What’s in My Inbox | Anatomy of the “perfect” email ask

October 25, 2022

Your donors, like you, are under many pressures from a rapidly changing world. How do you capture their attention in the almost grotesque distraction of the online space?

“We’ve had enough.”

Hey, haven’t we all? This subject line made me pause…and open. And when I did, I read an email that simply and powerfully made its case.

The first paragraph tells me they know me. I first gave in 2014 and have given more than three times. “This makes you one of the rare exceptions who chooses to support a project that’s helpful to everyone on the planet.” Flattery will get you everywhere. So will your data.

The fourth paragraph speaks directly to my values. I’ve been a Mother Jones reader and supporter since I was a teenager. And since that time, I’ve been a donor to numerous journalism-based nonprofits. Freedom of the press — more importantly accessibility to unbiased, fact-based journalism — matters to me. The fact that, more and more, propaganda disguised as “news” offered by Fox, Breitbart, and the like, is free and readily accessible, while fact-based journalism is often behind a paywall, should scare us all.

So, what happened? I made my largest gift to Wikipedia ever (okay, only $35). And, thanks to their well-timed lightbox, I also became a monthly donor.

Download Wikipedia’s email by clicking the image below.

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