Shelter’s world-beating email

Abbi Davies recently forwarded me an email she had just received from Shelter that blew her away. I loved it too.

Here’s why it’s so awesome. I think all charities that send out emails could learn from it.

1. Eye catching subject line

Brrrrng-Brrrng. Not even real words. It really stood out in my inbox. It made me open the email.

Your email’s contents could be fantastically good, but if the subject line isn’t intriguing or interesting, nobody will open the email to see them.

Shelter email 1 - subject line

2. Innovative personalisation

472, Abbi. Not the standard “Dear Abbi” or worse, “Dear Supporter”. So it also stands out, and makes you want to read on to find out – 472 what?

Shelter email - salutation

3. Surprising first sentence

472 calls yesterday? I had no idea it was that many. And it’s like that every day? Wowzers.

Shelter email - first sentence

4. Standout call to action

This email makes it clear what you’re supposed to do. Follow us on Twitter to find out more. Even skim readers wouldn’t miss this link.

Shelter email - standout call to action

5. Flattery gets you everywhere

The final sentence tells me my support is already really valuable, no matter what I do. I feel good reading that. It makes me more likely to open a future email that ends up asking for a donation.

Shelter email - you rock

6. Friendly sign off

No job title here, just “Ali Walker, Shelter” – I like that. I only need to know that it came from someone at Shelter – I’m much less interested in whether they are a Corporate Communications Officer or Digital Manager (assuming I even know what they are). It just gets in the way of succinct communication.

Shelter email - sign off

Good on you, Shelter.

UPDATE: Shelter’s Head of Digital Fundraising, Ali Walker, told me a bit about how the email performed.

“Open rates were really strong. Click throughs were ok – the email relied upon supporters being interested in Twitter of course. We got lots of positive feedback via replies on Twitter.”

If you’ve received any other great charity emails, click on the link at the top of the email that says “View this email in a browser” or similar, and post it as a comment below.

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2 Responses to “Shelter’s world-beating email”

  1. Beate Sørum 01/20/2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Thanks for the update. A really cool example from Shelter! I’d also be interested to know more about the campaign itself – did many people follow the live stream? Did they gain many new followers? And did this lead to more supporters (if the recipients weren’t already supporters – it’s not clear from the email 🙂 ).

    Thanks for sharing a great example!

    • CharityChap 01/26/2014 at 8:00 pm #

      Good questions Beate, I’m not sure – you could always tweet @AliWalker84. I believe she was responsible for the email so she might be able to give you more information.

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