Kate Snyder

Kate Snyder

Are you one of the 8,381 people subscribed to our Monthly Nonprofit Writing Prompts E-Newsletter? Kate Snyder of SHIM is and wanted to share a creative idea they got after receiving our prompts earlier this year. We will send prompts for the month of July next week, so sign up now! ~Kristina

Guest Post by Kate Snyder of South Hills Interfaith Ministries

One of my favorite resources available through the Nonprofit Marketing Guide website is the writing prompts that they send out each month.  They’re always a great combination of wacky holidays, seasonal metaphors, and a round-up of news and cultural events.  If you’re struggling to produce engaging copy for your e-newsletter, the prompts can give you a needed jolt of creative energy.

Their writing prompts for January included National Trivia Day on January 4th.  Ah ha!  Light bulb!

Kate Snyder Trivia Day Email Screenshot

We built a simple, five-question quiz directly into our website (we use WordPress and there’s a great, free plugin that lets you create them) then sent out an e-blast to our supporters, inviting them to participate.

The design of the email was very simple and the tone was light and personal (which is the tone I’d suggest using as much as you can convince your boss to let you!).

The open rates for the email itself were pretty standard (30%) but the click-through rate was well above normal for us. We average somewhere around 10% and this email generated 33%. We incentivized participation by offering to give one quiz-taker a gift card (which had been donated to our organization and was lurking around the offices). In order to be eligible for the drawing, they had to complete the quiz and then use a form on the final screen to share their name and email address.

The survey itself was designed to be engaging and fun. We included ridiculous answers to some of the questions (such as listing Abraham Lincoln as one of the choices for who founded the organization) and included links in the answers that directed respondents to other pages within our website.

Kate Snyder National Trivia Day Quiz 2


The final screen was a “bonus” question designed entirely as a warm and fuzzy.  (For further thoughts on the importance of lavishing praise on your donors, I direct you to Tom Ahern’s website and materials.)


Kate Snyder National Trivia Day Quiz 3

Surveys and quizzes are both terrific opportunities to engage with your supporters. Plus, they’re really popular right now.  My Facebook feed is absolutely packed with updates from friends who were eager to find out what superhero, song lyric, or vegetable they might be.  Tap into this cultural phenomenon by offering your own fun quiz.

Remember, although you want quiz-takers to learn something about your organization by participating, the real purpose of a quiz is engagement.  You want them to feel good about interacting with your organization.  So be creative with your questions and have fun with the answers.

After achieving a degree in archaeology and spending several years traipsing around the world, Kate realized that she was not, in fact, Indiana Jones.  It turns out, she’s a fundraiser – and proud of it!  These days, Kate uses her love of language to help nonprofits connect with their supporters through grants, newsletters, direct mail, and online platforms. 

Have you had success building donor engagement with a quiz?  Tell us about it in the comments!

Published On: May 29, 2014|Categories: Email Marketing, Writing Skills and Content|