
Marketing Intern, Neon One
Picture of a computer with gmail

Planning your GivingTuesday emails can feel overwhelming, especially when you have lots of other activities to plan. There are so many questions to answer! When do you talk to your donors? What kind of emails should you send on the big day? How should you reach out to your supporters afterward? And how can you create emails that will grab peoples’ attention and inspire them to give?

This article will answer all your questions.

First Things First: What Is GivingTuesday?

GivingTuesday is an international day of giving that’s meant to inspire people to support their favorite causes during the holiday season. The event always falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and it’s the philanthropic equivalent of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

This article will help you understand what GivingTuesday is and how you can participate. The big takeaway is that it’s an important day for fundraisers—and having a great email strategy is a big part of a successful campaign.

GivingTuesday Email Best Practices

GivingTuesday email best practices are very similar to standard nonprofit email best practices. As long as your existing strategy covers all the basics (i.e., an engaging subject line, readable design, and informative copy), your emails should help you raise awareness and excitement about your fundraiser.

Looking for more details about how to get your message in front of your supporters? Head over here to learn more about writing subject lines for your nonprofit’s emails.

While you plan which GivingTuesday emails you’ll send, plan on customizing those messages to reflect your GivingTuesday campaign. Small touches—like incorporating GivingTuesday’s logos, including images related to your campaign, and helping readers understand the significance of donating to your cause on this particular day—will help make your campaigns more compelling to your donors.  

Let’s take a look at the three types of GivingTuesday emails you’ll want to send: Announcement emails, day-of-event fundraising emails, and thank-you emails.

The 4 Types Of GivingTuesday Emails You Need To Send

1. Before GivingTuesday: Announcement Emails

Imagine planning a birthday party and waiting until the day of the event to invite your friends. How many people do you think would attend? Probably not many.

Similarly, you don’t want to plan a GivingTuesday campaign and wait too long to invite people to participate. Plan on sending a few emails announcing your campaign ahead of time. This is a great opportunity to share some details about what your donors’ gifts will achieve for your community and get them excited about how they can help. 

Sending a few “save the date” emails instead of just one will help ensure you reach as many of your supporters as possible. Here’s an important nonprofit email benchmark to keep in mind: The average organization only has a 28.59% open rate on any given email. That means more than 72% of your contact base may not receive your message if you only send a single announcement. Consider scheduling between three and five emails that go out in the month leading up to GivingTuesday. That way, you’ll ensure your audience is aware of your upcoming campaign.

Your initial outreach emails should:

  • Inform donors about your fundraiser. Let donors know GivingTuesday is coming up and give a brief explanation of what it is. Remind them that GivingTuesday isn’t exclusively monetary donations—they can give time, skills, and other resources, too! Kathleen Murphy Toms, Director of Digital Communication for GivingTuesday, noted, “Of the 2018 GivingTuesday participants, 28% gave money, and 37% gave in other ways (donating food, clothing drives, and other non-monetary giving such as volunteering). 35% did both.” Include a note about the different ways your readers can support you.
  • Include details about what donors’ gifts will support. Share your campaign goals with your audience. What are you trying to accomplish? How can they get involved? What will their donations help achieve? Remind them that, by donating, they’ll be taking part in a worldwide event and helping their community at the same time. Providing that context can be what incentivizes your contacts to give.
  • Share practical details, too. If you have a matching gift opportunity, share that information now! Knowing that their gift will count for double can be very motivating to your donors. If that match has any caveats—like needing to hit a certain goal, hitting a milestone in a particular time period, etc.,—be sure to include those details, too. This is also a great opportunity to share other resources, like links to volunteer opportunities, event details, and other ways they can support your campaign.
  • Thank donors for their past and future support. Let your audience know that they’ve been an integral part of your organization and that you appreciate their dedication to your cause. Then, include a note asking them to consider supporting you this GivingTuesday. Gratitude is critical at all points of the appeal process.

Three ideas for your initial GivingTuesday outreach email’s subject line:

  • Are You Ready for GivingTuesday?
  • What Are You Doing This GivingTuesday?
  • Tomorrow Is GivingTuesday! Will You Join Us?

Fundraising tip: Only 3% of nonprofits who use Neon CRM’s email systems sent subject lines with emojis in them. But some studies have indicated that using emojis can increase email open rates by up to 56%. GivingTuesday is a great opportunity to experiment with using an emoji in your own subject lines to catch readers’ attention! Try to choose one that’s related to your mission, and don’t go overboard. Stick to using one—maybe two—and avoid anything that could make your message look spammy.

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2. Day of GivingTuesday: Fundraising Emails

The GivingTuesday emails you send on the day of the event should be focused on building excitement and encouraging donations. Timely communications can make supporters feel like they’re right there with you, so we suggest preparing 2-3 emails to send throughout the day. 

Your day-of-event emails should:

  • Get potential donors excited about supporting your cause. Start with a kick-off announcement that restates your fundraising goal and shares some information about what that money will achieve. Your messaging is going to be crucial here. Use energetic words and phrases to generate enthusiasm. Think about using phrases like, “Today’s the day!” or “The biggest giving day of the year is here!”
  • Share great stories that inspire your supporters. Stories can emotionally connect your donors to the people who will benefit from your GivingTuesday campaign. Include a brief excerpt from one of your success stories to motivate your audience and add some transparency to your campaign.
  • Include a call to action. Once you’ve shared a success story, make sure you ask people to make similar success stories possible for your other clients. Be explicit: Ask people to donate! Make sure it’s easy to act, too. Include multiple links to your GivingTuesday donation form so it’s easy for donors to give once they’ve read your message. Before the big day, make a test donation on that form to double-check that it works properly, isn’t confusing, and can be completed quickly.
  • Encourage. Get your donors to promote your fundraiser by telling them to forward the email to their friends and family or post about their gift on their social media accounts. Small nudges like this can do wonders to boost reach.

