Creative Insights: Engaging Supporters Beyond the Donation Ask

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It may be tempting to take a set it and forget it approach to your email fundraising program, especially if what you’re doing is bringing in dollars. But senders still need to experiment with fresh tactics and find ways to engage supporters beyond just the donation ask, said Tim Bertram, founder of Optimize Consulting.  

In a conversation with C&E, Bertram said the biggest mistake he sees from campaigns is not making the effort to create email that actually stands out in someone’s inbox — or consistently relying on bad tactics to get cheap opens and clicks.  

“You have to make the donor feel like they’re a part of something,” said Tim Bertram, founder of Optimize Consulting. “You have to make them feel like they’re getting some kind of value back when they’re opening up your emails … If every single one of them is an ask for a donation, you’re going to have a hard time.”

The variation can be subtle, and it often needs to be, said Bertram. But simple changes can work whether that’s varying font size or offering recipients a different feedback mechanism that helps foster a feeling of connection to the candidate and campaign. 

“You sort of train your list to know what to expect,” said Bertram. “So I think you need to change up format occasionally so they see something new that stands out.” 

One simple tactic that Bertram has found works well for some of his clients: sending a really basic email in Times New Roman font that presents as more of a one-to-one email. 

“We see those get both high clickthroughs and high response rates,” he said. “It’s just about getting creative. There isn’t one theme that’s going to necessarily solve all of your problems.” 

Watch the full video with Bertram above for more advice on crafting email subject lines and avoiding scammy email fundraising tactics. 



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