Do you cringe when you see the results of your fundraising emails?

We're going to change that.

You put all that time into writing great copy and creating a clear Call-to-Action, and then you look at the open rates and realize hardly anybody is even going to see it. Even worse, you know an even smaller percentage are going to click through to give.

It’s not a good feeling.

And the truth is, yeah, you need more email opens but you also need to do 100 other things too, right? I know the feeling.

What if you could increase your email open rate by 30% in one minute?

Well, you’re in luck!

I’m going to show you a quick, easy fundraising hack that will increase the number of people who’ll open your fundraising email campaign.

Let me just say I'm a huge fan of Noah Kagan's work growing businesses and this trick comes directly from his toolbox. The purpose of this article is to show how we can use it for nonprofit fundraising as well. 

What’s Your Baseline?

A couple weeks ago I sent a short little email to approximately 500 people.

It was about a podcast interview I did, but it could’ve been anything, especially your fundraising appeal. 

You can see the results from that email campaign below.

fundraising email campaign

150 of the subscribers opened it (30%). That's about the level of engagement I normally see from that group (the list average is 32.7%).

It’s a small email list segment (~500 people) so I've been able to keep engagement at nearly double the industry average. And even with 32% open rates, this easy fundraising hack I’m going to show you still works!

What matters most is that when you need people to open your email, they do

Beating the average feels good but it's nobody's goal overall, right? 

You need more people to open your emails so more people give

Here’s what you do

Send out your well-crafted, A/B tested, email campaign to your list.

Then wait a couple days so you can see what level of results it produces.

What’s the open rate? What’s the click-through-rate? How many times was it forwarded? How does this compare to past campaigns?

Once you’re done looking at your analytics in your email service, make a copy of the email campaign, like this:

You spent a lot of time putting that campaign together, right? So don't waste it by starting from scratch again simply because the majority of your list didn’t see it the first time.

So now that you have a copy of your initial campaign, go ahead and change the subject line to another high performing one:

easy fundraising nonprofit campaign

This next step is really important.

You want to make sure you don’t send this new email to any of the people who opened up the original campaign.

Because you're not going to change the actual email body at all. You already tested and perfected it, and you don't have all day to mess with it even more. So all you're doing is re-titling it.

If you send it to the people who opened it originally, they’d see the new subject line and likely open it, only to be disappointed when they saw the exact same email body. 

You have to make sure nobody opens the same email twice.

To avoid this rookie mistake, just go into your audience selection and build in the logic that tells your email campaign provider to only send your email with the new subject line to folks on your list who didn’t open the last one:

nonprofit email campaign fundraising advanced

Now, you’re literally all set to go!

Send this new email to the people who didn’t open the last one and watch as you get 30% more opens for less than one minute of extra work.

You can see my results below:

Initial email campaign results.

Initial email campaign results.

One minute of work later: 33% increase in the overall open rate

One minute of work later: 33% increase in the overall open rate

Rather than the initial 30% open rate, we achieved a more than 40% open rate. 

And that second email, sent just to the people who didn't open the first one, gave me more than 33% more opens than I would've had if I stopped after the initial one. 

For this campaign, I was just getting people to listen to a podcast. But in fundraising, a 33% increase in opens translates into a very clear likelihood of raising even more money

Not bad for one minute of work! 

You can use this easy fundraising hack with your very next campaign.

And learn a ton more new and effective fundraising tips, tools, and tactics here.