Long Emails vs Short Emails

Many emails.

Here’s a bit of fundraising wisdom found in an unexpected place.

It’s from a musician named Gabe Anderson who is writing about emails that musicians send to their fans. But what he’s saying absolutely applies to a nonprofit’s email strategy:

Shorter emails, sent consistently, sustain connection much better than one long one every few months.

Packing an email with links and offers and stories and updates and discount codes is too much… all under the idea ‘we’ll make up for our lack of consistent communication by sending out an email that includes everything because it’s really important that they know everything.’

The solution is to send more emails… to people who look forward to getting emails from you… and then don’t overwhelm them with long paragraphs and links.

You don’t usually enjoy getting long emails either.

The lesson, as always: never go dark. It’s a generous act to show up regularly in your donors’ lives!

h/t to Josh Alcorn for the idea for this post.


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

2 comments on “Long Emails vs Short Emails

  1. In theory, I love this. Is it true though? Has anyone actually tested this.

    There are several organizations that have tested this theory with letters and found the opposite to be true: longer letters receive a better response.

    1. Hi Tim! I can’t say we’ve done an A/B split test on this, but we have helped numerous organizations move away from ‘occasional long e-newsletters’ to ‘more frequent, shorter comms’ that also include more Asks. All of those organizations would never go back to the way they were doing things before. They now raise more money from their email file and acquire more new donors from it.

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