User Focused Email Campaign

All too often non-profits focus on their needs, the solutions that they are positioned to solve.  Today, I’d like to highlight a great case of user focused design and copy in email deployment.  The subject line is simple, between three and five words and instantly grabs the attention of the reader:

Because of you

The opening line of the email continues the thought of the subject line and the theme of the message - simplicity and user focus.

The lives of 6.3 million people around the world have changed.

6.3 Million sounds significant.  It’s a large number, less than the population of NYC and more than Los Angeles.   But taken as a percentage of the total population the number totals less than 1%.  The charity does not focus on its reach.  The central outcome is the people helped thus far.  And notice, the charity has not yet talked about its impact, the focus has been on the end users, the recipients of the email, those individuals who have donated to the cause and the lives they have changed through their donation.

The picture depicts an adult and two children.  We presume it’s a family living their day-to-day life, a feat made possible by the user’s contribution, the user’s action, not the charity’s.

The next line shows appreciation. 

Thank you for being a part of our story.

The acknowledgement is for more than just a contribution – the thanks is offered to the end user for being part of the story – a concept larger than ourselves.  This line both recognizes past contributions and offers an opportunity to continue to be part of a greater good. 

Almost as an afterthought, the charity subtly includes itself in the activities made possible by the donations. 

As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, we're looking back on all the incredible things supporters like you have helped us accomplish over the past decade, and we want to say thank you.

The email could have started with the fact that it’s the charities tenth anniversary.  Instead, the focus started with the users, those individuals who donated to the cause, who made possible every outcome, every person, impacted by this organization. 

The next statement ties the user’s action to the organization’s value proposition:

Your support to charity: water has helped bring clean and safe water to more than 6.3 million people. 

It’s all about the end user.  It’s their support that has enabled the charity to bring clean and safe water to more than 6.3 million people.  This statement re-iterates the value proposition of the organization and restates how important the end users are to making the organization’s mission possible.

Finally, we arrive at the ask.

This Monday, we're celebrating by launching the biggest film in charity: water history.

This isn’t a traditional request for funding.  This is a celebratory announcement.  Notice there is no clear call to action.  It’s about celebration, increasing awareness, bringing together community. 

The invitation sounds intimate.

Our founder, Scott, wanted to tell you about it personally.

The video is casual, friendly.  The founder’s smile is wide, the language simple and time commitment – 34 seconds, doable.  The founder reiterates the message.  His excitement and engagement with the camera creates the effect of a personal exchange, exactly as promised. 

The conclusion, acknowledge the past and look to the future.

On behalf of everyone at charity: water, thank you for being a part of our story. We can't wait to see what we can do together.

As content grows, and time remains static, it’s more important than ever to craft a message that caters to your user base.  A trap, I all too often see, is organizations talking about what they do, product messaging focusing on how the product performs a function, rather than focusing on the user, the customer.  In this example, the organization does an exemplary job of reaching their end user: the individuals who donate.   The focus is on them, how they have made an impact, not how the charity has made an impact.