Honing in on your email strategy this election season? The most effective fundraising emails have these two concepts: The theory of change, and the hard ask. Here’s what those terms mean and how to include them in your email program!

The Hard Ask

The “hard ask” is directly asking for a specific amount of money. It’s important to be clear about what you’re asking for so it’s easy for supporters to say “yes!” Donors need to be asked to give — they won’t be inspired to give without it.

Example: Can you chip in $15?

Segmenting your email list can help you decide on an amount for your ask. Use our donor segments tool to sort your donors by their highest previous contribution or their total contribution amount, then download their email addresses in a spreadsheet to ask for a comparable amount!

Example: Download the info for supporters whose highest previous contribution was $15 or less, then email them a hard ask for a $5 monthly donation.

Theory of Change

Theory of change goes hand-in-hand with the hard ask: They work best when used together!

Theory of change means letting supporters know their contribution is part of a solution to a problem. Small-dollar donors aren’t ATMs — treat them like the equal partners they are! When you’re writing a fundraising email:

    1. Outline the problem.
    2. Explain how your supporters are part of the solution.

In other words, make sure your email answers why you’re emailing your supporters, and why their donations matter right now. For instance, an impending election or campaign finance deadline is a reason to ask for donations!

Example: With your help, I can win on Election Day and push legislators across the state to act on extreme weather events once in office. Can you chip in $10 to help me fight the effects of climate change in our community?

Try out these concepts in your next fundraising email and see if your donors respond! Writing a great fundraising email can feel tricky, but we’re here to support you. Follow us on Twitter or scroll down to subscribe to our email list and stay up-to-date on our digital fundraising trainings, tips, and tricks!

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