- Define Your Audience. You could buy an enormous list of cold prospects or focus on a carefully built list of people who care. You'll do much better with the latter group, who has given you permission to communicate with them. They will be far less likely to consider you spam.
- Define Your Message. Do you have the right message and right time for that message? Focus your message on your audience's interests, aspirations and desires rather than your own need for money. It will work better.
- Get to the point in spectacular fashion, in the first few words. The subject line of your email needs to seize the audience's attention. Don't ever bury the lead. (A good trick that usually works - throw out your first paragraph.)
- Offer something of value to the reader-helpful tips, for example. Those are likely to be saved, not trashed. People will think of you in a favorable way.
- Segment and personalize. The more the missive speaks to the receiver as an individual, the more likely they will perceive it as something other than spammy slop.
- Be different. People are drowning in email. Whether it's the tone of your message or the startling honesty of your subject line, a standout element is required.
- Make the call to action so incredibly easy to do, people just can't say no. Strive for a one-click or one-second level of ease.
- Make it easy for people to unsubscribe or get off your mailing list. Include an unsubscribe button, and an easy way for people to contact you to update their information.
Source: Network for Good's Free Weekly Fundraising Tips