Non profit email marketing resources are not very common. So we’re here to fix that!
In this blog post, you will find a podcast and short intro about non-profit email campaigns, plus 9 email strategies that you can use for your next email campaign.
In each section, we provide you with non-profit email examples from different type of non-profits: educational organizations, health institutions, charities.
Email Marketing and Design Best Practices for Nonprofits
Hear out Roland, our CEO talking with Stephen Halasnik about the ins and outs of non-profit email marketing on the Nonprofit MBA Podcast.Play Podcast Episode
They covered topics like “Why Is Email Important Marketing to Nonprofits?” and “How Nonprofits Can Create Successful Email Marketing Campaigns”. This podcast episode can help you dive deeper into the world of non-profit email campaigns.
In the following, there are 9 strategies unfold to help you create the best campaigns to reach potential supporters, to raise funds, or change habits.
Collect the Right Data and Use it to Personalize Your Emails
If you are working in a non for profit, you know how important it is to maintain strong human connections with your followers and donors. Especially when it comes to charity. You need to be able to count on people to help your organization reach its goals and make an impact.
Build a tight relationship with every member of your email list by using the principles of email personalization.
Personalizing emails means that you collect data about each email subscriber and use that data to create relevant content and send pertinent emails.
Email personalization has been voted as the number one email trend for the past two years. In fact, email experts keep highlighting the importance of email personalization and its benefits for all types of organizations.
We talked to 11 email experts about email personalization and created a full guide to help you set up email personalization processes and improve your dynamic content.
To create and send personalized emails, email experts recommend the following:
- Collect the right data, preserve your data, and use it well
- Personalized the email subject line
- Segment your email lists and create sub-groups
- Craft an email message for each email segment
- Use modular design
Check out the full guide here to get more information about each step.
Welcome emails are a necessary step in every email marketing automation sequence, even for non profits. I would even argue that it’s even more important for non profits. Remember how we talked about creating a close bond with your email subscribers. Well, the first step to do that is to welcome them when they decide to join your family. When a person subscribes to your non profit email newsletter, they are interested in knowing more about you. It’s their way of telling you that they support your mission, and believe in what you do.
That’s why sending them a welcome email as soon as they subscriber is crucial.
When you send a welcome email, you remind the email subscriber that they are important. And that you are responsive. Not to mention that welcome emails have one the highest open and conversion rates out of all email types.
Check out this awesome welcome email example from this organization. The email starts off with a simple “Welcome”. Next, they thank the person for signing up and let them know how often they should expect an email (once a month) and what content they should be looking forward to.
After that, the email continues with a list of different ways the email subscriber can connect even more with the organization. This welcome email is awesome because it does exactly what is supposed to: provides clear, concise, and structured information that leaves the reader in sync with the NGO.
The Melbourne Recital Center sent out this awesome looking welcome email, with a hint of personalization. Note how they started the email copy with “Hello Lucie”, which adds a nice personal touch to the email. Same as the previous email example, this welcome email thanks Lucie for signing up and lets her know what she will receive from now on. And they also present her with different outlets where she can discover more about the organization.
This next email example was sent by another non for profit organization. In their welcome email, the Australian Chamber Orchestra chose to welcome newcomers with a nice discount on their next event. This a
And finally, check out this cool welcome email example from Southbank Center. First of all, the color palette used in this email is popping. The yellow-black-white combination is on-brand, and helps grab the attention of the subscriber. The email starts with a big “Hello there”, and continues with a clear structure. Every row is titled to help guide the reader through the whole email and their next steps.
Event Invitation and Reminder Emails
What are non profits most famous for besides making an awesome impact on society? Organizing events and conferences of course!
As someone working in a non profit organization, I am sure that, at some point in time, you had to plan and organize an event, a conference, a training session, or a charity event.
Send an Invitation Email
After spending weeks and weeks putting together the most perfect event, you now need to make sure that people actually attend it. And the first (and most effective) way to do that is to send an email invitation to your subscriber list.
Make sure that you add these elements into invitation email:
- The name or title of the event
- The reason behind organizing the event (The cause that this event is supporting)
- The date and venue of the event
- Other information that you deem relevant and important. For example, the dress code, or the entry fee.
- Add your contact information (email, phone number) that your subscribers can reach you on if they have any questions
Here are a couple of excellent email invitation examples sent by non-profits.
This email from Help for Heroes invites email subscribers to attend for 24 hours during the 9-day event as a volunteer, in order to help out the community. So the point of this email is first to inform the email reader that the non profit is organizing an event, and second, to invite to participate as volunteers.
Another similar invitation email starts off with a huge white text on bright yellow background letting the subscriber know what this is going to be about.
Send a reminder email
Now that you have invited your email subscribers to your event, you can think of creating and sending a follow-up email to remind them to come.
Every one of us leads a busy life, and sometimes, people can simply forget that they made plans. So, remind them! No shame in that. In fact, it’s actually very important. Not only do you let your subscribers know that you are still holding the event or conference, but you can also entice them to come with some last-minute convincing messages.
We have actually written a complete blog post only about email reminders for anyone interested in sending this type of email.
Here is what you need to include in your event reminder email:
- Personal greetings
- Remind them what your event is about
- Tell them about the date and venue
- Add extra information like the dress code or the entry fee
- Remind them of how they can get ahold of you
Check out this email reminder examples sent by nonprofits.
