Utilize an Email Marketing Strategy to Drive More Donations
When creating your nonprofit fundraising and donations strategy, email marketing should be on the top of the list of channels to use to support your efforts. However, 70% of nonprofits do not have an email marketing strategy, despite 26% of online donors saying email marketing is what inspires them to give. Email marketing can help nonprofits reach their fundraising goals by helping expand reach, develop a loyal donor base and drive more donations.
Build an Email Marketing Strategy
Implementing email marketing may seem intimidating to some, but once you have an effective strategy in place, it will act as a blueprint and support all your goals moving forward. When you start building your strategy, it’s important to spend time developing a unique strategy that aligns with your mission and goals. Consider these questions:
- Who is your target audience? How are you collecting email addresses?
- What types of emails will you send? What types of content do you want to share in those emails?
- What will your emails look like? What is the layout? What is the design based on?
- How often do you plan to send emails?
- What platform will you use? Does it integrate with your donor database and have all the features you need to implement your strategy?
Email marketing is the most effective and successful when there's a strategic plan in place. Creating a detailed strategy that answers the questions above will provide your nonprofit with the stepping stones needed to set your email marketing efforts up for success and help meet your overall fundraising goals.
Once you have a strategy and execution plan in place, you’re ready to start sending your messages to your audience. Email subscribers want to hear from you, but you need to be sure you are sending engaging messages to the right audiences.
When you start sending your emails, plan to send a mix of different messages to your audience. Email marketing is an effective channel to not only fundraise but to help subscribers stay engaged and keep donor retention high. A great example would be to include advocacy emails in your plans. Advocacy emails include newsletters and impact stories. These types of emails help your subscriber feel valued as a donor as they’re seeing the direct impact of their support.
As you start and continue to send emails, always track each email's performance. This helps you determine what is working and what is not working. By tracking key metrics, like click-through rates, conversation rates and donations per email, you will be able to continuously improve your strategy and the emails you are sending.
Follow Best Practices
As you begin to execute your email strategy, there are a few key best practices I recommend following to help increase engagement, donations, and overall performance of your emails.
- Personalize the email for your subscribers. Personalized emails can generate donations up to six times more compared to a generalized email.
- Make sure your emails are well-designed with compelling imagery that helps the donor visualize your mission and the impact of their donations.
- Provide clear calls to action in each email you send and always include a “Donate” button in all your communications.
- Include social sharing buttons and links to your social channels in all your email communications. Emails with social sharing buttons increase click-through rates by as much as 158% and help expand your reach by allowing donors to recommend and share your nonprofit with their network.
- Create an email cadence so you are regularly communicating with your audience throughout the year. For every 1,000 fundraising emails delivered, nonprofits raised $78, so it is in your best interest to continuously send messages to your subscribers. Start by sending emails monthly and then experiment with increasing the frequency of emails per month and see what works best for your nonprofit.
Utilizing email marketing is key to having a successful fundraising strategy for your nonprofit. By building a well-thought-out strategy and implementing it, you will be able to engage, retain and convert subscribers into a loyal donor base.
At Slice Communications, Grace Andrake has served as the company’s email marketing advocate and has built out the email marketing offerings to help better serve current and future clients. Since starting with Slice, Grace has worked with clients in nonprofits, performing arts, leisure and recreation, manufacturing, and more, developing in-depth email marketing strategies to meet each of their organizational goals. Despite working against the notion that email marketing is dead, Grace has found ways to design email campaigns and strategies with intention and thoughtfulness that cause people to pay attention. As senior email marketing account manager, she continues to serve as the go-to expert for all things email marketing — from privacy changes and compliance issues to automations and email trends, like personalization.