We’re entering prime gift giving season. The tinsel is up, the craft fairs and sample sales are on, and the retail stores are gearing up for what they hope will be huge crowds. Whether this makes your blood run hot or cold, there’s no stopping it. The “hunt” for the perfect gift is on!
Guess what? Your nonprofit has the perfect gift! All you have to do is sell it. Here’s how…
Borrow a page from the retail marketers who spend big bucks on market research. In 15 Subject Line Examples for Your Holiday Email Marketing Ryan Pinkham provides some free inspiration that applies as well to nonprofits as to retail businesses. Here are 8 examples I particularly like, with some thoughts about how you can adapt hem to boost your year-end fundraising:
Questions make folks stop and ponder. They want to open your email to get the answer.
1. Do you really have the perfect gift for your [wife/husband]?
2. Struggling to find the perfect gift for [mom/dad]?
3. Have you seen our perfect holiday [offer/collection/gift ideas]?
How to use for year-end fundraising: When I worked at the San Francisco Food Bank we ran a campaign with the slogan: “Food: The Perfect Gift.” Do you see how you might suggest to a prospective donor that they spend some of their holiday shopping budget on meals for people who are hungry – then make this gift in honor of a loved one? What about offering a holiday gift collection? Perhaps the most well known such collection is found in the Heifer International Gift Catalog which uses the slogan: “Give a Life-Changing Gift This Holiday Season. It’s brilliantly compelling.
Just like the teaser on a carrier envelope, the subject line teaser gives people a taste of something they’re going to want more of. So… they’ll open your email to get it!
7. 3 gift ideas for your [brother/sister/uncle/cousin] that you didn’t think of.
8. Learn how to [do something] this holiday season.
9. Stress-free holiday shopping is possible at [your business].
How to use for year-end fundraising: Again, you can suggest to supporters that they make a gift in honor of loved ones instead of just buying “stuff” that will get forgotten on a shelf or regifted. Suggest that they learn how to “kill two birds with one stone” (i.e., combine their philanthropy with their holiday shopping list). For businesses, offer the option of sending gift cards to employees (in lieu of processed cheese gift baskets) letting folks know a gift was made in their honor. Think from the perspective of your target audience. What are the challenges they are facing this holiday season? What do they value? Craft a subject line that whispers in their ear… we’ve got an answer for you… we’ve got something valuable you’re gonna want.
There’s a reason David Letterman has stuck with his ‘Top 10’ list all these years. Lists are compelling, and a great way to organize information in a way that’s easy for people to consume.
10. [#] gifts under $[amount of money].
How to use for year-end fundraising: Nonprofits have long used “Wish Lists” at this time of year to ask for concrete items like computers, furniture, transportation, office supplies and the like. Lists are also a great way to tie specific ask amounts to projects your donor can wrap their brains around. Last night I was reading a fashion magazine, and it was filled with lists of “Gifts under $100” and even “52 Gifts under $1,000.” Do you think your donor might be interested in being able to spend $850 to buy a camel that provides milk, transportation and income vs. $585 for a Miss Lanvin Fashion Doll that simply sits on a desk top? (Maybe they can buy both). By the way, you don’t have to pack all the content in your list into your email. Simply link to your website where folks can read/learn more.
Use this if you’re doing something new. It could be that you’re offering a challenge grant and a chance for donors to double their money. Or, perhaps it’s something truly holiday related.
14. Come celebrate [shopping day] at [your business].
How to use for year-end fundraising: Let folks know you’re participating in Giving Tuesday on December 3rd. There are many ways to participate, and it’s a true opportunity to get creative. Just make sure you have clarity on your goal (e.g., $X for a particular project, or X new volunteers, or an advocacy campaign shared by X number of key influencers on social networks. Personally, I like the idea of asking folks to commit to monthly giving – why not have a ‘Giving Tuesday’ every month?!) Once you have your goal, be sure you put in place systems to measure your outcomes.
Last year Constant Contact conducted a survey asking consumers about the factors that impact their decision to open marketing emails. 47% said they make their decision based on the subject line!
With only a few seconds to capture your readers’ attention – especially during holiday season when inboxes become super crowded – it’s well worth your time to spend a few moments striving for perfection.
You may also wish to take a look at 200 More Email Subject Lines from End of Year Fundraising for some great brainstorming fodder. And if you use Mail Chimp they have a free tool for measuring the strength of your subject line.
Do you have any tried-and-true year-end email subject lines that have kicked butt for you? If so, please share!
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