My name is Johnny Chatterton and I’m one of the co-founders of Bootcamp. Before Bootcamp I sent millions of emails to hundreds of thousands of people when I was a campaigner at 38 Degrees, SumOfUs and Change.org.
This resource will give you some of the quick tips I learnt along the way, and help you run more effective campaigns by using email really well.
Why email matters
Email lets you quickly update lots of your supporters in one go, and ask them to get involved with each step if your campaign.
An email list can make a big difference to your campaign with:
1. Online fundraising. For example Bernie Sanders raised $218 million online during the 2016 election campaign and the Jo Cox Foundation raised over £1.9m on GoFundMe following her murder.
2. Getting petition signatures. Online petitions – like Change.org petitions – can change laws and company policies. Normally they start with an email to a list of friends and supporters to get their first signers!
How to write great emails that get your campaign the most support
How you write an email can make a big difference to how much help your supporters give you. It can be the difference between someone turning up at an event or deciding to stay at home!
There are three parts of great emails:
- Set up
Before you start writing it’s a great idea to write out these four parts of an email:
Describe the problem
Supporters are more likely to take action when they understand who is affected, so talk about the people who are affected.
Explain why it matters to you
Supporters are more likely to sign and support your petition if it’s clear why you personally care.
Describe your plan to fix the problem, if you’ve got one
Explain what needs to happen and who can make the change. Make it clear what happens if you win or lose.
Ask supporters to help solve the problem by doing one concrete thing!
Decide whether donating, signing a petition, or contacting a politician is the most helpful thing supporters can do. Describe why you chose that specific thing.
Once you’re happy with each of these — write your email by combining them in this order and you’ve got an email!
Now it’s time to edit your email to make it as powerful as possible:
Make it short
Supporters often spend less than ten seconds reading emails, and long text-heavy paragraphs can scare people from even starting to read!
Make it specific
Vague descriptions of problems — e.g. ‘my local council is bad’ — are harder for supporters to relate to. Specific descriptions make it clear — e.g. ‘my local council is bad because it’s cutting the childcare services that I use regularly’.
Make it emotional
Supporters decide to help as much with their heart as they do with their head, so write how the situation makes you feel, not just the facts of what is happening.
Last step: there’s a couple of quick tips that can make it really easy for your supporters to help you:
Add a clear link to a page where supporters can immediately support you (e.g. a gofundme page, a change.org petition). The best place for this is immediately below the sentence where you ask supporters to do one concrete thing.
Use bolding to highlight a few key lines in your email to make it faster for supporters to read your email.
Find an image you can include in the email. Good ideas include: an image of the problem, an image of your supporters from an event, or an image of the person who you’re asking to fix the problem.
These are the basics to writing great emails!
We’ve also got a guide with some important tips and advice on managing an email programme, from finding email sending tools to keeping your email list ‘healthy’!