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Article first published April 2016, updated September 2019

Nonprofit organizations constitute one of the largest parts of Campaign Monitor’s customer base. Why? Because email marketing is an easy, effective, and low-cost way to spread the word about their causes. Email marketing also has one of the best returns on investment of any marketing tactic at $38 for every $1 spent.

Email marketing is an incredibly effective way to raise money for your nonprofit. Read on to discover six ways you can use email marketing to grow.

1. Raise money for your cause.

Email marketing is unique in that it’s a personalized, one-on-one communication that can be executed on a massive scale. Keep your donors apprised of the initiatives you’re working on and how they can help, as the Red Cross does with its request for donations.

Australian Redcross donate online now

With many people preferring to donate online, utilize the convenience and simplicity of email in your fundraising campaigns. Besides being convenient, email marketing is a great way to build relationships with your donors. To succeed in raising funds for your cause using nonprofit email marketing:

  • Personalize your emails. Use data to segment your email list, so you can send personalized content.
  • Include storytelling. Stories are a great way of connecting donors to the cause they’re supporting.
  • Nail your design. Email design plays an important role in ensuring that your message is clear. Most importantly, it helps make your CTA stand out.

Run a “make a difference” campaign using email and enjoy the spike in your donations. Read our nonprofit marketing guide for more in-depth information on how you can use email to drive donations.

2. Educate your audience about their impact.

Once donors have made a contribution, ask them to join your newsletter list so you can keep them informed about how their contributions are helping. St. Jude Research Hospital does this in the email below.

 St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital donation educate impact

People want to know that they’re making a difference. One way you can do this is by sending them regular updates of what you’re doing, thanks to their valuable donations. A good idea would be to create a newsletter that you send out regularly, and make sure to include images of what’s happening on the ground. This will help your donors relate more to your cause. And, the more they relate, the easier it becomes for them to support you.

3. Drive attendance to your next event.

Events are a terrific way to raise awareness and donations for your cause. Make sure the event’s on your donors’ calendars with an email event invitation, as Amnesty International does.

Not only should you use email to announce and invite your donors to the event, but you can also use email to send them reminders as the dates draw near. Use email to send post-event updates as well.

4. Keep your cause top of mind with donors.

Stay top of mind with your donors through a regular cadence of emails. Once someone donates to UNICEF, they’re added to a welcome series of emails containing helpful content and a reminder to donate in the future.

Unicef thank you for first donation

While the main point of nonprofit email marketing is to raise the funding you need to fulfill your mission, not every email should be about donations. Send regular emails to keep your organization and cause on top of your donors’ minds. One type of email that does this well is the Welcome email. Instead of sending just one, create a series to onboard your new donors and familiarize them with your vision and mission.

Email is a powerful brand awareness tool. Use it to showcase what you stand for and champion your cause.

5. Re-engage past donors.

Create a list of individuals who’ve donated to your organization in the past. Invite them to your next event or make another contribution, as The Asthma Foundation does with their re-engagement email.

Asthma foundation donate again now

Chances of getting more donations from a person who’s already donated are pretty high. While it’s easy for some of them to get busy and forget to send in their support, you don’t have to give up on them.

Run a re-engagement campaign by creating a segment for people who once donated but haven’t done so in a while. Craft a personalized message to remind them of the good they did. Let them know that you still need their support and that your cause can’t succeed without them.

Even though you may not get 100% of them back, those who do re-engage are sure to boost your fundraising efforts.

6. Celebrate an important day.

People who feel good are more likely to share it with others. Say Happy Birthday or recognize another important date, and include an opportunity to give back.

WDC celebrate special day learn how

Celebrating special occasions is a great way of strengthening your relationship with your donors, and it’s a great way of making them feel like a part of the team, instead of just another person you reach out to for donations. If you can get your donors to feel like they’re part of the team, you’ll have won in converting them into recurring donors.

Wrap up

Campaign Monitor can help you run impactful nonprofit email marketing campaigns. To boost your nonprofit’s fundraising, drive attendance to your next event, and re-engage past donors, sign up for free today and enjoy a 15% discount off every campaign you send.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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