If you’ve been following my fund appeal series, you might be anticipating this post that I promised about how to send an email reminder to your fund appeal recipients. Don’t worry… if you aren’t using MailChimp and/or TntMPD, I’ll write this post so you can still take advantage of this important step in your fund appeal process.
This is the time of year when your friends are looking for ways to invest in God’s work. Today is also #GivingTuesday, but you’ll have to read the Notes below if you’d like to do something with this today so I don’t get off the main point.
I’d like to suggest sending an email reminder close to Christmas to those who have not yet responded to your fund appeal. I’ve been sending email reminders for about six years; 10 to 20% of our total fund appeal amount is in response to our reminder emails. Cru staff member, Jayson, sent an email reminder one year and received $1500 overnight.
And… maybe you shouldn’t limit yourself to email. This year, I started to keep track of who responds best to what medium. Depending on my relationship with certain partners, I might consider trying Facebook messages or texting for reminders, too. It’s too early for me to write from experience about that, so this post will focus on using email, which is still the primary tool for digitally connecting with people.
I’ll get into the specifics in the next section, let’s nail down the big picture first.
Hopefully, you’ve sent your fund appeal by now and will be sending out your Christmas card or newsletter in about two weeks. (These are also considered passive reminders of your end-of-year ask.) As you know, everyone’s very busy from Thanksgiving through Christmas day. It might be three to four weeks from the time your fund appeal arrived in mailboxes until December 26th. Your Christmas greeting is one of scores of letters your friends have received. They care about you, but they’re probably overwhelmed in many areas of their lives.
Of course, some have responded to your end-of-year ask, but others may need a direct reminder to help them donate during that last week of December. Email is a perfect way to do this. Unless they’re the very-organized type, I wouldn’t expect them to be able to find your original letter from several weeks before. Make it easy for them to remember your need and to give right from your email.
Depending on what day of the week Christmas falls on each year, I’ve tried December 23 to 29 for sending our reminder. Be courteous and don’t send a reminder December 30 to 31. Give your friends some wiggle room to have time in their schedule to respond. Some will still prefer to write a check.
I’ll start with an explanation for everyone and then a more specific explanation involving TntMPD and MailChimp.
The You-Can-Do-It Method
As you approach the last week of December, you’ve been receiving generous donations from your ministry partners and setting aside time for writing thank you notes each week. (Don’t let these pile up!)
- who has not responded to your appeal,
- which of these people has an email address you can use.
Compose an attractive reminder email. Use HTML, not text, for your message. A handful of your readers can only read in text on their phones. That can’t be helped… just don’t send your email that way. (Text emails look like they were pecked out on a 50-year-old typewriter.) You know me… also don’t send something as a PDF attachment. (See When Do You Use PDF Files?)
According to The Keys to Writing Reminder Emails That Work, you’ll need these three components to be effective:
- Subject line: Make it direct and actionable.
- The body of your email: Briefly and clearly explain why you’re emailing them and how they can give.
- Call to action: Make a giving button or link obvious and easy.
Additionally, including a photo or, even better, a brief video, in your email would engage your readers more.
Choose a day to send your reminder and be careful to send it only to those who have not responded (see next section). I recommend the free app, Sidekick, to track your emails if you don’t send them through MailChimp. With either option, you’ll know if your ministry partner opens your reminder email.
Although the following two samples were sent through MailChimp, you could achieve a similar look through Outlook. The second letter is not really a reminder, but you may actually prefer this gentler approach.
- Keith’s reminder email ~ A video is sure to catch a reader’s interest. (A video in MailChimp actually plays online, not in their inbox.)
- Our Christmas email greeting ~ Last year, I sent this Christmas greeting and family photo to all on December 23rd. This is very different from the card we mailed. The subject line was “Merry Christmas, their first name.” We had a 47% open rate and about a dozen replied to this email. Five days later, I actually sent a non-MailChimp reminder to about twenty people.
I’m writing three weeks ahead of when you’ll actually be doing this, because I’m encouraging you to learn appeal tracking in TntMPD if you haven’t done this before. Follow these directions to track who received your appeal and who responded and what amount their gift was. You’ll thank me over time as you begin to do this regularly. Track your incoming appeal gifts for these next few weeks.
If you followed along with me in Part Three of the Fund Appeal series, you have a user-defined field, called Temporary, with the values of either “no” or “yes” (or whatever you used) which is also synced to MailChimp. As a safeguard, don’t change the values in Temporary until you’re ready to do your reminder. I recommend designing your MailChimp letter a day or two before, so you aren’t rushed. Now for the “how-to.”
- Make sure you have the latest donations in TntMPD and all appeal gifts are logged.
- Go to Tools / Special Gift Appeal Tracking.
- Double click on your appeal and then on the Gifts tab.
- You now see everyone who sent in a gift. Click on Lookup.
- Go to Group Actions / Mass Change a Field.
- Find “Temporary” in the Select a Field window. Set field to “GIFT2014.”
- Now Temporary has the values of GIFT2014, no, or yes. Repeat step 6 if you divided your appeal into specific groups, like increase, medical, etc. (See the first post in the fund appeal series.)
- Sync with MailChimp so Temporary values are updated there as well. (You might need to make sure the TntMPD-Mailchimp sync options include the USER fields.)
- Send your MailChimp campaign to a segment, that is, people where “Temporary” is “yes” (excludes those who were not challenged and those who gave already). See MailChimp’s instructions.
Congratulations! You’ll be sending an attractive MailChimp email to only those who received your initial ask and haven’t yet responded.
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Visit the Table of Contents for all the You-Can-Too series posts. This post is in both the communication and database portions of the series. This completes the e4e series on databases, communication, websites, and social media.
- Russ Martin and Keith Seabourn passed along the idea for using TntMPD and MailChimp together.
- As I indicated, I actually did some of my email reminders without MailChimp after the Christmas email greeting. These were for people who don’t want me to use MailChimp and/or don’t open MailChimp emails. Sidekick helps me track if they open.
- The End-of-Year Fund Appeal Series:
- Fund Appeals and Your Tech Tools, Part One
- An End-of-Year Fund Appeal Timeline, Part Two
- Steps for Choosing Names for Your End-of-Year Fund Appeal, Part Three
- How to Send an Email Reminder to Fund Appeal Recipients (December 1st post)
- If you want to promote #GivingTuesday on your social media or in an email, I have an image from Cru.org that you can use. Click on the image to download a full size. I might put up a post on our blog this afternoon. If you want to promote Cru’s matching challenge and other opportunities today, check out Are You Celebrating #GivingTuesday?