The Nonprofit’s Guide to Email Marketing

For those who work at a nonprofit group (NPO), then you definitely’re already fairly acquainted with the distinctive set of challenges nonprofits face on the subject of constructing an efficient and sustainable advertising and marketing technique. 

With scarce assets, comparatively restricted staffing, and management consideration unfold skinny throughout quite a few areas, investing in cohesive advertising and marketing efforts can typically take a backseat to extra urgent issues.

However having a advertising and marketing technique is totally essential to bringing in new donors and guaranteeing your group will get acknowledged by the appropriate individuals. And the best (and accessible) advertising and marketing tactic NPOs can put their effort in direction of is e mail advertising and marketing.

Electronic mail advertising and marketing is much from useless — and that is very true on the planet of NPO advertising and marketing, the place customized messaging and relationship constructing are keys to success. Plus, constructing an e mail technique is often cheaper and time consuming than different methods.

On this publish, you will learn how your nonprofit can keep linked with donors and usher in excited new prospects by means of e mail advertising and marketing.

→ Download Now: The Beginner's Guide to Email Marketing [Free Ebook]

Why does e mail work for nonprofits?

Research present that e mail continues to supply the best return on funding of any outreach technique, making it nearly as near a certain guess as you may get. McKinsey reports that an e mail advertising and marketing marketing campaign can ship a return of $40 for each $1 spent. This makes e mail the channel with the best ROI that nonprofits can use to achieve potential donors.

Moreover, since 91% of all US consumers still use e-mail daily, e mail can allow NPOs to achieve audiences that may not in any other case have interaction with their advertising and marketing efforts on social media networks. 

Electronic mail Advertising Greatest Practices for Nonprofits

Decide to Common Sends

Nonprofits are sometimes stretched for assets, and it is simple to set advertising and marketing apart for issues that appear extra urgent. Nonetheless, common e mail advertising and marketing is likely one of the only methods to develop your group. A content material schedule on your emails can maintain you on prime of them so you’ll be able to steadily develop your donor base.

Making e mail sends an “at all times on” a part of your advertising and marketing technique will play a giant position in your success on the channel. “All the time on” doesn’t suggest that you simply’re bombarding your e mail listing with fixed messages — it implies that you are dedicated to consistency in how typically you ship your emails.

Sending informative emails on a predictable schedule (as an alternative of solely whenever you’re actively operating a marketing campaign or in search of donations) will assist nurture your viewers in direction of deeper types of engagement (like donating or attending an occasion) sooner or later. Keep in mind: the objective is constructing long-term relationships. 

Setting the appropriate cadence on your emails is necessary to maintain the members of your listing engaged along with your group. Whenever you’re first beginning out, this requires a cautious balancing act, as you do not wish to ship too few emails however you additionally do not wish to veer into potential spam territory. Extra on that within the subsequent part.

Be Cautious of Spam Folders

If common e mail sends are a brand new a part of your technique, and your viewers is barely used to listening to from you on a less-frequent, one-off foundation, beginning to ship extra emails on a extra frequent foundation might set off some customers’ e mail shoppers to ship you to the spam folder. 

Electronic mail deliverability is usually a advanced topic, however listed below are just a few necessary issues to recollect if e mail is turning into a extra common advertising and marketing outreach device on your NPO:

  • Do not instantly embed types or embody attachments in your emails (linking out to net pages with types is a greater apply).
  • Ship your emails from a recognizable handle — in the event you can, keep away from sending from a handle. Use a reputation your readers will acknowledge.
  • Lead with informative topic strains as an alternative of direct requires donations (you’ll be able to try our weblog publish on choosing nice e mail topic strains right here).
  • For those who’re beginning a brand new e mail mission and are sending emails to a listing that is not used to such frequent sends — allow them to know what is going on on! Inform your readers that you simply plan to begin sending extra informative emails, and most significantly, give them the chance to decide out. It may appear counterintuitive within the quick time period, however cleansing disengaged people off your e mail listing is necessary to the long-term well being of your e mail program. 
  • For extra tips about bettering your e mail deliverability, try our weblog publish on the topic right here. 

Leverage Private Connections with Your Viewers

Your nonprofit’s trigger is (hopefully) private to everybody in your e mail listing. Personalizing your emails is one technically easy — however doubtlessly tremendous highly effective — step that you would be able to take to make the most of that non-public connection to draw donations and deepen engagement along with your group. 

First, be sure to’re utilizing an e mail device that permits personalization. It is likely to be an funding upfront, however gaining access to personalization options will drastically enhance the worth your viewers will get out of your e mail sends. 

Apprehensive about coming off as creepy or undecided the place to begin? Rachel Leist, the Senior Director of Automation at HubSpot, advises people new to e mail advertising and marketing personalization to deal with personalizing emails based mostly on actions your e mail recipients have taken in your web site, as an alternative of any private knowledge you could have collected about them in your contact administration system.

Leist explains, “A very good rule of thumb is to personalize round actions somebody took on their web site. Personalize round issues like pages that had been visited, matter of latest conversion, and naturally identify and firm. If an individual receives an e mail that refers to an motion they took in your web site, they won’t be as nervous as they might in the event you had been personalizing round particular private data you occur to have on them.”

