Summer is a unique time when email marketing is key to driving donations for your fundraising campaigns. There is a lot of underutilized energy and enthusiasm floating around during the summer months, and with the right marketing tools, you can grab onto it and harness it for your program. On The Stage explores a few ways to drive summer donations. 

How to Drive Summer Donations Via Email

Create Catchy Email Subject Lines

Did you know most people receive more than 120 emails every weekday? That being said, you only have a moment to grab people’s attention – so make it count. The best way to do this via email is through eye-catching subject lines that will make your patrons want to open the message. Ideas include:

  • Create subjects that allude to certain unique fundraising ideas, whether you’re hosting a pool party fundraiser (make a splash for a good cause) or organizing a bake sale (sweet treats await you.) 
  • Keeping them short and sweet. If the email subject is too long, it will get cut off … and so will people’s interest. 
  • Avoiding spam traps. Don’t use clickbait terms, weird spacing, lots of emojis/exclamation points, or other characters in excess. In short, keep it classy!
  • Writing conversationally. Your email subject line could be a question or a friendly statement. In this instance, your patron is more likely to assume it’s a personalized message and open it. Hook ‘em! 

Make It Direct, Urgent, and Concise

Remember what we said about only having a moment to grab someone’s attention? It’s true – and it seems people’s attention spans are getting shorter by the day. So, in your marketing emails, ensure you’re making things:

  • Direct: Why no, we’re not urging you to write “Give us money!” as your opening line, but you should be clear from the jump about the purpose of your message. 
  • Urgent: Remember – giving now is better than giving later. Make sure your language reflects that idea. The last thing you want is for an inspired donor to put off making a donation. Use words like “now” and “today,” and then examples of how a donation to your fundraising campaign will help in the immediate future. 
  • Concise: You don’t need to beat around the bush or create a long sob story as to why your theatre needs money. Patrons are smart and will appreciate that you’re respecting their time.

Lead with Gratitude

Whether you’re sending a message to a veteran donor or someone who’s only visited your theater once, leading with thanks makes a world of difference.

In your messaging, make sure to thank your patrons for taking the time to:

  • Read your messaging right here, right now 
  • Buy tickets to your show and/or other programming 
  • Support your theatre on social media and the community at large 

Remember, no one wants to feel that they’re being taken for granted. A quick thank you can turn things around! 

Make it Personal

Unless you’re sitting down at the table and creating handwritten notes for each patron, it can be hard to make things feel “personal” via email. You may be tempted to slip into blanket statements and generalities, but your donors are all individuals and should be treated as such. 

To personalize your messages, consider segmenting your email lists into one of the following:

  • Activity/LoyaltyA donor who has given to your organization repeatedly should receive different messaging than someone who just started patronizing your theatre. 
  • Age groups: Younger people will be more likely to share your fundraising campaign on social media as opposed to donating monetarily, so consider changing your verbiage if you’re appealing to different ages.

If you have the time and resources, you can also tack on a personalized note to the top of specific donors’ email marketing pieces to appear even more tailor-made. 

Utilize Compelling Imagery 

Yes, we know, a picture is worth a thousand words. So why not use imagery to draw in your email marketing contacts? In short, to create a truly powerful donation appeal, combine it with a compelling photo.

Make sure your photo is:

  • Personal: Use imagery from your actual theatre, showcases or cast. No stock photos here!
  • Positive: When it comes to donating, there is a strong connection between generosity and positive emotion. Pick an image with smiles. 
  • People: Your auditorium or stage may be beautiful, but people connect with people! Your fundraising campaign is, after all, to benefit your theatre program and the people that it serves. Show off those smiles! 

Market Your Summer Programming

Donors will be more willing to open their checkbooks for your fundraiser if they know how their money will be positively affecting your theatre. In that case, market your summer programming offerings within these donor emails. 

Summer programming ideas include: 

  • Camps and workshops
  • Summer stock shows or general outdoor performances 
  • Ice cream socials
  • Pool parties
  • Outdoor movie nights or concerts 
  • Competitions

Make it Easy to Donate

No one wants to jump through hoops to donate to a cause, so make sure your donation links are front and center in your email marketing. Make sure you have:

  • A link anchored in the body of the email leads recipients to the donation form on your website.
  • A “Donate Now” button is placed somewhere highly visible within the body of the email that links directly to your fundraising campaign.
  • A link to the “Ways to Give” page on your website that can showcase specific wish lists or alternative donation methods.

Remember, the more ways you have for donors to give, the better off you’ll be! 

Need some help?

Make the most of your summer as a theatre professional by staying organized and ahead of the game. Whether you’re in need of assistance with summer camps and classes, organizing a fundraiser, or anything else behind-the-scenes, On The Stage is here to support you every step of the way.

Don’t miss out on your best season yet! Schedule a personalized demo with our team today and get started on streamlining your processes.

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