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ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Essential Tips for Email Marketing

Email marketing is an essential piece of any nonprofit communication strategy, especially if it's going to be used as a tool for donor engagement and fundraising campaigns. However, how can you ensure that your donors will even read your email? The answer is pretty simple; you have to make your emails enticing, engaging, and approachable. 

Here are some tips to help you create content that your recipients will open, read, and take action on. Once your nonprofit learns how to leverage email marketing, you will be able to reach your goals with a comprehensive internet marketing strategy that will ensure your success. If you use these tips to improve your email marketing strategy, then you will see increased donor and volunteer engagement for your nonprofit. 

1. A Striking Subject Line Can Do Wonders

Like what they always say, first impressions last. This can be applied to email marketing as well. You have to consider the fact that most of your donors are probably receiving a plethora of email on a daily basis. Some are tagged as relevant, and some are not-- these often land to the spam folder.

To ensure that your email reaches your donor, you have to take extra measures. One of which would be to create a compelling subject line. That means instead of the usual generic headlines that don't state what the email is about; you have to be on point. 

The subject line should tell the recipient what you want from them, and where their donations would go. Including the name of your organization as a supplementary detail can also help.

You also have to think like your recipients. If your subject line doesn't appeal to you at all, how can you even expect that your recipient would find it interesting?

2. Be Straightforward

When writing an email to your donors, be as direct as possible. The earlier, the better. Ideally, you should ask right away. What we are trying to avoid here is to leave your readers clueless about what the purpose of your email is-- even after they have already read half of it. 

Your reader has a low attention span so you need to have a strong opening that captivates the attention of your email, deliberate messaging to convey your needs and goal, and then a strong Call To Action at the end of your email that drive actions. 

Beating around the bush and delaying your request until the closing paragraph would just lessen the chances of influencing your donors.

3. Try to Keep It Personal

When it comes to writing an email asking for donations, there's always the tendency of slipping into blanket statements and generalities. You have to be as personal as possible and talk to your donors as a “person,” not as a group of individuals. 

One of the best ways to individualize your email communications with your donors is by segmenting the email lists. You have to treat your recipients the way they should be addressed. For example, a recipient who has given to your organization continuously for the past few months should receive a 'special' email from those who have just started. Additionally, separating inactive donors can also help in maintaining high open rates.

4. The Shorter, the Better

You have to be considerate of the medium, and about how it can be hard on the eyes. Pay attention to paragraph lengths, and for emails, the smaller the content blocks, the more reader-friendly it is. 

The use of subheads and white spaces all throughout the document can also make your email easier to read. On the other hand, a long email is quite the opposite. In fact, you cannot even expect your donor to understand it at all.

5. What Is The Story?

You have a story to tell-- why you need the help of your donors. Try to personalize your stories in a way that it'll show you care about what you're fighting for, or the purpose of the donation. Aside from reviewing the form, it's important that you also consider the content. Make sure that you're telling your potential donors why you want this endeavor to be successful.

6. Simplicity Is the Key

You have to ask, but you also have to avoid being wishy-washy about it. As much as possible, be professional-- direct to the point; so that the donors would know why they should consider donating. Discuss the actual benefit they can get from it.

7. Utilize Links and HTML

An email is still considered as a type of electronic document. That means you have to use anchor links as a way to show your cause to your readers, view a picture, or even check the donation page. 

Final Tip:

Lastly, make sure you send other kinds of email-- not just to ask for money. You also have to use this as a tool to keep in touch with your donors and keep them well-informed about what's happening. 

By doing so, as you incorporate the donation appeals with other types of email, your plea won't seem like random or forced-- which would increase the chances of enjoying a positive outcome.

Chris is a Digital Media Strategist in Orlando, FL and is an experience freelance copywriter, PPC management, and SEO strategy.  Chris is also passionate about startup marketing, environmental issues, and emerging technologies. 


ASU Lodestar Center Blog