Section Your Database

A segmented e mail listing may help you make sure that the appropriate individual receives the appropriate e mail on the proper time. Whereas everybody in your e mail listing believes in your group, you needn’t ship each e mail to them. Every individual in your database is at a special stage on their journey along with your group, and the emails they obtain ought to replicate that.

For instance, somebody who has donated $5 to your group within the final yr might be not as engaged as somebody who has donated $1000 to your group within the final month.

Elements like donation quantity, occasions attended, and actions taken in your web site or social media channels can all be necessary indicators of engagement stage, and should not be ignored whenever you’re sending out emails.

Extra engaged viewers members will seemingly reply extra positively to extra frequent emails, whereas people with fewer contact factors ought to acquired fewer emails giving them extra primary details about your NPO. 

Check, Analyze, and Adapt Accordingly

Lastly, operating an e mail program just isn’t a “one and accomplished” advertising and marketing technique. You possibly can’t simply set it up and maintain doing the identical factor. It requires you to be aware of key efficiency indicators and make adjustments to your method periodically based mostly on these components. 

Whereas industry benchmarks is usually a helpful start line of comparability whenever you’re simply starting to flesh out your e mail technique, keep in mind that not all NPOs are the identical, and never all NPO audiences are going to reply the identical approach to emails.

To begin, maintain observe of some key e mail metrics, measure them with every e mail ship, and search for tendencies over time. Our article on e mail advertising and marketing metrics for newcomers provides a useful beginning place in the event you’re undecided what to trace.

Examples of Nonprofit Fundraising Emails

Wish to put collectively an efficient fundraising e mail? Take a look at some examples to get a way of what yours can appear to be.

Alzheimer’s Affiliation

This e mail from the Alzheimer’s Affiliation requests donations but in addition outlines a number of different ways in which its supporters can act for its trigger. Nonetheless, the request for a donation stays the focus of the e-mail, with a name to motion to donate and a button permitting the reader to take action featured prominently in the course of the e-mail.

The Trevor Venture

When people first join your emails, it is a good indicator that they are feeling engaged along with your mission. Take a look at this automated welcome e mail from the Trevor Venture that introduces the group to a brand new subscriber and requests a donation on the finish. Your viewers needs to assist – do not make them wait!

The Worldwide Rescue Committee 

The Worldwide Rescue Committee faces the pressing process of aiding individuals in battle zones and catastrophe areas. They waste no time in displaying how subscribers may help its mission. On this e mail, the IRC tells the recipient what steps they will take to make a concrete influence on their work.

The IRC is aware of that every of their subscribers is able to tackle a special stage of dedication, in order that they suggest completely different actions that folks can do to help them, from signing up for texts to beginning a fundraiser.

The New York Metropolitan Museum of Artwork

Take a look at this e mail from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Artwork for a special spin on fundraising. In contrast to most nonprofit emails, this one seems prefer it might have come from a division retailer. In case your nonprofit has merchandise to promote, think about taking a cue from retailers and create emails that showcase your merchandise for an excellent trigger.

Free Electronic mail Advertising Software program for Nonprofits

Wish to use skilled e mail software program on your nonprofit with out breaking the financial institution? There are a number of free variations {of professional} advertising and marketing software program that you need to use. Take a look at what among the hottest packages provide to search out the appropriate one on your wants!

HubSpot Electronic mail Advertising Software program

HubSpot provides a free model of its paid e mail advertising and marketing software program that integrates with its also-free CRM software program. Customers can run a complicated advertising and marketing marketing campaign and get entry to types, touchdown pages, and Fb, Instagram, Google, and LinkedIn advertisements, in addition to templates In addition they have entry to contact administration and reside chat capabilities to optimize the expertise for every subscriber. There are additionally visitors and conversion analytics capabilities for marketing campaign optimization..


Wish to attain numerous individuals with stunning, customized emails? Sender may very well be simply best for you, because it has in depth HTML enhancing and personalization capabilities. Sender additionally has spectacular analytics capabilities that let you observe the supply and opening of particular person emails. Sender additionally helps you construct particular person profiles of your recipients to additional optimize your technique.


For those who’re searching for selection in your emails, Sendinblue has you coated. This program contains over 70 responsive templates for emails that may be designed for any display screen. The free model additionally provides you the power to ship 300 emails a day. You even have the power to make use of A/B testing to search out the appropriate e mail content material that works and segmenting choices to ensure the appropriate individual receives it.


SendGrid focuses on e mail campaigns which might be tailor-made to particular person preferences. Its free model provides you entry to a variety of personalization instruments, together with APIs, Webhooks, STMP Relay. You will even have granular management over who receives your emails with a variety of supply optimization instruments. There are additionally subtle e mail enhancing and analytics instruments that let you optimize them on your audience.

You do not should be knowledgeable marketer to get skilled outcomes from e mail advertising and marketing on your nonprofit. Nonetheless, you do have to set a while apart to do it. The excellent news is that there are few different investments you can also make in your group that may repay like e mail advertising and marketing. Get began immediately if you have not already and you may generate extra buzz on your group than ever earlier than!

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