Email is one of the powerful mediums for political fundraising – but only when it’s executed properly. If you aren’t applying the best, tried-and-true practices for email marketing, then you’re wasting resources and potentially hurting your campaign at the same time.

Want to start collecting a lot more donations on your website? You need to send the right emails. Here’s how.

1) Build and segment your email list
You can’t have a good email campaign without a good list. This is why it’s so important to collect emails from your supporters at every opportunity: on your website, at events, when recruiting volunteers, from your donors and so on.

Use email marketing platforms to segment each of these groups, so that you can send a targeted, unique message to each one.

2) Start with a strong subject line
Keep the subject short and intriguing – but not so mysterious that people will think it’s spam. A compelling subject line will ensure that more people open and read your email, instead of deleting it.

Try actionable subject lines, such as:

  • I need your help before tomorrow
  • Can I call you?
  • Let me know your thoughts

The goal is to make readers think the email is directly to them. (And if you’ve segmented properly, it sort of is.)

3) Keep the email short
No one wants to read a book in their inbox, and research shows that nobody does. Keep your email under 300 words – unless you have existing data that shows your supporters are responding to longer appeals.

Readers should understand what the email is about instantly. Each line of text should build upon the next, and should be short and clear, so that it keeps people reading.

Don’t be afraid to test very short emails, consisting of 1 to 2 sentences – or a graphic with minimal text. Especially with mobile users, these emails often get the biggest response.

4) Don’t beat around the bush about donations
If you’re asking for money, be clear about it. Don’t hide this part, because people will miss it. Let your supporters know what you’re asking for and how much. Provide suggested amounts, for example: “$15 or whatever you can give.”

Let them know exactly how their donations make an impact and why they matter. Frame it with the issues that matter most to voters.

5) Create a strong call-to-action
Now that you’ve asked for a donation, make it clear how to do it. Design the email with a large, brightly colored button with a clear call to action, such as “Donate Now.”

In longer appeals, consider adding hyperlinks throughout the email. And be sure that every link goes directly to a donation page. Fewer steps = more donations.

6) Test, test, test
Today’s email marketing platforms make it easy to run A-B tests. Do this as often as possible, testing for headline variations, subject lines, button text, colors and other elements. With the results of an A-B test on a small segment of your list, you’ll know which emails will make a bigger impact on the larger lists.

Constant testing and tweaking is the key to getting the best possible results from your political fundraising emails throughout your entire campaign.

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