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How to Develop An Effective Nonprofit Email Campaign

A large part of being a non-profit organization revolves around the support of your patrons and the generosity of your donors. Most non-profits face crunches in funds, resources and other pre-requisites that are essential for the successful operation of any non-profit organization.

Considering this, it becomes very important to make sure that you are utilizing your marketing resources in an optimal fashion. E-mail marketing in often regarded as the best fit for non-profits looking to market themselves across the web as it is not very resource intensive, provides a wider reach and is also pretty affordable as compared to the traditional internet marketing methods.

With this article, we will help you optimize the email campaign for your non-profit so that you can reach out to your target audience and achieve desired results. Go through each and every tip and make sure you implement it in your campaign. Let’s jump right into it!


Use Relevant Design Elements

In this day and age, nobody has time to read huge blocks of text. Hence, it is important that your newsletters have a clean and uncluttered look and feel. The best way to do this is to employ visuals to communicate your message so that the crux of the information is relayed visually to the reader instead of you having to put down everything in words.

Use imagery relevant to your cause and only put the most important information in writing.

 A good example of this can be seen in this newsletter:

This newsletter from “charity:water” is a great example of an email newsletter done right. It employs a relevant image that instantly gives the reader an idea of the nonprofit’s area of concern. The image is then followed by a crisp copy that is to-the-point and also allows users to explore more if they wish to.

There are many resources where you can get design templates or draw inspiration to design your own newsletter campaign


Use A Catchy Subject Line

According to a various studies, only around 20% emails from non-profits are ever opened by the readers. In fact, 35 percent of email recipients open an email based solely on its subject line. This makes it imperative that your emails have an attractive subject line that entices recipients into opening them.

A general rule of thumb is to keep your subject lines crisp and short. The best subject lines are informative, creative and intriguing, without coming on too strong.

Now there are a variety of themes you can use while coming up with subject lines. We have listed some of them below for your perusal:

  • Question The Reader - These subject lines directly ask the reader to come up with an answer to your question. Questions lead to answers and hence these subject lines entice the readers into opening the mail to explore the answer.

    Some useful examples are:

    Don’t think you have enough to make a difference?
    - How many lives can you save with £50?

  • Generate Urgency - It is human to feel compelled when the message you read is an urgent one. When potential donors feel an urgency, they are more likely to act positively towards a cause.

    Some useful examples are:

    - 1 day left; 5 reasons to give
    - We’re almost out of time

  • Develop Intrigue - A good subject line is able to arouse the curiosity of the reader. If your subject line is intriguing enough and offers to provide some answers to the reader, then it will definitely make a positive impact on the performance of your email campaign.

    Some useful examples are:

    - Your Donor Status
    - “First name,” I have great news

Optimize Your Email Content

The success of any email campaign hinges largely on how well the target audience reacts to the emails. For your non-profit’s email campaign, your emails need to be able to “touch” the emotional core of your target audience, especially donors.

A good way to achieve this is to make sure that your email copy is crisp and succinct. An average adult is reported to have an attention span of 8-10 seconds. Thus, an email copy that is too long and meandering is not considered ideal.

Now if your message is too in-depth and requires the reader to have a fair knowledge of the subject matter, an alternate way to come up with an ideal copy is to “tell a story”. A good story has a “central character” who has to overcome obstacles with the help of the donors and patrons of your non-profit organization.

Here are some tools that help you with creating good email content:

Another gem from charity:water, this newsletter is the perfect example of how you can weave a story into your emails and compel the readers into acting towards your cause. It consists of a central character and then describes his perils offering the readers to know more about him and how they can help him.

Also, remember to keep your emails personalized. You can add the donor’s name in the subject line or you can mention their donation status in the emails. Making personal connections is key to generating a large and long-term donor base for your non-profit organization. 


Wrap Up With A Strong Call-To-Action

After you have informed the reader about your non-profit’s message and what you aim to do, the next step is telling them how they can help you. This is where the importance of a good Call-to-Action comes to the fore. A call-to-action puts the ball right into the reader’s court and encourages him or her to act.

It is important to remember that the call-to-action needs to be in-line with the theme of the email. If your email is relaying a story about how your organization is running out of time to complete their donation target, it is better to have a “donate now” call-to-action rather than a “learn more” call-to-action.

It is also a good practice to incorporate “buttons” in your emails as they stand out and provide a visual cue to the readers to act by clicking on them.

Further information

These were some of the tips you can follow right away to make sure your email campaign works wonders for your non-profit.


Page last edited Jun 03, 2019 History

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