A Handy-Dandy Guide to NonProfit Email Subject Lines


(Actual screenshot from my iPhone)

Apparently somebody found out I’m trying to save the world, because I get a crazy number of emails from cool organizations like WWF and Change.org and the League of Conservation Voters, asking for a signature, or a five-spot, or whatevs.

It can make one bonkers, trying to figure out who to help, and who to (guiltily, in my case) send to the Trash.

But two emails jumped out at me – one on Wednesday, and one last week.

The one from Wednesday got me glued to a live stream of Congress for much of the next 20 hours, watching a HISTORIC move by Democrats, as they staged a sit-in on the House floor to get Republicans to bring two gun measures to a vote. “No bill, no break,” they declared. It was some of the most riveting television I’ve seen in years, as each Representative spoke eloquently and passionately through the night and morning. More on that later.

trash cansThe other email, from last week, was an update on the Single-Use Bag Bill that New York City passed last month, instating a 5-cent fee for single-use shopping bags beginning this October. I was absolutely giddy about the idea of the city giving out five million fewer plastic bags a year (I wrote about it here). Well, it turns out New York State OVERTURNED the ruling – or at least postponed it to February while “amendments” are made. ARRRGGGHHH.

The rest of the emails I got became a big blur of worthwhile but overwhelming solicitations, though. I mean, of course we want to help. But do we have to read another email to do it??

Well, yours truly is here to save you from wasting your precious time (this is Waste Management: The Blog). Herewith, a succinct Guide to Nonprofit Email Subject Lines (with pictures!) that may have appeared in your in-box recently, as they have over here. It’s possible I got a few other emails mixed in there, too. I was gonna make the whole thing into a quiz, letting you match the subject lines with my pithy descriptions, but I decided to give your brains a break. I’ll start things off easy with the one I just mentioned and move on (pun intended) from there . . .

plastic_bagSubject: Urgent Bag Bill Update (NYLCV)

The bastards in Albany killed NYC’s newly approved single-use bag fee . . . or at least delayed it until February so they can “fix” it. Sigh.

Subject: Don’t let the sun set on solar. Fight back against Koch attacks (LCV)

Those krazy brothers are defending their fossil fuel empire again.

Subject: New US Regulations for Captive Tigers (WWF)

Most captive tigers in the US are not owned by zoos, but by private citizens, who are almost impossible to regulate. You might wanna give your UPS guy a heads-up.

Mosquito Isolated on White

Subject: Flying GMOs? (Food & Water Watch)

Genetically modified mosquitoes will be released to help prevent super-viruses . . . but it could make it worse. DEET, anyone?

Subject: Add your name now to protect vulnerable ocean species (Oceana)

“Bycatch” is how sharks and sea turtles get swept up with your StarKist tuna. Let the government continue to collect fishing data. (Yup, that’s all they’re asking for.)

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 4.30.23 PMSubject: Amazon’s drone deliveries and the environment (Change.org)

Flying robots delivering your Brita filters.

Subject: URGENT: Take action for chimps tonight! (NYClass; not sure who they are)

Come to a protest at the NY Blood Center to stop their abandoning chimps in Liberia. (Somewhat confusing, amiright?)

WWF bearSubject: The Arctic needs you today (WWF)

The WWF is not okay with offshore drilling you-know-where.

Subject: 53% Off Mani-Pedi at Queen Jane Nail Salon (Groupon)

Can’t I save the planet AND have pretty hands?

Subject: Quick Signature Needed: Support Rebates for Zero Emission Vehicles! (NYLCV)

Tell Governor Cuomo to include a consumer rebate for ZEVs in the budget! (You had me at ZEVs.)

Subject: Be a part of history! Support global action on climate (LCV)

. . . by signing something that tells Obama & Kerry to sign the Paris Agreement at the U.N. on Earth Day. (Uh, oops, I got a little behind, obvs.)

ugly carrotSubject: Walmart (Change.org)

Ask a certain big-box store to sell the “imperfect” (weird-looking) fruits & veggies at a discount, rather than throwing them away. (I.e., stop produce shaming.)

Subject: Ringling Bros. Circus elephants (Change.org)

You don’t even wanna know. These clowns are retiring their elephants over the next 2 years . . . but to a place that abuses them. Ugh.


