Are you being intelligent in your email fundraising appeals?

Are you being intelligent in your email fundraising appeals?

Which email do you think would generate more money for your end-of-year fundraising campaign?

Dear Mr. Moneybags,

The season of giving is upon us and we hope you’ll be able to support our cause. Would you please consider a generous gift of $5 or even $10?


Mary Notapro

Dear Mr. Moneybags,

You’ve been there for us at this time of year in the past – we greatly appreciated your donation of $10,000 in December, 2012 and hope you will be able to support us again in this season of giving. Would you consider making an end-of-year donation of $10,000 or even $15,000 before the end of 2013?


Mary Smartypants

Clearly the second one is the best approach when communicating with your past donors, for several reasons:

–      It reminds the donor that they’ve been a supporter in the past and encourages them to renew their support.

–      It personalizes the amount being asked for to a level we expect the donor to be able to give at based on their prior giving history.

–      It also asks for slightly more in the hopes that they will be encouraged to go up in donation amount.

But how can you do this for your own organization’s fundraising appeals? With some savvy use of Salsa’s reporting, custom fields and some custom code on your email templates developed by PowerThru Consulting, you can use intelligent asks for better fundraising results.

Here’s how we do it:

Step 1 – Reporting on donation history

Through the Salsa report tool, we set up two reports. The first allows us to pull donation history by supporter for a given time period (generally the past year) and let us know the total amount donated, average donation, number of donations, last donation made, first donation made, etc. The second lets us see who are our current recurring donors as well as the amount, frequency (period) and length (term) of their recurring donations.

Step 2 – Importing donation history into custom fields and groups & merging into email blasts

We then set up custom fields that, based on the strategy for the email we are sending, allows us to merge the donor’s average, largest, total, number, date of the most recent, etc donations into their blast. We also do some computations in Excel that allow us to put a “multiplier” of their average or largest donation into their email message. This allows us to create email blasts with “ask strings” that say things like the following:

You’ve been there for us in the past, and we really appreciate it. But we’ve noticed you haven’t made a donation since [[last_donation_date]]. Would you consider donating $[[avg_donation_amount]] or even $[[avg_donation_amount_x2]] to help us with our latest campaign?

The current recurring donors get added to a group that we can use to either suppress from the email blast entirely, or send a message acknowledging their current recurring donation amount and asking them to increase it, or make an additional one-time donation.

Step 3 – Linking to a donation page using our intelligent ask template for Salsa

The final step is to make sure that when someone receives an email with a custom ask amount in the email that they are taken to a page that has that ask amount as one of the values on the page. For that we’ve created a special template in Salsa that changes the amounts displayed on a donation page based on a value contained in the URL. So for our low-dollar former donor who gets ask to donate $10 or even $20 they will receive a URL like this: whereas a donor who has given much higher average amount(s) in the past and is asked to give $500 or even $1000 will receive an URL like this: Note that when you click on each link you’ll see the values on the page change to be in line with the value we ask for in the email, and that value is automatically selected for the donor.

Want help setting this up in Salsa for your own organization’s fundraising appeals? Let us know and we’ll talk about hooking you up. Contact PowerThru today!

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