7 Top Tips to Write an Engaging Charity Email

Time and again we are told by our clients that email led to the highest number of ticket sales for their fundraising raffle.

When our client’s send out an email, they do see a spike in ticket sales on that day through their Raffle Admin Panel.  Recently, St Scholastica’s School raffle saw 3 distinct spikes in sales relating to their promotional emails.

Charities, non-profit organisations, schools and sports clubs would all have a database of members or supporters which means reaching out via email is one of the least labour intensive ways to secure sales.

So we would like to share our 7 top tips to write an engaging charity email that will be opened and acted upon.

Subject Line

The first challenge is getting your email opened and this is solely based upon what the reader sees in their inbox.

  1. who the email is from
  2. the content of the subject line


Abbi Davies from Together We’re Better suggests the following techniques to encourage people to open your email:-

Flattery – hook the reader with a flattering statement such as “Your Amazing!” and chances are they will open the email to find out why.

Personalise – To create a friendly and human touch, try sending your email from a person, not an organisation such as Peter@SmithFamily.com.au

Human Impact – In very few words describe the result of their assistance. “Thanks to you Sara will be able to see”

Urgency – “Don’t miss out on one of 200 tickets only”  “Help Jacob now before it’s too late”

Be personal

It is not always possible to use a person’s first name in your email so instead, make sure your greeting is warm & familiar such as “Hello family & friends of <your organisation’s name>

I personally loathe the use of jargon or acronyms.  This is the quickest way to de-humanise your letter and isolate your readers.  Keep it real.

Signing off your email with a person’s name humanises the content and your request for assistance.


Story Telling

Young or old, we all love a good story and email is the perfect medium to create emotion through a powerful storyline.

It goes without saying that there is a need to explain the reason for your raffle which will correspond with your Raffle Purpose on your raffle page.  The more personal you can be with your story, the more your audience will be engaged.

We tend to skim over “your help will assist us to continue providing our great service” (Ho hum!) because the description is not tangible enough to evoke emotion.  As opposed to a more powerful, personalised story “12 year old Jack had lost all hope and was in a very dark place.  Without our help he may not have been here today, graduating school.”  Add an image of Jack graduating school for extra goodwill.

In 2014 The Cerebral Palsy Alliance attributed a $200,000 rise in their event proceeds to email engagement. They found that engaging their audience prior to the event with a series of emails which brought the children’s stories to life via embedded videos achieved an open rate of 58 -69%.

When composing your email start with a personalised story of 3 – 4 short sentences.

[Juliana’s family was struggling after her father passed away when she was just six years old.  A  bright  and eager  student,  she  was  ready to take  on  the  world  despite  her  circumstances.  For  Juliana,  having  a sponsor  to  support  her  education  was  just  the  boost  she  needed  to pursue her dreams, “I’m so glad that I had someone, who believed in me.”]


Quantify the outcome of a ticket purchase

Ticket buyers want to know what will be the impact of their ticket purchase. Rewarding them in advance with a “feeling of doing good” or “pat on the back” will encourage them to make a purchase.  The more specific you can be the easier it is for them to envisage the outcome.  Quantifying a ticket purchase can be an effective way of getting your message across.

“Join the wonderful people who helped Juliana and be rewarded in many ways.

  • 1 ticket will help us receive 5 phone calls from people in need.
  • 5 tickets will provide a reading lesson for a struggling student.
  • 10 tickets will provide a sponsor for someone like Juliana”


Obvious call to action

Your call to action should be prominent and clear.  One of the best ways is to use a “Buy a Ticket” button which is hyperlinked to your raffle page.  We have a “Buy a Ticket” icon on our website which clients can download to use or create your own.


Provide ways to share your email with others

Make clear suggestions on how they can assist to further by sharing this email with friends, family and work colleagues.

“You can show your support in a few ways:

  • By purchasing a ticket in our wonderful raffle for your own chance to win
  • And/or by sharing our raffle within your community”


“The easiest way you can help spread the word is by sharing our online

Raffle Link [insert your raffle page URL]

  1. with friends and family on Facebook and ask them for their support
  2. at your workplace via email or a chat during lunch time
  3. with sporting clubs or community groups that your family are involved with
  4. with your neighbours during a chat or a note in their letterbox”


Lastly, Say Thank you in Advance

Be gracious and thankful assuming that the person will purchase a ticket.

“We really do appreciate your help to get us across the line and reach our fundraising goal.”

A prize teaser can encourage them to visit the website to check out the prize.
“Thank you for your caring contribution and we wish you well in winning the fantastic 1st Prize.”


You can download our Charity Email Template to help you fast track your first direct email.

Request our free eBook – Running a Profitable Raffle to kick start your next fundraiser.