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A simple 5-step checklist for fundraising emails

Posted December 8, 2020 by Virginia Davidson

Fundraising email checklist

Email appeals are an important component of your fundraising efforts. Before you click “Send” on your fundraising email, run through this simple 5-step checklist to make sure recipients will be able to successfully support your organization.

Is your organization listed as the sender?

Unless your executive director or board chair is well known in the community or you’re sending the email on behalf of a celebrity supporter, consider setting the name of your organization as the sender. It provides context for the subject line of the email, which is helpful as recipients are viewing their inboxes.

Is your email mobile friendly and compliant with regulations?

Multiple-column templates can seem like a nice choice, especially for newsy emails. But they’re uncomfortable for people to read on mobile devices because they require a lot of scrolling and enlarging of the text. LGL recommends using an email marketing service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact to create your email appeal. They have ready-made one-column templates and ensure automatic compliance with CAN-SPAM regulations.

Have you included multiple opportunities to donate?

Insert your “Donate” button throughout the email to make it convenient for readers to make a donation as they scroll. Of course, it’s also important to make your request clear. What action can they take to contribute to your organization’s need and feel like they’ve given in a meaningful way? Consider asking recipients to make a gift for a specific reason or at a specific amount. And, make sure every link in your email works correctly. Always test rigorously!

Are you linking to a user-friendly donation form?

Your “Donate” button should link to an online donation form that your donors can fill out quickly. It’s tempting to ask donors a lot of questions, but stick to the basics. You can always follow up with them later to ask those nice-to-know questions such as, “How did you hear about us?” If you don’t already have a tool to collect donations online, consider a solution like LGL forms. And, no matter what solution you’re using to accept online donations, make sure you’ve tested the form before you guide donors to it.

Do you provide offline contact information?

Some recipients may open your email and feel inspired to give, but would prefer to send you a check rather than donate online. Or they may want to contact you to explore planned giving opportunities. Your email or donation form should also include contact information so these supporters know how to reach you.


Fundraisers know that putting together an email appeal is a time-consuming task. By running through this checklist, you’ll be setting your email appeal up for success.

Are you working with an appeal mailing instead? Check out our resource on making sure your appeal letter is finished.

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