HomeNonprofit Marketing TechNonprofit Email Marketing Tech11 Nonprofit Email Marketing Best Practices to Improve Your Strategy

11 Nonprofit Email Marketing Best Practices to Improve Your Strategy

At Nonprofit-Apps, we love email marketing for nonprofits. We know it’s one of the most powerful and effective ways to communicate and inspire support from subscribers! 

But if you’re struggling a bit with your nonprofit email marketing strategy, no worries! We’ve got you covered. 

We’re giving you 11 nonprofit email marketing best practices you can use to improve your overall strategy! 

A man has his computer open to his nonprofit website analytics with his phone opened to his nonprofit email marketing platform

1. Stay Consistent

When it comes to nonprofit email marketing best practices, the very best thing you can do is stay consistent. 

If you welcome new subscribers to your nonprofit email list and then ghost them, there’s a great chance they’ll unsubscribe. 

Or, even worse, if you ghost them for an extended period of time, and then pop up out of nowhere with a donation campaign email, they’ll quickly hit that unsubscribe button. 

Your nonprofit email subscribers want to know they’re valued! They want to opt into your nonprofit email list to build a relationship with your cause. So staying consistent and showing up when you say you will is the top nonprofit email marketing best practice you can do to improve your strategy! 

2. Grab Their Attention Immediately

Your nonprofit email subscribers have a lot of other emails to sort through in their inboxes. And after all, all of those email subject lines jumble together. 

So, number 2 on the list of nonprofit email best practices? Snag their attention straight away with a fantastic subject line. 

How do you do that? Here are a couple of ways to boost your nonprofit email copywriting techniques:

  • Use all lowercase letters in your subject line – “just hours left to double your donation on earth day!”
  • Pique their curiosity so they have to open up the email – “we’re helping to save the planet with this!” 
  • Every once in a while, try using an emoji in the subject line (don’t do this too often! It may negatively impact your email sender’s reputation) 
  • Keep it short and sweet – “$5 will feed two dogs in the shelter today”
  • Use a familiar name instead of only using the name of your nonprofit. 

Try out a few of these options and see how they work with your nonprofit email open rates! 

3. Ask Your Readers to Move Emails from Your Nonprofit to Their Primary Folder

Gmail has a great way of sorting emails for its users. If they’re getting tons of promotional emails from their favorite places, Gmail automatically sorts them into the “Promotional” inbox. 

They also tend to do this with nonprofit emails, too. Now, the only problem with that is… many people don’t check their Promotional tab as often as they check their Primary tab. 

So, in your emails, ask your readers to move your nonprofit to their “Primary” tab that way they always get them! It’s best to ask them to do this in your first welcome email so they never miss a future one from you. 

4. Answer Your Emails to Build Donor Relationships

Think of your nonprofit email marketing strategy as another way to create and nurture relationships with your donors. Just like you reply to notifications and messages on your nonprofit social media platforms, you should answer emails from your subscribers! 

Many organizations of all kinds, not just nonprofits, don’t often do this. So if your nonprofit does, think of the impact that will have on your relationship! 

5. Personalize Their Nonprofit Email Marketing Experience

With so many advertisements thrown at people every day, things start to feel a little…impersonal. 

But people love personalized experiences! They want to know they matter and that they’re valued. Your nonprofit does value your subscribers and supporters! So show them that in your nonprofit email marketing strategy. 

Here are a few ways to personalize their nonprofit email experience: 

  • Every once in a while, include their first name in the subject line of your email
  • Segment your subscribers so they receive the information they want (more on that in a minute)
  • About halfway through your email, include their name. That brings their attention back to the email, instead of letting it wander away from what you’re sharing with them. 

Try these out and see if they affect your engagement rate with your emails! 

6. Always Add a CTA

It’s always so important to add a CTA or a call-to-action. You want them to stay engaged with your nonprofit organization. Even if you don’t ask them to donate in every single email, always ask them to do something to engage with your nonprofit organization. 

