Jan 22 | 5 minutes read

10 Intriguing Email Subject Lines To Boost Open Rates And Win Your Members’ Attention

10 examples of intriguing email subject lines to win back your members’ full attention

Admit it, you’ve got hundreds of unread emails in your inbox. Or if you don’t have those lost and lonely electronic mail correspondents piling up, how many times have you marked emails as read without giving them the time of day?

In the age of staying at home, the only way organisations have to reach out to members and potential members is online. That means people are being bombarded with communication attempts every day.

But you’re not just fighting other organisations, you’re also fighting all those businesses who are trying to make ends meet in this difficult economic environment.

The trick to success is being able to stand out from the crowd, make your voice heard, and win back your members’ full attention.


Increase Your Open Rate And Member Engagement

They say you never get a second chance to make a great first impression, and subject lines are the way you can reach through to an audience and grab their attention with a snappy, intriguing subject line.

We’ve constantly gone on about how important emails are in driving positive results for you. It’s a subject that we talk about a lot because it’s really, really important. This brings us nicely to the topic of subject lines.

Increasing your open rate, conversation rates, retaining members, building a brand, and increasing revenue can all be achieved with some intriguing email subject lines.

At the end of the day, more opens means more brand awareness and more members and that’s what we all want!

Keep Your Subject Lines Simple

According to MailChimp, who have made it their business to understand how people open emails from organisations and business, one of the best ways to win your members’ full attention is to keep it simple.

MailChimp gave the following tips:

  • Use no more than nine words or 60 characters
  • Use no more than three punctuation marks per subject line

Lots of punctuation marks in your subjects can impact open rates as email servers will often mark this as spam, while keeping it short is generally best - especially as many people open emails on mobile devices. Smaller screens = smaller real estate = less space to put words in.

If you’re sending notification emails, such as updates about things in which your members already have a vested interest, keep things short, simple, and succinct. 

Create A Sense Of Action

You’re an organisation that gets stuff done, right? And that’s why your members have signed up for your mailing list, right?

Right. Well, that means you should be creating a sense of action in your subject lines. Use verbs that inspire and create some positive momentum. Give these a try:

  • Join
  • Help
  • Save
  • Change

This one, from UK charity Help For Heroes, hit their members with the punch ‘Show veterans they are not forgotten.’ For an organisation that works with the Armed Forces, that’s pretty powerful stuff.

Send Humble Emails

Be humble. Thank people. If your members have helped to make 2020 a good year, or if they’ve helped you hit a particular milestone, complete a project or help a group, let them know about it!

People join organisations because they can achieve something greater than the individual could. So make sure you celebrate that fact when something good happens.

  • Help build relationships with your members 
  •  Keep members engaged.

Here’s a great example from Charity: Water. 

You did it!

This subject line is succinct, humble and grabs attention straight away. That’s a guaranteed way to increase open rates.

Make A Mate

What if I told you there was a way to increase open rates over a quarter? Research by Experian has suggested that personalised subject lines increase unique open rates by 29%, but they also generate 41% more unique click-through rates.

Try and put a member’s first name in the subject line - it’s been proven to help win their attention.

Try something like this:

  • ‘Russell, your support has been invaluable this year’.

Create A Sense Of Urgency

Life comes at us fast and you can use that in your subject lines. Create a sense of urgency that compels your members to act now - partly, by opening this email and giving them your full attention. One study showed that your emails are 22% more likely to be opened if the subject line creates a sense of urgency,

Here are some templates you can play around with:

  • Don’t let this month pass by
  • Help us hit our goal by tonight!
  • End this week with a positive


Linked with creating a sense of urgency is to make your members feel a sense of FOMO. Make sure they don’t want to miss out on what you’re offering, entice them to click on that email and increase your open rates.

-Time is running out! ___ days left to donate

-Don’t miss out! Book your place now



Questions can work well. Tap into your members’ inquisitive nature and just force them to open that email with these examples:

Can you help us?

Will you help [organisation name]?

[Name], can you donate today?

Appeal To A Generous Side

Charities, NGOs and organisations can always do with a little charity from time to time. Your members know and understand that, as well, so don’t be shy about reaching out for donations from time to time.

Wikipedia are really good at this; they’re forever pulling on your heartstrings.

Hit up your members with subject lines such as :

  •    Change lives, give today
  •    [Name], you can be a hero today
  •    Time is running out to donate

Localise Your Email

This builds a little bit on the idea that emails should be personalised. If you can build different emails based on where your members are, and the events that are happening in their location, then you can create a more engaged membership.

Avoid Spam Triggers

Okay, so maybe this isn’t an intriguing subject line but it’s intriguing in the sense that it’s always interesting and valuable to have a good idea of how spam filters work. 

Ensuring your emails drop into the inbox and not spam is a really important way to reach your members and make sure they stay engaged with you.


  • Common spam triggers like free, opportunity or earn
  • Long subject lines
  • Excessive punctuation
  • Lots of capital letters


Find out how APSIS One can help you do more to help you boost your email open rates!