How to Create an Email Marketing Strategy

Email is one of the most effective ways to market your fundraising campaign to your network. The first step towards having an effective strategy for email is to formulate a concrete plan.

Email List Cycle

 1. Gather Your Contacts: You’re Going To Send Everyone You Know

  • First you have to think about who you want to reach out to and gather those email addresses.
    • This should be anyone you know, even if you haven’t been in touch in a while – hey, you never know!

2. Make an Email Distribution List

  • Remember all of those emails we asked you to gather above? Well, now you are going to organize them into a distribution list that makes it easy to email the group repeatedly.
  • You can make one list or segment it by family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc – whatever helps you stay most organized.
    • Check out this article for more information on how to create and use an email distribution list.
  • Important Netiquette: Use the BCC tool so that you do not reveal people’s emails. This is your list. It should stay private.

3. How Often Should You Email?

  • During your kick-off week, you want to email at least twice.
  • After that, at least once a week until you hit your goal, or more often if you have any big announcements to make.
  • As you near your deadline, you may want to increase the frequency to create a sense for urgency.
  • The best days of the week to email are: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, around 10am.

4. Contact Strategy to Leverage Your Network

  • Initially, you want to go after the people who have the best chance of helping you to build momentum; this is typically friends and family.
  • Then personally follow-up with some key contacts who know a lot of people – these are your “connectors” and if you play your cards right, they will help you spread the word.

5. Here’s What Your Initial Email Should Say:

  • Keep it brief. You don’t want to overwhelm the message recipient.
    • Let your DAG site do the talking for you.
  • Have a good subject line.
  • Make sure you include your direct DAG site URL.
  • Ask directly for them to contribute.
  • Think of it like a chain letter – your second most important ‘ask’ is for them to forward your email and endorse your campaign.

Subject Line Ideas:

  • Launch News!
  • Help Me Make a Movie
  • Raising Money For My School
  • Fundraiser to Save Jane

Email Content Idea:

Hi Everyone,

I hope this finds you well. I’m writing to let you know about [the new film I want to make, the nonprofit I am launching, my cousin who is sick]. I am using the crowdfunding site Deposit a Gift to raise the necessary funds and hope you will help me achieve my goals. You can learn about my campaign on my fundraising site:

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you have ideas about how I can spread the word. I am trying to raise the money by XX date and would appreciate your support. Please also feel free to forward to anyone else who might be interested, or share on Facebook.

Thank you in advance!


[Insert Your Name]

6. Stay On Their Radar With Follow-up Emails. What To Say?

  • Look for excuses to send the next emails to remind people of your cause in case they’ve forgotten. You must be tenacious, but you don’t want to look shameless.
    • Give updates about your progress:  1st contribution, you’re 25% of the way there, you just need $500 and you’ll hit your goal.
    • Thank people publicly who’ve been helpful.
    • Share how you’ve already been putting the funds to good use.
    • Post new pics and videos.
  • Personal follow-up emails are a great way to show contributors that you are appreciative of their involvement in your campaign.
    • For example, if you speak to someone on the phone one day, be sure to send them a thank you email shortly after.
  • Make sure you send personalized thank you notes to each person that contributed to your campaign.
  • Lastly, make sure you do not over do it.

It is important to reach out frequently to your network, but if you are to reach out every single day it may start to become annoying to the recipients. Try to strike a balance so they feel included in your effort and look forward to your updates.