3 Easy Ways To Make Your Nonprofit's Email Program Stand Out Today [With Free Templates]

November 15, 2018  |  Gabby Weiss

For most nonprofits, email is the backbone of their digital fundraising program. However, as all digital fundraisers know, effective email fundraising consists of far more than sending out an ask for donations. Email is many donors’ primary mode of engagement with your organization, meaning that it is also your primary means of communicating information about the organization’s work and mission. Donors’ continued financial support relies on their ongoing positive feelings toward your organization, and for many online donors, the majority of this relationship is built entirely through email.

Here are three things you can do today to make your email program more personal, engaging, and persuasive, to increase long-term donor retention and fundraising.

1. Use a welcome email series

Marketing automation is more than just a buzzword for nonprofits today, it is a necessary tool, saving valuable staff time that can then be spent on more valuable tasks. New donors and subscribers to your email list likely receive a welcome email when they join, but there is no reason to stop at just one! Their initial action signals a short window of a high level of interest in and support of your nonprofit, so using this moment to deepen their connection to the organization will pay dividends when you send your next fundraising ask. Download our free template to get your series started with a strong initial welcome email, and use an additional email slightly later to provide more information and opportunities for them to take action.

2. Don’t JUST fundraise

Engaging your donors beyond fundraising shouldn’t stop with the welcome series. Donors give financially because they care about your organization’s mission, and it is important to them to be seen and treated as the passionate, dedicated supporters that they are. Showing donors that you value their support (and not just their money) can be an equally vital part of effective email fundraising. One of the best ways to do this is to invite them to participate in upcoming volunteer opportunities. The volunteer recruitment email in our template pack will walk you through setting up an effective non-fundraising email to keep your donors involved.

3. Re-engage like an expert

It’s certainly not talked about as much as the previously mentioned emails, but the way you talk to disengaged members of your email list is an often overlooked, but extremely important part of managing an email program. Shedding inactive list members can be important to maintaining high email deliverability, but you’ll want to be sure that someone is really gone before removing them from your list. The good news is that these people, while they may be inactive, are confirmed supporters of your organization and its mission! A good re-engagement email will use this fact to bring them back into the fold of active subscribers. This email requires slightly different messaging depending on whether the list you are communicating with is comprised of donors or simply supporters—download our email templates for examples of both.

For example language to get you started with these emails and more, including donation thank-you emails, and sustainer or monthly giving asks for one-time donors, click here to download our 5 Most Important Email Templates for nonprofits!