Great question. Email is an extremely effective medium to ask for donations, recruit fundraisers and spread the word about your cause. Even a single email address is worth its weight in dollars towards your mission. However, email providers have made spam filters very strict and breaking spam laws can prove expensive and problematic.
We’re not email marketing experts, and the path to spam can take many different forms. With that said, we’ve gathered a few broad tips that should help get your important campaign emails to your supporters’ inboxes:
Take the correct precautions. Best way to avoid your emails going to spam is to avoid it going there in the first place. Once your email is marked as spam, it’s more likely future emails will end up in the spam folder and it can even cause problems with your email service provider (like Constant Contact or MailChimp).
Review email recipients before you send. Ensure you’re reaching the correct people with updated, current email addresses.
Analyze levels of engagement. One of the biggest reasons emails get marked as spam is because the recipient does not engage with the email.
Curate your Content. Keep your email’s html clean and simple, using appropriately-sized images and commonly-used fonts.
While there are many factors that can contribute to your message going to spam, our most important suggestion is to pay attention to what your sending and who you’re sending it to. With luck, the right people will receive your message and take action on your behalf.
If you are a winner of an ACT grant or a 'fan favorite' grant, you are a "Conditional Winner" and will not receive a grant until you are verified and declared an "Official Winner" according to the Project rules. Here's a little summary of how the verification process will work...
When the Project ends, CrowdRise and the Gannett Foundation will reach out to conditional winners with instructions. If your grant (or total prize amount in the Project) is $600+ USD, you will be required to submit an affidavit of eligibility, liability and Publicity Release or a declaration and W9 within 48 hours. Only then will you be declared an "Official Winner".
If you do not return your required paperwork within the required period of time, you will forfeit your opportunity to win and we will choose another winner, time permitting.
Official winners of the ACT Project will receive the funds won Post Project.
The end of the Project is so, so, so fun and so, so, so unexpected. Anything can happen. We’ve seen 5th place jump to 1st place, 2nd place come in with a $10 margin, etc. So, make those last days, hours and minutes really count.
But, don’t let your supporters wait until the final seconds to donate. Reach out via your campaign update tool and use the customizable email drafts to remind them that you need all the help you can get, but, donations do take time. Their donation needs to be fully processed by the time the Project's fundraising period is over. So, don’t wait until the last second and realize a donation didn’t get through that you counted on.
As soon as the Project is over, the donate button will turn off and that will be it. We’ll send an email officially closing the Project.
At that point, it can take up to twenty-one (21) business days to verify the winners. As soon as we have the official winners, we’ll email all of the ACT Project participants to announce the grand prize winners and update the Project page.
The best part of the Project is that even if you aren’t one of the ACT grant recipients you still get to keep the money you raise. Pretty awesome, right?
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. This is supposed to not only be a fun and engaging way to raise money for your cause. But it should also be relatively easy. Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t something you can be a part of, sit back and relax, and expect donations to flow in. But, when we say easy, we mean that we want to provide all the tools, tips, assets and expertise to help you execute a successful ACT Project campaign...and make all that much easier.
That being said, you’ve got to encourage your team members to be just as prepared. Use our email drafts in the email drafts section, show them how to use the campaign update tool and keep them informed every step of the way. Make sure to reach out to them at key times during the Project (day before, start date, middle of the campaign, day before it ends, morning that it ends) make sure you read every single section of this Toolkit. From pricing to FAQs, to calendars and press announcements, it’s your one-stop-shop for all things ACT.
We’re always asked what the best strategy is for maintaining momentum and fostering lots and lots of donations. And, while we have specific strategies we’ve outlined in many of these posts, we will say that repetition is major and a huge key to success.
We know it seems like a lot to email your board three times before the Project begins to set up a fundraiser for a cause. We know it seems like a lot to send 10 campaign updates throughout the Project and ask for donations. We know social media posts take time to write and can be a project to get on a calendar. But, these things just work. They do. So if you need to appoint someone to manage your calendar, craft your messaging, and stay on top of continually asking for help in the form of fundraisers and donations, then we highly suggest you do so. Be repetitive, ask multiple times, stay on top of it...it will definitely pay off.
The best things you can do with your new team is keep them engaged, informed and appreciated. They are setting up fundraisers on your behalf and you want to make sure they’re successful at helping your organization raise lots of money for your cause. So, make sure to reach out right away and thank them for joining the team. We’ve got an email in the Email Drafts section that you can customize and that spells out all the next best steps. In addition, look through the messaging calendar and emails drafts for communications you can send before and during the Project. If you have incentives you can use, make sure to communicate those with your team members. Maybe it’s the first team member to raise $500 gets a gift card or everyone who raises at least $50 will get a t-shirt from your organization.
If you have an event or are planning an event around the timeframe of the Project, you’ve gotta leverage it. We have a bunch of tips and ideas on how to really tie in your event to your Project fundraiser and how to help raise even more money for your campaign.
Yeah, you read that right. We have case study upon case study where organizations just like yours had a large donation and instead of just putting that bad boy in as an individual donation, they actually used it as leverage to create even more donation volume.
Le'ts do a little word problem.
Bob is your best donor. He hears about the Project and reaches out to let you know he wants to give your organization a $10,000 donation. Awesome.
Here's the thing though...if, instead of him just doing a direct donation to your page, you ask Bob if you can use his donation as a match, you now have something to message about to your community that brings a sense of urgency and a tangible goal to shoot for. Your donors will want to help you hit that goal to unlock the match and therefore will give...a lot.
So now, you're asking your supporters to give and once you raise $10,000, the $10,000 match will get released. Kind of like magic, your awesome $10k gift turned into a $20k really awesome gift. Thanks Bob.
You've got a match, now what?
Timing - Take a look at the Project calendar and decide when this match will work the hardest for the best return. Do you want to take advantage of an event you have planned during the Project? Plan it carefully and thoughtfully to maximize its impact and consider limiting your matching campaign to just a few days to capture the excitement.
Spread the word - As soon as you've planned the dates of your matching campaign, make sure you're all set to go with multiple emails, social posts, calls, and newsletter inclusions to spread the word that you want as many donations as possible to reach your match goal. Let them know the deadline and keep the urgency going throughout the entire timeframe.
Tangible Storytelling - Use your match to tell your story. Connect the match dollar total to a tangible use of the money. Let them know what this could mean to your organization and reinforce the important work your organization does to make it even more impactful.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to thank your donors and supporters as fast as possible after they donate. The more appreciated they feel, the more likely they are to give again. And again. In fact, we’ve found that first time donors who get a thank you within 48 hours are four times more likely to give a second time.
You can use our prompted thank you tool that you’ll receive when someone makes a donation. Or, you can get more personal and write a direct email. You could even follow either of those tactics up with a handwritten thank you note. But the real message here is make it fast.
A widget is a snippet of code that you can embed on your own website to create a direct donation link to your Project. It makes it seamless for potential donors on your own site to directly give to your Project fundraiser. And, it’s incredibly easy to set up. The one thing is, the widget code will be hidden until after the Project launches so you’ll want to wait to set up your widget.
To make it happen, just log in to your account and go to your fundraising page. Click on the Edit Fundraiser tab, select Advanced Settings on the left and then select My Fundraiser Widget. Copy and paste the code into your website html. If you don't know how to do that, just send the code to your web person and they'll know what to do with it. Or Contact Us and we’ll be able to help solve everything.