Nonprofit Email Marketing Ideas

Let’s face it, after a long day of meeting with people, managing challenges, and fundraising the last thing you want to do is write an email. At the same time, you know that the best way to keep your donors engaged in your ministry is with excellent communication. Since email marketing isn’t something you’ll be able to ignore completely, let’s take some time to create a strategy that keeps things as simple as possible.

Why Do I Need Email Marketing?

You may be wondering if we’ve moved past the days of newsletter writing for nonprofit reporting. The real answer is that when you give your donors a choice, they will determine the best methods for communication. Email newsletters are more efficient and much less expensive. However, you may find that some people prefer a paper newsletter. Regardless, the more people adopt email communication, the less time you’ll spend fundraising to send mail.

How Do I Send Email Newsletters?

There are dozens of email marketing platforms. Each company offers different features with their paid and free options. Some of the most popular email marketing platforms are:

  • MailChimp
  • Email Octopus
  • Constant Contact
  • HubSpot
  • Emma

You’ll want to use your ministry email as the point of contact. While this means your donors can respond directly to you, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! You may receive encouragement, clarifying questions, or thank you notes. If your donors have a question you’ll want them to ask you directly. Sending an email provides a direct line of communication.

Organize Your Nonprofit Email Newsletter

Now that you’ve selected a nonprofit email marketing platform and set up a template it’s time to send your newsletter. I suggest creating a template with clearly defined sections. Perhaps you start with a story of a recent interaction. Next, give a fundraising update with clear information about the different opportunities to give. Finally, share tangible ways your donors can get involved. Some simple ideas include sharing prayer request, opportunities to volunteer, and specific items to donate.

Now that you’ve created a template you an use a spreadsheet or a tool like Airtable to track ideas. If you’re going to send a monthly newsletter you’ll need twelve columns. Bi-monthly will need six and quarterly will need four. I suggest sending a minimum of four newsletters each year. Any longer than that and people may wonder if the nonprofit still exists.

In each column consider adding the month and section titles. See this example below. The idea is to choose one document that helps you remember what you shared in previous newsletters and offers a place to jot down future ideas.

Nonprofit Email Marketing Ideas

Planning a few months ahead gives you the chance to share about upcoming volunteer opportunities and remind donors as the events draw near.

You can plan ahead for events such as Giving Tuesday or a special ask.

The best reason to plan ahead is so that you aren’t staring at a blank page when it’s time to send your newsletter. This is just as helpful if you send a monthly update or quarterly.

Read: Why Donors Give to Nonprofits and Ministries here

Before You Send Your Nonprofit Email

As a final checklist here are a few things to make sure to include in your next marketing email:

Current Photos: People want to see what’s happening and hear about it! Yes, they may have seen an image on social media, but did they pause to read the story? Even if the photo is a few weeks old, it doesn’t guarantee everyone saw your post. Social media algorithms are fickle. Go ahead and include your favorite photos in your newsletter as well.

Check Your Links: Do you have a blog post to share or social media channels for people to follow? If you duplicate your newsletter you’ll likely find the links remain live. However, it only takes a minute to click the links and make sure everything goes where you expect it to!

Add Personalization Tokens: Each email platform is a little different, so you’ll want to check the tutorials for this one, however, studies have shown¬†emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened¬†than those without the tokens. This step could greatly increase your opportunities to share with people who have already asked for your information!

Still not sure about your nonprofit email marketing strategy? Send me a message. I’m happy to consult with you about your communication strategy.


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