It’s crunch time for non-profit fundraising.

December is your last and best chance for raising funds in 2017. Almost 30% of individual funding comes in the last month of the year, and 11% of funding comes in the last three days of the year. In order to help you make last minute optimizations to your campaign, here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for fundraising emails.

1. Segment your email lists.

Before you even start writing your email appeal, you need to know who you’re writing for. This means going through your list and segmenting it by relationship to your organization. For example, a healthcare advocacy organization might segment their email list by patient, family, friend, or general public. Segmenting your email list this way enables you to tailor your language and appeals. This allows you to make a personal connection with your audience thus increasing the likelihood of donations.

2. Catchy subject

You’ve probably heard this before, but headlines are essential for email marketing. They can be funny, serious, or action oriented, but they must be eye catching and engaging. To write an effective email subject line, we suggest you keep it under 8 words and ask yourself: “Would my audience click on this?”

3. One clear direct ask multiple times

Most non-profits run multiple programs at the same time; however, your fundraising email isn’t the place to discuss them all. Your goal for fundraising emails is to increase donations, period. Anything that could distract from that goal should be cut from your email. In addition, you should make your ask multiple times and in multiple ways. Some should be visual – a donate button or image –  and some should be textual –  hyper linked text. Doing this ensures that your audience clearly understands your ask.

4. Don’t give your audience anything else to click on

There shouldn’t be anything in your email that could distract your audience from donating. This means no social media buttons and no links to programs. You must legally include an unsubscribe button, but other than that everything else should bring your audience to a donation page.

5. Create a Series of Emails

December is crunch time for every non-profit, not just yours. Sending only one email appeal ensures that you’ll get lost in the shuffle. Instead, send a series of emails - we like 3-part series - to make sure you get seen.

6. Implement tracking everywhere

Tracking is critical for optimizing your email appeals over a short period of time. By tracking each email and each link to your donation page, you’ll be able to quickly see what type of text, imagery, and themes drive donations. If you’re writing a series of emails (as you should be) you’ll then be able to optimize your language and imagery between one email and the next for maximum donations.

7. Include a P.S.

Including a P.S. in your emails comes from letter fundraising. When we read letters we really only read the beginning of the letter and the end, skimming the middle if we need the context. Adding a P.S. in a letter meant that when your reader jumped to the end they would easily see your ask and take action. While we don’t read emails in exactly the same way as letters, including a P.S. with a clear ask still draws the reader’s eye and allows them to take action easily.

8. Write Fundraising Letters in addition to Emails

You should always run a letter campaign in conjunction with your email campaign. As we’ve moved to be a more digital society, individuals receive less physical mail and more emails. Running a physical fundraising campaign in addition to a digital one ensures that you create a surround sound experience for your target audience. This means you’ll be top of mind when they make their donation choices.