What an effective email fundraising subject line!

As a fundraising coach, I take a critical look at fundraising letters and emails. It's always thrilling to be pleasantly surprised!

Last week, I was pleasantly surprised to look in my inbox and see this email subject line:
GREAT email subject line for a fundraising email!

  1. Email subject line: "You made this happen."

    Isn't that a great email subject line?! I couldn't wait to figure out what "this" was! What did I make happen.

  2. Then the email falls apart

    Unfortunately, Milton lost an opportunity. When I opened the email, this is what I saw:
    Great email subject - bummer of an inside

    Crickets. There isn't even a creative use of "alt" tags.

  3. Remember: many of your donors don't enable images. Be ready for that!

    Fortunately, when you click the "show images" button, you get to this is awesome image:
    Inside image of a GREAT email subject line for a fundraising email!

The importance of a strong email subject line

Do you see the importance of a strong email subject line? The line "You made this happen" aroused so much curiosity that I was willing to load images even after the school had fired a blank email to me. I knew the image must be really cool, so I did load it.

As you're getting ready to finish your emails for the end of the year, please forget the awful "There's still time" emails. Just because June 30 is the end of your fiscal year doesn't mean it's an important date to your donors. Your job is to inspire action, not naps!

Try something a little more creative. Like the great email subject line from Milton Academy's email!

About Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman is the CEO of The Concord Leadership Group, the author of Ask Without Fear! and director of The Nonprofit Academy. A coach to leaders around the world, Marc's expertise and enthusiasm engages audiences and has caught the attention of media organizations as diverse as Al Jazeera and Fox News. Marc’s experience also includes pastoring a Vineyard church, managing a gubernatorial campaign, and teaching internet marketing and fundraising at colleges and universities. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook.
To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to https://fundraisingcoach.com/21-ways/


  1. Agree with you on the simple and powerful language of the email subject. I love simple but effective communication. Add me to the list of people who don't have images enabled automatically. You have to have alternate text in place for people like us.

  2. I agree simple but effective is best! The first step is to get them to open the email without deleting it.

What would you add?