Create urgency for empowerment

Note: We published this before social distancing rules took effect, but you can still use many of the tips in here to help you navigate how to communicate with supporters during the COVID-19 crisis.

Your campaign or organization’s work often moves fast, and so does the money needed to fuel it! This urgency to meet goals and raise money for key organizing moments can do more than give your fundraising team adrenaline — it can be a powerful rallying call that gives your small-dollar donors an empowering action to take. Whether your issue is in the news or a critical deadline is approaching, you have an opportunity to give your donors a clear avenue to invest in your work when it matters most.

How do you send fundraising emails in these moments of urgency? From rapid response moments to looming deadlines, you can be honest in your emails about why you’re asking for support now and empower small-dollar donors to make a direct impact. We’ll walk you through the email strategy behind rallying supporters in urgent moments and the tools on ActBlue you can rely on.

FIND YOUR RAPID RESPONSE MOMENT

In 2020, people are tuned into the news cycle and more eager than ever to determine our country’s future. Your small-dollar donors are excited to power your work, and you can make it easy for them to take action! Did a piece of legislation related to your main issue areas just pass? Is an opponent in your race hosting an event to fundraise against you? When your issue is in the news or a major event around your platform happens, use the attention to highlight your work and explain how supporters can get involved now.

Before a rapid response moment even arrives, you can and should be prepared! First, establish a way to keep track of current events and be alerted to moments related to your work. Next, make sure you’ve nailed the basics of running an email fundraising program that can handle raising money on a quick turnaround. You’ll want the following in place: easy and dependable fundraising and email tools, a good fundraising ask, and a fast approval process for rapid response moments cleared by all stakeholders. We also recommend you create a rapid response email checklist for snappy proofreading and double-checking.

In a rapid response moment, your goal is to email a call-to-action as fast as possible. People will be looking for ways to make an impact, and you can give them a key way to do so by reaching their inboxes when the moment is fresh. Feel empowered to send multiple rapid response emails to your list, and specifically ask new supporters to make their first contributions! Bottom line: Keep your emails short, and make the most of your theory of change — explain what’s happening and quickly pivot to why supporters can make a difference by donating (or taking another action like signing a petition). This example has a motivational ask that specifies how a small-dollar donation fuels a huge difference:

Example of a rapid response email

You also already have access to the tools that make rapid response fundraising easier! You can prepare a contribution form for rapid response on ActBlue, so all you have to do is duplicate it and make small edits to match your moment. In your form, set up the branding with your campaign or organization’s logo and donation amounts in advance. Another great tip is making a social share template meant for rapid response moments ahead of time. You can get started on your rapid response social share image with placeholder text using our social share image template!

MOBILIZE AROUND DEADLINES AND GOALS

From reporting deadlines to end-of-year goals, primary to general elections, your campaign or organization has many goals and deadlines to meet. And they’re great benchmarks you can mobilize your community of small-dollar donors around! Even if you don’t have official deadlines, you can lay out internal timelines to rally supporters, like the date by which you’ll have to decide on your field organizing or ad budget.

The key is to contextualize why deadlines or goals matter to your campaign or organization. For example, you might be required to publicly report fundraising numbers to a campaign finance agency, and reporters take these numbers as signs of your grassroots strength! Or maybe these small-dollar donations enable you to print pamphlets and flyers or buy ads. Explain in your emails where your supporters’ money will go and why it’s so important for your donors to make a contribution now. (Mobilizing around deadlines and goals can also be a volunteering opportunity — ask supporters to phone bank or join a door-knocking party when it’s most important.) This email explains how a monthly goal can fund crucial work:

Example of an email using a monthly goal to motivate small-dollar donors to give!

Personalize your contribution form and emails to remind your supporters they’re vital to this work: Customize the name that appears on the form using snippets and continue that personalization in your emails!

CENTER YOUR DONORS THROUGH IT ALL

Your list is made up of real people eager to contribute to your work! Make sure you’re building genuine supporter relationships by communicating with them on a regular basis, so when a rapid response moment or deadline hits, your donors are ready to take action for you. Your urgent ask should respect your amazing donors: Help your relationships last for the long haul by avoiding hyperbole and subject lines that could unnecessarily scare readers. After the moment of urgency passes, send your supporters an email dedicated to saying thank you for their commitment. And don’t forget to keep your donors updated on the impact of the gifts they made in a time of need!

Fundraising and engaging your grassroots community in times of urgency are highly impactful strategies you can absolutely incorporate into your own small-dollar program. Need some more guidance? Our team of digital strategy experts is happy to help you.

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