6 email marketing ideas to drive participation towards your online giving campaigns

6 email marketing ideas to drive participation towards your online giving campaigns




March 17, 2020

Last modified: 

March 17, 2020

Email marketing is crucial to the success of your online giving campaign. Does that sound like a used and abused fact to you?


While it may sound repetitive, it’s the gospel truth!  

Advancement teams extensively use email marketing to promote their online giving campaigns but, what do they do differently to increase the sense of urgency?

Here’s a look at the 6 most effective email marketing hacks that can help you create a sense of urgency and drive more people to donate:


1. Target diverse alumni groups with personalized messaging

Segmenting your alumni into groups based on different parameters such as location, class year, interests, etc. and targeting them via personalized emails is a widely popular approach adopted by schools and universities worldwide. 

Here’s how Centenary College of Louisiana personalizes emails for an affinity group - Women’s Basketball and asks group members to make a gift to support their cause.

Email Marketing

2. Leverage peer-to-peer influence

Apart from sending generic emails inviting donations, leveraging your influencers helps create a personalized touch and acts as a strong incentive for your alumni to contribute. These influencers should be people who your alumni can relate to and would appreciate hearing from. 

See how Scranton Preparatory School used the peer-to-peer approach via emails to increase its Giving Day donations by 546%. Read the full story here.

Leverage Peer-to-Peer Influence To Drive Participation Towards Your Online Giving Campaigns

3. Create avenues for classes to compete with one another

Creating more opportunities for class years to compete with one another and gamifying this approach can significantly boost your giving day donations. Ensure that there’s an incentive tied in with the challenge and lay down the rules clearly in your email. 

Here’s how Calvert Hall College High School emails alumni about the inter-class challenge and lays down clear guidelines & incentives. This approach helped create a healthy competition between classes leading to the school increasing its Giving Day donations by twice as much in 3 years. Read the full story here.

Email Marketing

4. Incorporate elements that create a sense of urgency

With shorter campaigns where timing is crucial, adding a countdown timer or a goal meter in your email creates a sense of urgency. Also, consider sharing a story that your alumni would relate to and feel the urge to contribute towards. 

See how North Shore Animal League America includes a countdown timer to appeal to its donors.

Email Marketing: urgency

5. Keep constituents informed & up-to-date

Whether it is a one-day or a week-long campaign, it’s always a best practice to keep your constituents informed of all that’s planned as a part of the campaign. Right from the campaign announcement down to thanking donors for their support, ensure that your audience is engaged throughout the campaign.

Here’s how Mercy High School announces its upcoming Giving campaign, complete with the information about the goal of the campaign and all relevant links. 

Email Marketing: Information

6. Thank your alumni

Saying thank you never goes out of style. Sending donors a thoughtful thank you email is a great practice for not only expressing gratitude but more importantly, for building lasting relationships. A thank-you email goes a long way in retaining the same donors and getting them to contribute again.

Check out Scranton Preparatory School’s thoughtful ‘Thank You’ email to all alumni after the end of its #PrepDay campaign. Read the full story here.

Email Marketing: Thankyou

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