How many emails do I send? How should I send them? How do I segment my recipient lists? For that matter, what does segmenting even mean?? If any of these are questions you've pondered when preparing for your year-end giving campaign, you're not alone! These are the email centric questions I hear most often. So, I did a live Q&A session to answer these questions and any other questions the audience might have about those all-important year-end giving emails!

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Hosted By
Monica Maye Pitts
Monica Maye Pitts Chief Creative Officer

Year-End Giving Email Q & A

I asked my husband what to ask about Email marketing and he asked what that even was so he was no help…but he has been rocking some great dad jokes. Which I pretend to ignore so my kids can ask me personally…

  • What are two witches living together called? Broommates.
  • How do you fix a broken jack-o’-lantern? With a pumpkin patch!
  • What do ghosts eat for dessert? Ice scream.

Since Mike, my Husband didn’t have much to offer in the way of planning help… I thought back to our training we did with Kat from GivingTuesday and the questions we were asked most often. We had a lot of people concerned with:

  • How many emails to send?
  • How to send them.
  • How to segment their lists – what that meant and how to do it.

First though I want to thank my CoMoGives participants who gambled and took my crazy advice last year…you know we brought in $152,027 from emails that I could track last year (tracking emails donations can be a bit tricky with so many people using webmail). 

  • 5.82% of our total website visitors came from email
  • That was 3,391 visitors  (THAT’s 136% MORE!!!)
  • And we brought in 9.4% of our donations from email visitors (up 2% from last year)

AND I have to thank our email donors too because last year the average email donation was 343.95 – that’s 70.73 MORE than last year.

How many emails to send?

  • Alot 🙂
  • Send a save the date email now.
  • Send an email the day before GT
  • Then focus most of your communication around 3 days:
    Giving Tuesday, Dec. 30 & 31

    MayeCreate markets for our local year-end giving campaign CoMoGives, powered by the Community Foundation of Central Missouri and every year for past 8 years our community’s nonprofit have raised:
    • GivingTuesday
      10-20% of our total donations on GivingTuesday
    • December 30th
      8-9% on December 30th
    • New Year’s Eve
      And around 16% on New Year’s Eve

  • For a complete lineup of emails you can download the Free Giving Tuesday email Templates and for a full line up of Templates we have those available as part of our Year-End Giving Training package.
  • Don’t freak out about sending a lot of emails. IT’S OK.
    • Story about talking to the exec last year on GT
    • People have their email set up differently – your messages may be in their promotions or updates folders. 
  • Focus your messaging on Gratitude (my example from CoMoGives)

How to send them.

You can certainly send them from your normal email…but that’s not a great idea – you can’t tell if they’re working. And if you want to get better next year you need to know if they worked…sooo Send them from a software. I reviewed 3 as part of year end giving training.

Before you even look at a system, look at what you already have (that’s one of my favorite campaign rules…join me for the 4 tips webinar and I’ll tell you ALLL about them)

If you have a donor management system and it does email USE IT…if not… Most people start with MailChimp – realize you can’t schedule emails with their free package…I use MailerLite; it’s easy to use and inexpensive as well.

  • MailChimp – Free for up to 2,000 subscribers, plans start at $10/mo for 500 subscribers
  • MailerLite – Free for up to 1,000 subscribers for 12,000 emails plans start at $10 per month
  • SendInBlue – Free for unlimited subscribers to send 300 emails per day plans start at $25 a month

Send them from the person they communicate via email with most often from your org.

How to segment their lists – what that meant and how to do it.

You have more than one audience you’re communicating with all the time. Donors, Event Attendees, Volunteers, Board Members, the people you serve. You may want to email all of these people for YEG. And all those messages are probably not the same.

Think of segmenting like creating a special wish list for each of your audiences. So first you have to have your list separated into relationship types. Then ask yourself how could this person be involved?  What could they do to help?

  • Do a Peer-to-Peer
  • Offer matching funds
  • Make a donation
  • Share a post on social media
  • Make a thank you card
  • Purchase on Amazon Smile
  • Ask them to do the thing they CAN do.

Don’t forget – everyone has something to offer.  Even if you’re serving people who are financially challenged – the use Facebook.  They can write a thank you. They buy cleaning supplies.  They might order things from Amazon.

You’ll use email to plant the seed for Peer-to-Peers or Matching funds and then follow up personally.

Start with each audience and consider how you want to communicate with each and then go from there.

If you don’t want to email people who have already donated, export your donor list and upload them to your system in a group for 2021 YEG donations and exclude them from your recipients list for future emails…

(I need to do a whole episode on segmenting – I’m just scratching the surface here…)

Ok, so before I Alice-In-Wonderland myself too far down that rabbit hole, hopefully that gives you a big picture of how segmenting can be used in your YEG emails.


Ok so we covered:

  • How many emails to send
  • How to send them
  • How to segment their lists – what that meant and how to do it

Any questions? 🤣

Just drop me a post on the Nonprofit Marketing with Purpose Facebook page!  I’ll get you answers!


Links Mentioned


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