Email marketing allows for even the smallest organizations to effectively communicate with donors to raise money for their fundraiser. As part of Benchmark’s Free PTA Sponsorship program, we’d like to give you some tips on communicating and promoting with email marketing.

For your PTA fundraiser, an email marketing campaign is critical to keeping the organization’s parents and teachers informed about the group’s plans and activities. It also allows you to inexpensively provide reasons and reminders to donate.

The following are some of the basics on how to design a campaign, write emails, build an email list and promote your PTA fundraiser with email marketing.

1. Define Your Strategy and Story

Before launching your PTA fundraising campaign, take the time to formulate a plan. A well thought-out strategy will help make your campaign mission more appealing to your target audience.

Start by clearly defining your email campaign goals and exactly how much you hope to raise. Identify and list real donors that you can count on and estimate how much they may give to use as the base for your campaign. While you’re likely to get new donors, it’s impractical to expect the vast majority to be new ones.

Develop a compelling message to inspire people to donate. Tell supporters a story – not just about why it’s important to support your organization, but specifically what their donations will support. Put names or faces to the people that the fundraiser will help. The more specific your request and the more it resonates with your target audience, the more likely your supporters are to donate.

2. Email Flow

Design a campaign with a stream of emails that first frames your request, then provides perspective with supporting quotes or a relevant story. Follow that up with an email that encourages people to donate towards the end of the fundraiser and another to thank people for their support.

For a more robust campaign, consider adding additional emails such as a progress report, a seasonal greeting card, or a request for recipients to forward your message or tell others about your PTA fundraiser.

Remember, different avenues of communications don’t exist separately. Use them all to support each other by directing attention to an upcoming letter or email, or use them to direct potential donors to your website.

3. Build an Email List

A successful fundraiser relies on reaching as many committed supporters as you can. When building a list, recruit current supporters from other facets of your online campaign and even try sending postcards to everyone on your direct mailing list asking them to subscribe to your emails.

Online resources are the most effective ways to encourage people to pledge and pass the word on to others. Create compelling information that is useful to potential donors and then ask them to sign up to learn more.

Do not risk alienating people from your cause and decreasing your donation revenue by emailing people who did not sign up. The national CAN-SPAM Act states that you may only email people with whom you have pre-existing relationships. Pulling lists of email addresses from outside sources is a terrible way to start a fundraiser.

4. Write Effective Emails

When composing emails, think of a subject line that will intrigue and motivate readers. List the name of both an individual and the name of the organization as the sender, in order to optimize the chances of your email being opened.

Choose a strong advocate for your cause and use name recognition to help drive your email’s success. One compelling example can be more effective than an overwhelming amount of facts and figures. Make your emails as personal as possible.

Finally, do not forget to include a call to action! Use bold text to highlight action steps and pertinent information but avoid underline or colored fonts for emphasis, as your reader may confuse them for additional links.

Evaluate your emails and adjust them as necessary to fine tune your campaign. Find out what works and do more of it. Remember, be forthright about your promotion, write compelling, personal emails and people will respond.