Three ideas for your day-of GivingTuesday email’s subject line:

  • Today’s the Day! Can You Help Us? 
  • Celebrate GivingTuesday with Us!
  • Join the Movement this GivingTuesday!

Fundraising tip: Don’t forget to include a link to your GivingTuesday donation form in your email—in fact, include several! In our recent research, we discovered that click-through rates to a donation form increased as it was linked more frequently. If you want more clicks to your donation form, add more links to your email.

3. Day of GivingTuesday: Post-Donation Receipt

Your online fundraising platform should include the option of sending an automated email donation receipt to anyone who makes a gift. Make the most of that receipt by adding a few elements that will delight your supporters.

In your receipt, be sure to include:

  • Celebratory language that makes donors feel good. Donors feel good when they give. Keep the good feelings going by including some celebratory language (and a great thank-you message) in your receipt. Thank donors for their generosity, celebrate their kindness, and tell them how much their support means to you and the people you serve.
  • Some campaign-specific imagery and language. You’ve inspired your donors to give by sharing a great story and a compelling appeal. Include callbacks to the campaign that inspired your donor to give—it will create a great sense of continuity for your supporters. Include a photo of one of your clients, reference their impact, and tie it all back to the appeal that prompted the gift in the first place.
  • Your donor’s transaction details. While including celebratory language and impact statements in your receipt is important, it’s important to remember it’s still a receipt. Be sure you include your supporter’s donation details so they can keep track of their gift.
  • A next step. The minutes and hours after someone makes a donation is the best time to ask them to do you a favor. This is because of a neat psychological phenomenon called The Benjamin Franklin Effect. When you do a favor for someone, you will find yourself liking that person more—after all, would you really do a favor for someone you didn’t like? Use that to your advantage! Ask your donor to answer a quick survey, watch a video, follow you on Facebook, or do something else that’s quick and easy. Just don’t ask them for another gift!

Three ideas for great GivingTuesday receipt subject lines:

  • Thank You for Your Generosity!
  • Woohoo! Thank You for Your Support!
  • We’re Celebrating You Today!

Fundraising tip: If you’re looking for more pointers on how to write a great receipt, you’ll like this article: The Dos and Don’ts of Donation Receipts.

4. After GivingTuesday: Thank-You Email

Show your GivingTuesday donors you appreciate them and value their support by sending a prompt and sincere thank-you email. When done correctly, it can be a cornerstone of donor retention. Send this email a day or two after GivingTuesday, and focus on celebrating your community’s generosity, communicating donors’ impact, and inviting them to stay involved with your organization.

Your thank-you email should:

  • Be sent promptly. The best time to send this kind of email is a day or two after GivingTuesday. When you send an email during this timeframe, your campaign will be at the forefront of your donors’ minds, which will improve the likelihood that they open and engage with your message.
  • Be as personal as possible. Include their first name (no “Dear Valued Donor”) and, if it works well in your copy, their donation amount. Make your email extra personal by making it feel like it comes from a real person who works at your organization. Sign off on your thank you email as an actual team member rather than on behalf of your organization. 
  • Include impact updates and next steps. During your campaign, you asked donors to support your cause and shared some insight into the difference they’ll make when they give. In this email, update them about how much they helped raise and what that money will achieve. If your appeal was for gifts of $50 that will feed a family for a week, share how many families your community helped feed. Or, if you were working to raise $10,000 for facility renovations, share how much your donors raised and what renovations they made possible. If you can, share what next steps your organization will take to advance the program your donors supported. This will send them a few important signals: It shows them that you’ll use their money wisely (which builds trust), and it makes them feel like they’re part of a group of people working together toward a common goal. Those two indicators will make them more likely to donate again in the future.
  • Invite donors to engage with your nonprofit. Invite participants to follow your organization on social media to stay updated on the successes of your campaign. #GivingTuesday organized a #MyGivingStory social media contest to boost generosity for the 2020 event: Try asking your participants to share a story about how or why they give back to their community. Alternatively, you can invite them to subscribe to your newsletter, visit your facility, or share your mission with their friends and family.

Three ideas for your post-GivingTuesday thank-you email’s subject line:

  • Look What You Made Possible! 
  • You Made This Possible
  • GivingTuesday 2022 Was a Success!

As you write this email, remember your goal: You want to update your donors, get them excited about the work they made possible, and encourage continued engagement. After your update, give them the opportunity to continue to interact with you: Keeping them engaged in the days after your campaign is much easier than trying to connect with them weeks or months later.

Fundraising tip: Our research into nonprofit email performance showed that people respond best to positive, uplifting subject lines. Whether you’re asking for donations or sharing exciting updates after GivingTuesday, spend some time writing a subject line that will be a bright spot in your donors’ inboxes. You’ll get much better engagement!

Looking for GivingTuesday Email Examples?

Communicating with your supporters before, during, and after GivingTuesday will be an important part of your campaign’s success. These best practices will be helpful!

If you’re looking for a little extra help, we’ve got you covered. Our GivingTuesday Toolkit includes email templates and examples,  social media post ideas, campaign planning worksheets, and fundraising tips you can use during your campaign. Get your copy of the GivingTuesday Toolkit today!

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