Get Growing: 3 Steps to Nonprofit Email Marketing Success

KindfulJune 30, 2016

Get Growing: 3 Steps to Nonprofit Email Marketing Success header image

In a world of Facebook, Twitter, and all manner of mobile technology, email marketing still plays an important role in your nonprofit fundraising. Over the past decade, social networks have come and gone. Our phones were big, then got little, then got big again. But we still all use email. Ubiquitous, but maybe not the most exciting of mediums, email is necessary for how we live our modern lives and it’s how you’ll get in touch with the greatest percentage of your donors, current and future.

When crafting email marketing campaigns for your donors, no one-size-fits-all approach will do. Below, we’ve broken down some of the tactics which work best for nonprofits across the country. Cover these bases, and your email marketing is likely to pay off more than ever before. Because we’re Kindful and we love our data, we’re going to start with a piece of advice we hold particularly dear.

Step 1: organize your data

Getting all donor data organized into a nonprofit CRM solution is essential, especially if you have you’re reaching out to 100 people or more. It’s simply too much to handle from scratch. (Of course, an integrated CRM system like Kindful makes some of this much easier than it would otherwise be!) Once all your data is in one place you can simply segment your donors in a way that will help you spot specific groups like:

  • Prospective donors
  • One-Time donors
  • Recurring donors

Each of these groups will be approached with a different kind of message in your marketing email. If you have thousands of people to organize, you may want to subdivide these groups even further.

Step 2: create your content

After targeting your audience into different groups, the most important thing is creating content that will convert your audience into a deeper level of involvement. Tailor your emails for each specific group – recurring donors should never get an invitation to give for the first time, after all! But although your content may be different for each group, here’s a general outline for every email that may help you get started:

  1. First, craft a killer subject line: it’s what people see when your email hits their inbox, and it’s what convinces them to open your message.
  2. Next, open your email with a professional and eye-catching header that includes your logo, slogan, name, and title. Get people used to knowing (and loving!) your unique brand. Brand recognition isn’t just for McDonald’s!
  3. Finally, focus on your content. If possible, personalized emails always succeed the best – donors want to know that they are giving to a person, not just an entity. Include photos that pull readers into the story of your work and keep the text compelling and concise. Make sure to include a call-to-action so that donors have a clear idea of what to do next. There are lots of theories on what makes an email succeed, so try out a few different things and test what works best for your specific organization.

SOCIAL MEDIA TIP: Don’t forget your footer! This is a great place to put, not just your contact info, but also where people can find you on social media and how they can easily share your work with their online networks.

Step 3: polish your email marketing strategy

Remember how we said that no one-size-fits-all strategy will work when it comes to email marketing? This last step is where that surely rings true. Once you’ve created target groups and excellent content, you want to make sure that you are sending every email at the right time for optimized open and click-thru rates. Do some research around optimal email times and put yourself in your donor’s shoes. Prospective donors might benefit from an email once a month, while recurring donors typically don’t want to be solicited for another donation within the first seven months after their most recent gift. And whatever strategy you land on, don’t hold onto it too tightly! Stay flexible and be willing to change things up if the data tells you otherwise!

Kindful is always looking for new ways to help our clients reach their donors more effectively. Email may not be the flashiest technology on the block, but it’s something we all use. Get it right, and you’ll be able to communicate with your audience effectively, nurturing them into a deeper commitment to your work.

Schedule a live demo with our partner Bloomerang, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.

Filed Under:   Communication