Fundraising Email: CLCV sustainer recovery

Below is an email I devised during the period immediately after CLCV ended its in-house phone fundraising program in 2015.

This email (shown below with sample data) served multiple purposes. It allowed members to renew their installment gifts on a recurring basis without end dates, regardless of whether they had originated on the phone or online. [That was a fairly revolutionary bit of streamlining, given prior organizational practice to treat those groups separately.]

I designed it to look as much like a routine administrative email as possible, which kept unsubscribes far lower than traditional fundraising pitches and resulted in an unusually high success rate. I also used the “conditional content” personalization feature available in Luminate Online, our eCRM system, to use the data that membership staff had collected if it existed in the system (for example, nicknames), but to degrade gracefully and use alternative data (first names) if the first choice data did not exist. The email was designed either to automatically deliver on a monthly basis or to be sent by an administrative staffer.

The email & donation page templates were subsequently re-used in a membership renewal email program, which was also successful. Those two email programs raised more than $76,000 — with a 4.5% to 5% donation rate over just 25,000 individual email messages — between November 23, 2015 and July 28, 2016. And they resulted in exactly 80 unsubscribes. [Note: since this email was written, CLCV changed online donation systems and thus links no longer work.]

TO: H. Middle Sample
FROM: Sarah Lyons <>
SUBJECT: [CLCV] Nickname: your card information is out of date

NAME: H. Middle Sample | MEMBER ID: 654321 | CARD STATUS: Out of date, please update now

Failed payment: Your attention is needed, H..

Dear Nickname,

Thank you for your contribution of $5.00 Quarterly to the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV).

The Visa that you used on Sep 28, 2015 is no longer valid. You may update your credit card information on our secure form or call me at 1-800-755-3224, extension 370 with your new card number and expiration date.

Your Name: H. Middle Sample
Original gift date: Sep 28, 2015
Payment amount: $5.00
Donation frequency: Quarterly
Credit card type: Visa
Payment failed: Sep 28, 2015
Your member number: 654321

Please update your information here.

We are grateful for your contribution — it allows us to help environmental candidates get elected and hold all lawmakers accountable for their environmental performance.

Thanks again!

Sarah Lyons
Membership Services
California League of Conservation Voters

P.S. Because your donation is used for grassroots political advocacy and electoral activity, it is not deductible for federal income tax purposes. About CLCV. Change your email preferences.