3 ways to use email for your individual giving retention


42% of marketers say email is central to retaining customers and I would say the same should be true for charities and donor retention.

Your donors won’t check your website every day off their own bat – sad but true, and you can’t rely on Facebook’s algorithm to show them your content every time.

So if you want to increase your chances of having a loyal supporter base, then you need to be sending them emails. Emails that give them content they want to engage with, that cut through the noise and set a course straight for the heartstrings. Here’s three types of email that you simply must be sending to keep your regular givers on board.

1) The heartwarming tale email

You know the kind of thing. Stories that restore your faith in humanity.

You’re a charity, so you probably have so many of these you’ve forgotten them all. So simply dust them down and get them landing in in the inbox of your regular givers.

It will make them feel very warm and fuzzy. So much so that they won’t just continue giving, they’ll share the story with their family and friends, and get them to give as well.

Child’s i Foundation are kings of this domain. They send tales like this one below to their group of regular donors.


2) The non-financial call to action

Bit of a mouthful I know. And arguably counter intuitive to ask people already doing  amazing thing to do even more.

But think about the emotional state your donors are in. They’re committed enough to give you their hard earned cash. They *really care* about being a part of your mission. They get a kick out of making a contribution.

So hand them the tools they crave to do even more. If you’ve got a petition to sign, send them the link to sign it. If you have a questionnaire for your supporters, make sure they get exclusive sight of it.

Check out this email from Compassion in World Farming, asking supporters to be the voice for farm animals in the Brexit debate (an eye-catching call to action if ever there was one):


Give your donors the chance to do more, and they’ll feel so good they’ll end up being even more committed to keeping their donation going.

3) The upgrade email

Sometimes your donors give you money as a bit of test. They like you, and they like your cause. So they give you a bit of money to see how that feels.

If they’ve been giving money to you for a while, it probably feels good. So give them the chance to give more through a carefully timed upgrade ask.

A word of warning – this is the one place where your online and offline individuals giving processes need to come together. Planning the integration of email to your upgrade programme requires a good upgrade programme in the first place – we’ll cover how digital can help create that upgrade programme in a future blog post.

Email can support your upgrade programme by preparing recipients for a call, by confirming their decision and even asking them to share their donation. But make sure your online and offline processes are in perfect harmony.

Seen other inspiring examples of emails from charities?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Matt Collins is managing director at digital marketing agency, Platypus Digital, and tweets @charitychap