Online raffles are one of the easiest and fun ways to attract an audience, raise funds, and grow your donor database. While setting up the raffle is straightforward and stress-free (especially if you partner with organizations like Ascend), marketing efforts demand the right expertise and skills to have a successful campaign.
According to some email marketing benchmarks and industry-wise statistics, the average open rate for nonprofit emails is 25.96 percent compared to the universal email open rate of just 6 percent.
By consciously incorporating a few best practices, this rate can be pushed up a notch. These include writing engaging subject lines (questions tend to perform best), choosing the right times for sending the emails, and staying consistent with your email communication.
Importance of email marketing for online fundraisers
For years, nonprofits have been seeing incredible success with their email marketing campaigns. Thoughtfully created email marketing campaigns can —
- Improve engagement with key donors and supporters, increase volunteerism, and encourage more generous donations;
- Present the best way to stay on top of your communication game;
- Show donors the impact of their support; and most importantly,
- Share your organization’s gratitude while saving time (with automation).
Types of email campaigns for nonprofits
There are several types of email campaigns that nonprofits use from time to time to engage their supporters and build lasting relationships with them. Here are some popular ones to consider:
- Welcome email campaigns: Meant for new subscribers who opt-in to hear more from your organization. You can also extend this to be a drip campaign— it could be anywhere from a single email to a sequence of three to five messages that build on top of each other. The goal of such a campaign is to introduce new people to your nonprofit or charity’s work and build a relationship with them. Most subscribers will either become donors, volunteer with your charity, or spread the word.
- Event campaigns: This campaign type informs your audience of an upcoming event such as an online raffle. These campaigns usually have a number of emails ranging from three to five. The first one usually announces the event, another is sent out on the day of or a couple of days prior to the event as a reminder/update, and then one or two more after the event completion to inform your database of how successful it was and to thank donors and volunteers for their support and participation.
- Educational campaigns: This campaign allows your nonprofit or charity to educate your supporters on key issues related to your cause. It helps people to understand the kind of problems their support would help eradicate and also enables potential supporters to develop an affinity with the charity’s work.
- Advocacy campaigns: This campaign type can help your nonprofit create real change by effectively drawing attention to your mission and showcasing the impact of your activities. It can enable your organization to increase the number of supporters by weaving in real stories of people you’ve helped.
- Gratitude campaigns: A gratitude campaign is another type of email campaign that your charity or nonprofit can use regularly to thank donors for their support. It is best to have an automated email campaign in place to be sent out to supporters within a week of receiving a gift. With donor segmentation, you can be sure to send thank you or gratitude emails that are memorable and help build a relationship.
- Donation campaigns: This campaign constitutes emails sent with the sole purpose of asking for a donation. It is one of the most common forms of nonprofit email campaigns and is utilized by almost all nonprofits and charities. Once again, donor segmentation on the basis of giving frequency, gift size, income levels, etc. can help your nonprofit fine-tune your ‘ask’ to match the supporters’ capacity to give, thereby increasing the chances of receiving a donation.
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Tips to effectively announce the launch of a new online raffle via email
Emails announcing the launch of your new raffle play an important role in your communication strategy. Starting off with a well-thought-out email campaign means gaining traction for your fundraiser as soon as you launch. But what goes into effectively announcing a new online raffle via email? Consider the following tips as you plan your email campaign:
1. Try a soft launch
A soft launch is a great way to announce an online raffle by starting with your strongest supporters first. Send a personal and thoughtfully written email to get your most staunch supporters to make the first round of ticket purchases ideally a week before the raffle’s launch. This will allow you to raise funds and give your big supporters a peek into what’s coming before anyone else. A soft launch has several benefits including:
- It strengthens your relationship with your avid supporters;
- It helps you test out the effectiveness of your email messaging prior to sending it to the bulk of your email list;
- Getting supporters to buy tickets before the launch day means giving your campaign much-needed social proof, which sparks more activity; and
- On the actual online raffle launch day, supporters who haven’t purchased tickets will receive the launch email and be reminded to participate.
2. Make the call-to-action clear and concise
At the end of the day, the objective of an email campaign is to get supporters to take action. In this case, we want them to purchase a ticket and participate in our recently launched raffle. The emails must have a clear and concise call-to-action button for people to click through and make a purchase. Whether you’re sending an invite for a raffle launch, asking them to save the date, or announcing some big news, make sure your email has bold, clickable buttons within the body that catch the eye. Further, simplify the buying process to minimize dropouts.
3. Optimize the email for web and mobile
Lengthy emails tend to get cropped on mobile devices, tablets, and some popular email platforms that may result in a loss of some key messages/content. If your email is not responsive and optimized for mobile devices, you run the risk of losing a big section of your supporters who would have otherwise participated in the raffle. Therefore, make sure your email is optimized for web and mobile devices.
4. Improvise on your soft launch email before sending emails at large
The official raffle launch announcement email is aimed at your entire email list, unlike the soft launch which focused on communicating with your most loyal supporters. It is usually sent out on the day you launch your new online raffle. Be sure to edit all aspects of your content and messaging based on results from your soft launch. In general, the announcement email to the audience at large should include a great subject line, an image or video sharing who you’re helping, a header text, an introduction to the raffle and what’s expected, along with a visible and bold call-to-action.
5. Craft an impressive reminder email
Reminder emails are very important for nudging people to take action and also for brand recall. People live busy lives and it’s easy to forget sometimes. When you launch an online raffle, you will need to be persistent in reminding people to participate. The key is to send sufficient reminders but not so much that it would cause email fatigue and lead people to opt out. With each new email reminder, provide new information and have quality and engaging content to keep them fresh and inviting.
Email template to announce a raffle launch
Writing catchy, effective, and engaging emails to launch, run, and close your raffles can mean the difference between high-level engagement and a disinterested audience. The tips shared in this blog will help you confidently plan your raffle launch email campaigns.