7 things about email subject lines that will help you save the world

Thumbnail image -- 7 things about email subject lines that will help you save the world

Firstly, email subject lines are actually headlines.

The great advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, “On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read body copy. So, when you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Jeff Brooks, Creative Director at TrueSense Marketing and author of the blog Future Fundraising Now puts it this way: “Crusty, old-school, no-nonsense advertising copywriters spend more time on the ten to twenty words of a headline than they do on the several hundred words of body copy. They understand how important headlines are.”
He’s right! And so was David Ogilvy. Think about this the next time you write an email to your supporters because your subject line is actually your headline. If you aren’t getting responses, 80% of the reason could be your lack of effort in crafting subject lines that attract interest.

Here are some things I’ve learned that work well in email subject lines. Doing these things will allow you to gain more interest from your prospects:

  1. Keep them short and sweet.
  2. Edit them, edit them some more, then edit them again.
  3. Try using the recipient’s name in the subject line.
  4. If you don’t get a response, re-use the exact same subject line in your next email but add “Fwd:” to it.
  5. Use the word “you.”
  6. Don’t be afraid to use urgency words like “important,” “hurry,” or “today.”
  7. Ask a question.


Need some ideas for other donor outreach channels? Click here to see our definitive list of engagement fundraising channels.


Related Posts:

>> How to Write Email Subject Lines that Make People Stop, Click, and Read
>> The Best Nonprofit Email Subject Lines of 2015

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