"Donors of principle," fundraising guru Roger Craver once wrote, can be motivated to contribute "as though the quality of their very lives depended on the gifts." He was speaking of direct mail at the time, but an email appeal sent on April 28th by EMILY's List (housed in our Email Campaign Archive, Archive code #e-608-177671-1004H - see in Media Player at right) illustrates all of the ingredients Craver cites as essential for success.
Donors to EMILY's List, a political action committee (PAC) that supports pro-choice Democratic Party women candidates, are probably not very fond of conservative-leaning organizations. They're likely to open an email with the subject line "Tea Party targets," alert to what Craver calls a group's "Sense of Mission."
Says letter writer Sen. Barbara Mikulski, "the right wing is attacking our women, even telling supporters to send one of our congresswomen ... 'back to the kitchen.'" She also writes that incumbent Democratic women who voted for health care reform are under "all-out assaults." To create a "Sense of Selectivity," the donor is included by Mikulski in the "we" vs. "them" battle: "they tried to chase me out of the race"; "we've come a long way since then." She is also recognized for her past support: "Thanks to you ... I'm no longer the lone Democratic woman in the Senate."
Another compelling element of the effort is the "Sense of Urgent Need." Admitting that "the midterm elections are going to be tough," the donor is asked (in underlined bold text) to make a gift by April 30the because it "will be matched 2-to-1, tripling your impact!." That immediacy, the ability to instantly respond with a donation, is email's biggest advantages over direct mail. The donor also feels an assuring "Sense of Continuity and Effectiveness": "EMILY's List stood by me in 1986, and they're going to be there this year ... We've made great progress, but we need to keep working"."