June 2021 – COMPETE Shares Fundraising Best Practices + Reeds Awards Wins

The start of June marks the midway point in this vital off-year before the 2022 elections. Mid-Year Deadlines are a strong source of fundraising in both on and off years. Like most End of Quarters, June marks a crucial filing deadline for most campaigns. Jamison Doran and Marcella Violano have experienced their fair share of Mid-Year Deadlines while working at the DCCC, where they raised $112 million in the 2020 cycle through digital fundraising. They’re here to share 3 techniques they’ve used to elevate their fundraising emails to raise record-breaking sums online.

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When you think of personalization, the first thing that comes to mind is “FIRSTNAME.” Using a donor’s first name is an easy way to stylize an email to its recipient. It’s a way for the person receiving the email to think it’s written directly to them. But simple personalization techniques, like adding a first name, are just the beginning to how you can craft an email unique to its recipient.

Personalization can be used to enhance fundraising goals in emails. You can use zip codes, state names, or even town/city names to hone in your goals to a specific area that is relevant to the donor. Instead of simply saying “We need 400 gifts before midnight,” you can target it more, asking for “50 gifts from STATE” or “7 gifts from ZIPCODE.” Using personalization for goals decreases the goal amount in a way that the recipient feels like their help could really make a difference.

This tool can also be used to tailor asks to a specific donor. Instead of just asking for $15, you can use personalization to ask for the donors’ highest previous donation, first contribution amount, most recent donation amount, and more. By customizing the physical donation ask to a donor, you are giving them a familiar number that they have done before, making it more likely that they will feel good donating that same amount again.

A final way to use personalization is in subject lines. The subject line is one of the first things someone on your list sees when your email hits their inbox. Creating eye-catching subject lines is a sure way to get your donors to open your message. Adding in that person’s name or location makes it seem like the email is addressed specifically to them, and they will have more curiosity in what your email is about.


Testing is your #1 fan when it comes to creating messages that are appealing to your email list. You can test subject lines, email copy, donation buttons, senders, and so much more. Testing your messages increases the chance that you will be sending out an email that will not only be opened, but converted on. Half the battle when creating a successful email is crafting a winning combination of sender, subject line, and email copy. If there is something you are not sure your list will respond to: TEST IT.


Your list is the largest bit of data you can have in your email fundraising program. After all, these are the people who are actually engaging, or not engaging, with your content. Every time you send an email, you should see if your list is responding to it positively or negatively. If you send two emails in a row around climate change, and your list has low engagement for both, then your list is telling you to switch it up! If emailing on Republican fundraisers is creating crazy engagement, then your list wants to see more! Consistently emailing your list with low engagement content will hurt your deliverability in the long run, so make sure to take stock of what your list is feeling and make smart decisions based on that.

COMPETE 2020 work was celebrated by the C&E Reed Awards after our successful inaugural cycle.

We are thrilled to be celebrated for our team’s incredible work this past cycle. Together, we brought home 3 awards! Check out our wins below:

Susan Collins Meme

WINNER: Best Campaign Meme (Democratic)

Susan Collins – Nailed It.

WINNER: Best Online Advertising on a Shoestring Budget (Democratic)

Jorge Cabrera – Full Set

WINNER: Best Use of Voice-Over Talent in an Online Video (Democratic)

Cabrera Delivers

We’re truly proud of our team for all the hard work they put in day in and day out and can’t wait to see what awesome ideas they cook up for our clients this upcoming cycle.

Wishing you all the best of luck during End of Quarter!

The COMPETE team

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