Five Irresistible Creative Tactics, Inspired by E-Commerce

Alyssa Ackerman

Associate Vice President, Digital

When building creative campaigns for our nonprofit partners, our strategists are always on the lookout for the direct marketing approaches that make content irresistible, compelling supporters to click and take action, yes – but also building a sense of long-term loyalty to our partners’ urgent and world-changing causes.

And we know that the world of e-commerce is a fascinating place to look to for inspiration, because the brands that we love often win our favor through some very clever creative choices to catch and retain our attention. In fact, our MissionWired employee Slack instance even has a channel named #inspired-by for sharing the exciting content, encountered out in the world, that might help power the next record-breaking fundraising campaign for one of our partners.

So we’re excited to share five creative tactics that we’re seeing in our own inboxes lately, how they’re catching the eyes of their customers, and how nonprofits can take inspiration from them for their own campaigns:

1. Don’t Lose Your Chance! 

Flash sales and limited-time offers provide built-in urgency.

When it comes to shopping online and placing orders through apps, sometimes we’re just helpless in the face of a good deal – that’s why the urgency of a flash sale compels us to click, and a limited-time offer catches our attention, time and again.

We love the way this tactic, commonly used in commercial ads, translates to nonprofit fundraising. Our expert strategists often recommend creating your own moment within your organization, and breaking campaigns down into smaller deadlines to drive that same sense of urgency with supporters for your cause.

2. Something Caught Your Eye?

Abandoned cart messages can clinch a missed conversion.

That purchase we were considering, but didn’t have time to make a final call on? We’re far more likely to go through with it if it pops back up in our inbox, gently nudging us back to the checkout page.

Abandoned cart messages offer one final and highly-effective touch with a prospective customer who’s shown direct interest in a product. We’ve seen our nonprofit partners utilize this tactic to strong results: When a donor leaves their site without finalizing a gift, a reminder email reminds them to complete their gift, with very specific language around the impact of their donation. Small moments of precision like this can make a big difference in a supporter’s overall experience.

3. It’s That Time of Year….

Seasonal messages and graphics keep a campaign fresh.

We’ve shared before how eye-catching graphics can work wonders to build a scroll-stopping appeal that drives engagement and donations – this is all the more powerful when those graphics are timely and seasonal. We’re inspired by bright, bold graphics that connect a subscriber both to a brand and this moment, now, to drive more clicks and brand awareness.

Keeping your content seasonal can also help lend urgency to your program’s messaging, giving supporters a sense that right now is a great time to support a mission they care about. We love working with our partners to find opportunities to build creative campaigns around exciting moments throughout the calendar year.

4. Your Usual Order?

Personalized records make repeating orders a breeze.

We’re seeing more and more e-commerce brands build personalized content around our past orders, including customer records in their emails – and for good reason. Not only does a reminder about your past purchases make ordering them again a breeze, it also reminds you of your loyalty and affinity for a certain brand, building a longer-lasting relationship.

We’ve seen the tactic of including supporter records be highly effective in fundraising, first in the political space, and soon after driving strong results for nonprofits during their end-of-year campaigns. Supporter records are a succinct and visually appealing way to create a sense of one-to-one connection with your audience.

5. We’re Your Go-To Experts On This.

Sharing your expertise with a tone of authority can build trust. 

One thing that’s at the very core of our sense of brand loyalty? A sense of trust in the sources we turn to. We’re inspired by brands and organizations that assert themselves as an authority with a confident tone, and share concrete details about what sort of resource, precisely, they can provide for you.

We often talk about this sort of trust building when it comes to sharing back updates and impact during moments of rapid response, where your organization might be the first ones on the scene in the aftermath of an emergency. By presenting yourself as an authority, you’re building a trust with your supporters that will have a lasting impact.

We love talking about what inspires our creative team to build record-breaking fundraising campaigns! For more tactics we’ve translated from retailers into the nonprofit fundraising space, check out The Four Most Successful Email Strategies We’ve Borrowed from E-Commerce. To hear how our creative team approaches balancing their artistic approach with data and results, read When Inspiration Meets Insights: A Q&A with MissionWired Creative Leads.

Next insight

Economic Impacts on Nonprofit Giving: Industry Insights from MissionWired’s Nonprofit Advisory Board

Community engagement, Creative and brand strategy, Data science and analytics, Digital strategy, Fundraising