This time of year there are numerous fundraising emails landing in inboxes daily. As a fundraising professional, I revel in this time of year because I love seeing the emails and the strategies in action. Last week I wrote about year-end email subject lines and today I thought I would dive into a specific email that is very strategic and by-far the best of use of storytelling I’ve seen thus far.
The email is from Invisible Children. I’ve written about their emails before. They have a great voice and personality that shines through in each email. The email I received the other day was at its core a fundraising email. But it uses a storytelling narrative to tell people what the organization’s plans are for 2015.
The subject line
We’re making some major changes in 2015 – get the story
The first part of the email is above and here is the rest of the email.
The core message
Invisible Children is entering its final and we wanted to let you know how you can help us achieve our mission.
What’s great about this email
#1 It’s super transparent with donors. How often have you ever sent or received an email informing of an organization’s future plans? I’ll admit this was a first for me. Most organizations are talking about their current needs; everything is very focused on the present or the past. But what’s ingenious about using While this is a common time of year to be telling donors about what your needs are, why not tell them what’s up for next year? Get them excited about the vision and direction for 2015. It’s a very different approach and I would be very curious to see how this performed.
#2 It reminds donors of what they’ve helped the organization accomplish. I am a believer that more non-profits should be in the business of eradicating problems rather than just providing services. This is the approach that Invisible Children has taken and they have used this email to show just how much progress has been made towards their mission. It’s substantial! This is also a super smart move if you’re ultimately trying to raise money because you’re proving your track record and showing donors just how close you are to saying what you said you’d do. It’s accountability in action.
#3 It introduces a vision and changes for the New Year. After reading this email, I thought, “Whoa there’s a ton going on here!” Technically, this is an email announcing that the organization is downsizing. Most organizations could consider this a negative milestone and something they wouldn’t want to openly share. But this email frames the downsizing as a strategic and positive move for the whole organization. They share details about what’s on the horizon for 2015 and a few other resources for people who are interested in staying involved with the cause.
Invisible Children is an organization that takes advantage of their BIG story. The BIG Story is the overarching narrative that you want people to remember about your organization. Since we’re about to head into a new calendar year, this is the perfect time of year to evaluate your organization’s narrative and start to refresh it for the new year.