Okay, we know there are plenty of ways to increase donations. And, yep! We agree that nonprofits should have an overall marketing strategy.
Now, there are lots of tools you can use in your nonprofit marketing strategy. You can use a blog to drive organic traffic from Google. You can use organic social media accounts to boost brand awareness. And you can use paid social ads to get in front of a super-specific audience!
And when you do all of those consistently, you’re going to have an increase in donations.
But, there’s nothing quite like using those tools as ways to build an email list for your nonprofit organization.
Here are 8 ways to build an email list for your nonprofit so you can increase brand awareness, create meaningful relationships with your donors, and bring in more donations for your organization.
Why Should You Build an Email List for Your Nonprofit?
So why should you build a nonprofit email list in the first place?
Like we mentioned in our statistics about online fundraising for nonprofits, email marketing is so not dead. It’s one of the most powerful and effective ways to communicate, create relationships, and build trust with your donors!
The biggest takeaway from those statistics? 33% of donors claim that email is the tool that inspires them most to give to specific causes! And that number’s up from 31% back in 2018.
Not to mention, that number is even above social media and websites, which came in at 18% and 16% respectively.
Plus (and this is a big one!), 48% of donors said consistent email communication from nonprofits is the way to encourage repeat donations. By the way, social media only came in at 18% for that one!
So building an email list for your nonprofit is one of the best ways to effectively communicate with your current and potential donors!
Should You Consider Buying Nonprofit Email Addresses?
Now, you might be thinking, “well, if nonprofit email marketing is so great, should I get a jump start and buy nonprofit email addresses?”
We love to hear you’re excited about finding ways to build an email list for your nonprofit! But, if you’re wondering if buying email addresses is worth it? It’s not.
There are a couple of reasons why we highly recommend you not buy nonprofit email addresses.
First, buying email addresses for people who did not willingly opt into your email list is spam. And spamming people is illegal. A big ol’ no-no. It violates what’s called the CAN-SPAM Act.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, spamming people also damages your nonprofit’s reputation and brand image. Who wants to donate to a nonprofit they can’t trust?
By purchasing nonprofit email addresses and sending those people campaign emails, that’s exactly what you’d be asking them to do. They won’t like it, and they’ll definitely tell their networks about it.
8 Ways to Build an Email List for Your Nonprofit
Well, if you’re not buying your nonprofit email addresses, how are you supposed to grow an email list?
It might sound like a daunting idea, but don’t worry! We’ve got 8 ways to build an email list for your nonprofit. You’ll be making amazing connections and relationships with your donors and supporters in no time.
1. Make Your Readers Want to Opt-In to Your Nonprofit Email List
First things first, you have to make your readers want to opt into your email list. You’ll get some people who love your cause so much, they’ll opt into your list on your own. But most people? They need a reason. And that reason needs to be about them.
So ask yourself, “what can I give that will make them want to be a part of this nonprofit email list?”
If your nonprofit’s mission is centered around the environment, maybe you can create a PDF guide talking about ways they can make eco-friendly changes at home.
What about a list of upcoming events around the area that support your cause?
You can even make a “waitlist” so supporters can get first dibs on tickets for upcoming events you may be hosting.
No matter what it is, make sure it’s an incentive. With an incentive, you’ll find your nonprofit email list sign-ups will increase dramatically!
2. Add a Pop-Up to Your Nonprofit Website’s Home Page
We know – you might be thinking, “who actually likes a pop-up?”
But! A well-timed website homepage pop-up might not be as bad as you think! Now sure, if your pop-up … pops up (ha) immediately once they land on the home page, then yes, that can be annoying.
Instead of that, though, try timing it differently. Wait a few seconds after they land on your homepage. Allow them to read the first lines of copywriting on your nonprofit website because that will pull them into your cause.
Then, once they’re a little more invested, have the pop-up appear.
And on your pop-up, make sure you’re using compelling copywriting, too! You want a clear call-to-action that says more than a simple “subscribe now!”