Subject: Your Order from Chai Thai Kitchen is in the Works!chinese-asian-take-out-container-500-cs1

Sometimes I need me some Seamless, what can I say. A girl’s gotta stay fueled to save the world.

Subject: COMMENT DEADLINE: Ban bee-killing pesticides! (LCV)

Neononicotinoids (say that 3 times fast) are lethal to the buzzing beings that pollinate our crops. Bayer, your friendly aspirin company, is one of the makers.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 4.29.23 PMSubject: KFC (LCV)

This fast-food “restaurant” uses chickens raised on antibiotics?? No!!

Subject: We Must Cap Aviation Emissions (WWF)

Your frequent flyer miles are really messing with the climate. Tell Sec’y Kerry to cap it.

Subject: Nestlé (Change.org)

My Butterfingers may contain cocoa processed by child slave laborers. Fuck.

Subject: [BREAKING] Senate fails to pass gun violence prevention (Gabby Gifford)

toilet paperReally, Congress? Really? After Orlando?

Subject: Debra, Cottonelle Is on Sale! (CVS)

Well, at least wiping your bum just got cheaper.


cans divider

I hope that helps.

Before I go, I thought I’d say a little more about the sit-in that the Democrats held on the floor of the House this week. (Since one could say gun violence is about wasted lives.) Warning: things’ about to get real. Anyhoo, I’d estimate that I watched a good four hours of it, give or take. It gave me a LOT of insight into who these Representatives are . . . and I was impressed by their eloquence, their passion, their values, and their personal stories. Unfortunately, the “no fly, no buy” legislature – one of the two gun-regulation measures the Dems want brought to a vote, this one preventing those on terrorist watch-lists from buying guns – taps into the discriminatory seduction of those watch-lists, largely targeting Muslims. The other measure they want brought to a vote is for expanded background checks on people buying guns online and at gun shows.

sit-inBut they’re both user-friendly ways to call out the Republicans’ hypocrisy and get a national discussion going of the conservatives’ refusal to buck the NRA and get right with reality. (As I asked my Dad in one of our “Can you believe this??” political conversations: “I don’t get it. How does the NRA have so much power?” His answer was, “They get a TON of money and put the Republican leaders into a headlock during elections.”) (Well, he might not have said “headlock.”)

GavelMaybe I should just write a whole ‘nuther post about this. One in which I quote the Representative who talked from personal experience about how rifles used to hunt ducks are only allowed to hold three rounds. Why? To protect the ducks. While we allow semi-automatic assault weapons into everyday society. And the Rep who went from a (highly articulate) soccer mom to a city councilmember to a House Representative because she was witness to gun violence. And the Rep from Orlando about when she got the text at 3 a.m. the night June 12th. And the Rep who told us that more American civilians have died from gun violence than soldiers have in all of our wars put together. Oh, and the one who mentioned that Washington D.C. has very strict gun-control laws. Must be nice for those Republican Reps to feel secure when they go to the movies.

Actually, I guess I don’t need another post. (Sheepish grin.) Now let’s have a DANCE BREAK.

By the way, I’d LOVE to hear your comments on any and all of the above. Click “comments” at the top of this post. And follow this blog by clicking (wait for it . . .) “follow this blog” (or whatever it says) below. It helps me reach others on Google.

And heck, while I’m here, you can also visit (and “like” – wheee!) Waste Management: The Page on Facebook, where you’ll get access to quickies. And by that I mean the brief tidbits I post as I try to save the world – with your help! Yay!! Let’s do it!!!!


p.s. If you want to totally geek out on racism and the environment, you can read my latest Columbia class paper here. No pics, but it does link to some hi-larious Eddie Izzard stand-up on YouTube.

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4 thoughts on “A Handy-Dandy Guide to NonProfit Email Subject Lines

  1. Pingback: We did it!! A 5-cent plastic bag fee!!! | waste management: the blog

  2. Steve Wruble

    Really awesome Deb! Great writing, reporting and sweet humor. You’re the full package! Can’t believe you watched the sit-in for almost four hours. Thnx for the view from you


  3. Pingback: SAY something, already. | waste management: the blog

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