CTAs can look like these: 

  • Click here to make a $5 donation
  • Follow us on Instagram 
  • Subscribe to our YouTube channel

7. Make Your Emails Mobile-Friendly

We’ve mentioned before in our statistics on online fundraising for nonprofits – mobile responsiveness is so important. 

So next on our list of nonprofit email marketing best practices? Make your emails mobile-friendly! 

How often do you pull up your email app throughout the day? We’re gonna go out on a limb and say at least a couple of times. 

So do your nonprofit email subscribers! And if they open up your email and see a giant photo that doesn’t fit on their mobile screen followed by a humongous block of text… they’re probably going to delete it and forget it. 

Don’t panic, though! Your nonprofit email marketing software can easily help you with making sure your emails look great on smartphones! 

8. Create a Segmented Nonprofit Email Marketing List

We mentioned it briefly earlier in this list, but it’s worth having its own section. Create segments to make sure you’re tailoring your emails to your nonprofit subscribers.

Someone interested in volunteering for your next event is going to want to see emails about that event. And someone who lives states away and can’t make it to any of your events, but loves your cause? They may be someone interested in seeing more emails about donating. 

But when you send every single email to every single person, you might find your subscribers dropping off. Or your engagement rate may fall. That’s because you’re not giving them what they want! 

So, create segmented lists to make sure your nonprofit subscribers are receiving the best information for them. You can create segmented lists through your nonprofit email marketing software!

9. Have (at least!) These 2 Types of Nonprofit Email Campaigns

There are different types of email campaigns you can use for your nonprofit email marketing strategy. 

You don’t have to send out a “donate now!” email every time you send one out to your list. In fact, you shouldn’t do that! 

Instead, create an email marketing strategy for your nonprofit that includes a combination of these 2 types of email campaigns: 

  • Nurture email campaigns. These are going to help you build your relationships with your supporters. These might look like monthly newsletters where you share what’s been going on in your nonprofit. It might be value-packed emails where you discuss tips and share advice based on your nonprofit’s cause. 
  • Fundraising email campaigns. Here are the emails that ask for support and donations. These might be as simple as reminding your subscribers to support your cause. Or they could be part of a “One-Day Flash Fundraising” campaign. 

For nonprofit email marketing best practices, it’s best to use a healthy combination of both of these campaigns! 

10. Use a Welcome Email

Don’t ask your supporters to subscribe to your nonprofit email list and then leave them high and dry! Include a welcome email in your nonprofit email marketing strategy. 

This is an email you put into your nonprofit email marketing software. Then, the software automatically sends it out once someone subscribes to your list! 

In your welcome email, tell your supporters what they can expect from your nonprofit email list. How often do you plan on showing up in their inbox? What kind of nonprofit information can they expect to get? 

This is also a great opportunity to start personalizing their email experience with your nonprofit! Include clickable links to appropriately segment them so they always get the content they want to see! 

11. Prioritize Ways to Build an Email List for Your Nonprofit

Now, we said earlier that staying consistent was number one on the list of nonprofit email marketing best practices.

But… maybe tied for number one is prioritizing ways to build an email list for your nonprofit. Subscribers will ebb and flow as their interests in nonprofit causes change. 

If you don’t prioritize ways to build an email list and you have a smaller list, you’ll feel the impact of supporters unsubscribing. 

But if you’re always working on growing your nonprofit email list, you’ll realize you’re still getting the support you need. 

A person uses their phone to check Twitter updates from their favorite nonprofit.

Email marketing for your nonprofit is undoubtedly an effective way to gain more support for your cause! 

And these 11 nonprofit email marketing best practices will help you improve your overall strategy. 

Want to learn how to turn your nonprofit email subscribers into donors? Our sister site, CharityHowTo, has a top-rated training on how to do just that! 

Take a look at this On-demand webinar on How to Turn Your Nonprofit Email Subscribers into Donors!

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