Engagement begins in the inbox. Getting someone to open an email is both the marketer’s biggest challenge and greatest opportunity. Success is riding on just a few elements: the friendly “From” name, “Subject,” and the pre-header text. That’s it.

So, when my cohorts at Abila said, “Hey, we’re working on a digital fundraising guide and think some ideas on effective email appeals and subject lines would be a good fit,” the Informz team immediately and enthusiastically agreed. And, that’s how we came to be featured in Chapter Two of the Ultimate Guide to Online Fundraising.

For our chapter, I worked with the team to analyze more than 5,000 subject line tests to learn what organizations are testing and what resonates with audiences. The data confirms that audiences are moved and engaged by unexpected, pleasant surprises in their inboxes. The highest-performing subject lines included personalization, humor, and words of thankfulness.

Three Strategies for Open

Make it Personal
Personalization drives response. In head-to-head tests, personalized emails consistently outperform non-personalized communications. Look at the data you have and think about how you can use that information to deliver personal and relevant content.

Be Humorous and Playful
Results from head-to-head tests show audiences respond well to humorous and playful ways of communicating routine messages. Non-traditional subject lines that stand out in the inbox and stir positive emotions boost overall audience engagement.

Give Thanks
There’s nothing better than a genuine word of thanks to let people know you appreciate their contributions to your organization. Our results show that expressions of gratitude consistently score big with audiences across all organizations. What scores even bigger? Thanking them without asking for anything in return.

For more details on each of these strategies, download the Guide or join my live webinar “Amplify your Digital Asks” with Abila fundraising expert Cheryl Black next Tuesday, June 21. The webinar is free (hurray!) and attendees will earn one CFRE continuing education credit.

About the Author
Vivian Swertinski is the Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Abila Product Partner Informz. Informz helps associations and nonprofits tell powerful stories, create personal connections, and drive real results with an easy-to-use email marketing and marketing automation platform.