Marketing & Promos
January 12, 2022

How to Write Emails to Promote Your Online Fundraiser or Raffle

One of the most important things you need to do right in your organization is communication. Great communication is what will make donors believe in your cause and donate more money. And one of the best tools for communication is email. It has a great ROI (it is known to deliver $40 for every $1 spent). And 33% of donors rate email as the communication tool that most inspires them to give. For comparison, other communication tools were rated as follows: print (19%), social media (18%), website (16%), TV ad (7%), radio ad (4%), phone call (2%), and text message (1%).  

So whether you are running an online 50/50 raffle, Catch the Ace, or sweepstakes, don’t ignore email. In this article, we will look at how you can write better emails to promote any of these online fundraisers. 

Types of email campaigns for nonprofits

There are many types of emails you can send to your donors. Here are some of the most popular ones for nonprofits:

  • Welcome email campaigns: This is for all new donors who join your donor database. Not only do you send this email series to welcome them to the community, but to also introduce your work to them.
  • Event campaigns: Events are still the main income source for most nonprofits. So writing emails promoting these events is expected. The event could be an auction, 5K run, or a gala. Announcing or promoting the launch of a new online raffle, informing the audience about an early bird deadline or the ticket sales deadline are all events that would be categorized under event campaigns. 
  • Educational campaigns: These are for creating awareness on a specific topic. Mostly, it will be related to your cause and the work that you do.  
  • Advocacy campaigns: These campaigns help charities and nonprofits create real change by effectively drawing attention to their missions and showcasing the impact of their activities. Advocacy campaigns help nonprofits increase the number of their supporters by weaving in real stories of people they’ve helped. 
  • Gratitude campaigns: These are for thanking your donors. And they are the most important campaigns. Donors need to feel appreciated if they are to keep donating. 
  • Donation Campaigns: Sometimes, you can simply send emails asking for a donation. These campaigns are common in most nonprofits.  

In this article we will be focusing on email campaigns for promoting online raffles or lotteries.

How to write better raffle promotion emails

1. Work on your CTAs

The beginning of an email is critical, but so is the end. If you think about it, you write the email to achieve the CTA (Call to Action). It's for this reason we say that the CTA is one of the most significant elements of every raffle promotion email. Here are some tips for better CTAs:

  • Be specific and make it clear what the reader should do. In your case, you want them to “enter the raffle” or “buy tickets.”
  • Test different CTA button styles and colors. Yellow, red, orange, or green can make your CTA stand out.
  • Have the CTA early outlined prominently and strategically in the email, this is particularly useful if the email is long as some readers may not get to the bottom. 

2. Tell more stories

If you want to get more donors to take part in your online raffle, then you should focus on being as persuasive as possible. And the best way to do this is via stories. Humans are wired to respond to a story better than anything else.

For instance, a 2004 study by scientists from the Carnegie Mellon University (described in the book Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath) sought to discover the kind of messaging that gets more donations. Half of the study participants got a story of Rokia, a girl from Mali. The story described how extremely poor the little girl was, going for days without food and other basic needs. The other half of the participants were given a letter with statistics and facts on poverty in Africa. The result was that those who read the story donated an average of $2.38 while those who only got the facts donated an average of $1.14.

A follow-up study gave another group the story along with the facts. Interestingly, the average donation was $1.43, nowhere near the group that only got the story. The conclusion was that if you want to get more people to feel connected to your cause, and take part in the raffle not only because of the prize, then you should tell stories in your emails.  

3. Use urgency

Another neat trick to improve the response of your emails is by adding urgency in your emails. This is especially effective for raffle emails nearing the end. Adding a real-time countdown in the email is a great way to do this. Highlighting the jackpot amount is also a great trick. 

People tend to not want to miss out on good things and opportunities that are hard to come by. So, this can drive ticket sales and get more people taking part in your event.

Related: 8 Email Marketing Tips for Nonprofits to Inspire Giving and Attract Donors

4. Use social proof

Donating is just like any other transaction. People need to be sure that their money is in good hands, and that it will achieve what you say it will. This is also why it's important to use social proof. Show how many people have bought tickets and are now taking part in your raffle. If others are entering, it will signal potential participants that the raffle is legit. 

5. Experiment with video

In recent times, video has become one of the most effective types of content for eliciting responses from donors. According to research, having the word “video” in the subject line can increase open rates by 6%. And according to Campaign Monitor, video content in emails can improve click-through rates by up to 300%.

And it's easy to see why—video is easier to consume than a huge block of text. Plus people retain more information when it’s presented in video format. The best part is—you don’t even need professional equipment or technical skills to get started; any decent smartphone will work just fine.

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6. Write great subject lines

If you want your emails to perform well, you should spend more time writing an attention-grabbing subject line. And that's because the majority of people decide to open an email based on how interesting the subject is. If it's boring, no one will read the email. Here are some tips for writing better subject lines:

  • Keep your subject lines short so that the entire text is visible without needing to open the email.
  • Personalize the subject line, it could be with the name of the donor, an amount they have donated in the past, etc. 
  • Don’t give all the information in the subject line. Tease, so they have a reason to open the email.
  • Don't settle for your first subject line. Write a couple and then choose the one you think is the best.

Also, using a subject line testing tool like Coschedule or Omnisend may help you craft impactful subject lines.

7. Use the battlefield principle

Don't take your email readership lightly. Your email recipients probably have a million other things they could be doing. This is why you should adopt the Battlefield principle as recommended by conversion copywriter Joanna Wiebe. What this means is—people should get right into the hook or main idea at the start of the email.

Don’t bore them with fluff or unnecessary introductions. Ask “if I were to delete this sentence or paragraph, would it negatively affect the meaning of the message?” If not, delete. The fewer words you can use to communicate your idea, the better (you will end up with copy that’s focused). Most of the time, you will find that the first paragraph can be deleted when editing, and the email will still be great.

8. Write in a friendly tone

Yes, running a nonprofit business is serious business and you want to communicate to your donors that you are professionals (that their money is in good hands). But this doesn't mean your emails should be extremely formal and read like a scientific paper. Email is a personal medium. So, you should aim to write in a friendly or personal tone. Plus the whole point of a raffle is fun. Make the reader feel like you are sitting across them, having a casual conversation the way two friends would. Your tone must reflect a one-on-one conversation.

Email template to promote your online raffle

Raffle promotion email template

There is a saying that your donor database is your most important asset. And that’s because the people on that list trust you and believe in your cause. So, using emails to encourage them to take part in your online raffle is usually easier. The tips in this article will help you to make your raffle promotion emails better. 

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