Emails Asking for Donations
This type of email is one of the most important emails that non profits send. You need to make sure that your subscribers not only open the email but feel compelled enough to actually go through with a donation.
Here’s how you can create a powerful email to ask for donations:
- Use a strong email copy that highlights the importance of your cause.
- Include proof or justification for asking for the donation. This can be presented in the form of an image of the people in need, those who will benefit from the donations. Or a testimonial from someone that’s life been positively impacted by previous donations.
- Make sure to provide your potential donors with a way for them to track their donations, and see how much progress your organization is making.
- Include a phone number or an email that subscribers can use to contact you.
- Offer an incentive if possible.
Let’s take a look at these donation emails sent by non for profit organizations and NGOs. Let’s start off with this straightforward email from UNICEF. They are asking people for donations to help Syrian refugees. UNICED used an image of young girl and her mother in order to evoke sympathy feelings from the receiver. They pair the heart-wrenching picture with a clear text asking for support, and finish it off with the CTA.
Use Relevant Holidays and International Events
Here’s another non profit email asking for donations.
This email was also sent by UNICEF during the International Day of the Girl. This is a great strategy that you can use to collect more donations. Look for holidays or international events that are coherent with your cause, and use it in your email message.
Another donation email strategy is matching every donation your charity receives. This email was sent with the subject line : You donate, We’ll Match. Already, the subscriber knows what this is about and is encouraged even more to take part.
Back Your Claims with Data
This next email example takes a different approach when asking for donations. The charity uses storytelling in email to highlight the impact their project has had on hundreds of lives. By looking at the bigger picture, the email subscriber understands what is at stake, and feels that their donation will actually make a difference. The hero image of a boy washing his face and smiling is such a powerful image. It personalizes the whole charity and makes it very difficult to ignore the email. The email uses data and numbers to support the claims even more, which adds credibility and increases trust.
Use Storytelling and Evoke Emotions
This next email follows a similar strategy. “Meet Carl”; that’s how the email starts. A picture of Carl accompanies the text to make sure that you feel an instant connection to Carl, and have to keep reading. Because, how can you ignore this person? The email tells Carl’s story and how he lost his brother. Carl also lost his career after being injured. He was in a dark place. And the organization that sent you the email- the one that’s asking you to donate- helped him.
Using testimonials in your emails is a very impactful and effective way to get your message across and to increase donations.
Thank You Emails
Once an email subscriber responds to your donation email and takes action, it’s probably a good idea to thank them for it. Imagine if you were calling for people in real life to support your cause, and someone actually comes up to you and hands you a $10 bill. You would definitely thank them for their generosity- without even thinking about it.
Why should that change when it comes to email? Make sure to send a thank you email to each and every donner- right after their donation has been approved.
This thank you message can also serve as a confirmation email, reassuring subscribers that their donation was in fact approved.
After sending a thank you email, the next step would be to create and send out update emails regularly. When a person feels connected to a cause, and are compelled by your organization to stand up and help make a change, it is important that you hold on to that spirit and keep nurturing it.
Remember that the key to success for most NGOs and charity organizations is the trust that people have in them. If your followers no longer trust your organization, you will not be able to make any positive impact on your society- simply because you don’t have its approval.
When you send an email asking for a donation from your followers, you are promising them that you will be responsible to make a change. You are now responsible for their money, and you have to honor that promise and that responsibility by using the donations you’ve received for the intended purposes.
That’s how important update emails are. You can plan and schedule weekly update emails. Your update email should contain new information about any progress made in the project your NGO is organizing. If you don’t have any new updates to communicate, you can be a little creative:
- Recycle old updates- remind your customers how far you’ve come since the beginning of the project.
- Tell them about upcoming steps
- If you are facing any difficulties or obstacles that are slowing down your progress, you can share them.
Don’t be afraid to be honest with your emailing list. They support you and believe in your cause. Don’t lose that trust, always communicate with them, and hold on to your transparency.
Feedback and Survey Emails
Your followers and especially your donors like to be heard and appreciated. Show them that you value their opinion by scheduling feedback and survey emails to be sent out at least once every six months.
If you want to get more responses to your email survey invitation, here’s what you need to:
- Pay attention to the email subject line. You don’t want your subject line to be too standard or boring. Show your email subscribers that you value their opinion and that their input is precious.
- Set a deadline that email receivers should respect. This way, you create a sense of urgency and get them to fill in the survey sooner rather than later.
- Provide an incentive if possible. Everyone likes a little gift now and then- even if it’s purely symbolic.
- Consider a one-question survey if your email subscribers are really not responsive.
We wrote a complete guide to sending survey emails that you can check out to get more useful details for every point mentioned above.
Emails in a Time of Crisis
No one can deny the powerful impact that non profits and charities have on our society in a time of crisis. When catastrophes hit the earth, our human compassion can sometimes be the only thing keeping us strong.
If you want to send an email to your followers about a sensitive subject, keep in mind the following:
- Ask yourself if you really do need to send an email.
- Use a calming and empathetic tone.
- Don’t be too blunt or use any language that people might find offensive
- Double-check your data sources, and only use credible information to support your claims.
Creating an email marketing strategy is equally important for nonprofits as it is for other commercial businesses.
Start your email sequence with a welcome email, thanking newcomers for their subscriptions. Use the different strategies to ask for donations in a creative and effective way (use testimonials and success stories, match donations…), and make sure to thank donors for their support.