People see so many advertisements all day long. And most often, nonprofits and for-profit businesses always use something like “subscribe,” “join,” or “sign up.” It’s become so normalized that people are desensitized to it.
So use more enticing language like “I’m ready to donate!” or “Put me on the list!”
3. Create a Compelling Landing Page
If you decide to have a specific page to encourage supporters to sign up for your nonprofit email list, that’s called a landing page.
By the way, you can absolutely have a landing page and a pop-up on your homepage!
One of the best ways to build an email list for your nonprofit is to have a compelling landing page.
So, how do you make a compelling landing page? Here are a few ways:
- Use consistent branding elements for your nonprofit so people know it’s your organization
- Use a simple, clean, linear layout. Don’t have all of the text elements and visual elements jumbled together!
- Add a background image, but make sure you have white space overtop so readers can easily read your copy
- Write one or two lines of header copywriting to grab their attention
- Use supporting copywriting to clearly get across any necessary information
- Add a call-to-action (use the same tips as above on that!)
- Use only 2-3 form fields (First Name and Email Address, OR First Name, Last Name, and Email Address)
- Include a privacy statement at the bottom with a checkbox
And great news! Many nonprofit email marketing software lets you create a landing page, too.
4. Promote Your Nonprofit Email List Through Your Nonprofit Marketing Strategy
Don’t forget, your email marketing is a part of your overall nonprofit marketing strategy. So, use your other tools to promote your nonprofit email list! Here are a few ways to build an email list for your nonprofit with other marketing efforts:
- Have your nonprofit email list opt-in clearly visible on your website.
- Run a social media ad campaign specifically leading people to sign up for your nonprofit email list
- Promote your email list (and your incentive!) in your social media posts
- Use your “link in bio” options on your social media platforms to direct people to your nonprofit email list
5. Build an Engaging Email Marketing Strategy
Make sure your email marketing strategy is something your supporters want to read! Show up consistently, give them valuable information, and create compelling fundraising email campaigns.
And as you write your nonprofit emails, make sure you’re writing in a way that keeps your readers engaged! When you write nonprofit emails that are entertaining just as much as they promote your cause, you’ll create a tribe of more engaged supporters. Those supporters will want to share what you have to say! And those supporters sharing is a great way to continue building your email list!
The more fun you make your nonprofit email marketing strategy, the more people want to be a part of it.
6. Host Virtual Fundraising Events and Collect Email Addresses
You know we love nonprofit virtual fundraising events over here! And while they’re a great way to bring in more donations and income for your nonprofit, they’re also one of the best ways to build an email list for your nonprofit organization.
So if you’re selling tickets to your nonprofit virtual fundraising event online, include a checkbox that asks if they want to receive more information from your nonprofit.
If you’re promoting your virtual fundraising event elsewhere (like on social media), you can also use your email list as a “waitlist” for supporters to get more information on the event!
7. Make Signing Up for Your Nonprofit Email List Easy
Don’t make anything about signing up for your nonprofit email list a chore. Make it nice and simple. Clearly tell them where to put their email address in the box. Clearly tell them what other information you need from them (first name, last name, etc.)
And then clearly state what they can expect by signing up for your nonprofit email list. Do you send out emails once a month? Once a quarter? The last thing people want to do is sign up for an email list with the expectation they’re going to get spammed with multiple emails per day.
Put their mind at ease by making the process simple and clear!
8. Don’t Forget Offline Donors
Some of your best nonprofit email supporters may be found at offline events! At your next in-person fundraising event, be sure to take sign-up sheets for your booth. Let people put their names and email, and then you can manually add them to your nonprofit email marketing software!
These are all excellent ways to build an email list for your nonprofit organization. And we recommend you continue working to build out your nonprofit email list! Subscribers may come and go, but as long as you prioritize the email list for your organization, you’ll have a wonderful means of support!
Want more ways to build an email list for your nonprofit and turn your subscribers into donors? Our sister site, CharityHowTo, has an entire training on how to do just that!