ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Current nonprofit sector research and recommendations for effective day-to-day practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 - 10:54am

posted by
Gloria Kopp
Business Writer, Educator and eLearning Consultant

Email marketing campaigns are just as effective for nonprofits as they are for any other business. So, nonprofits must utilize every opportunity to push their cause forward. Aside from sending out emails on behalf of your nonprofit, there are other things that can be worked on in order to see a greater level of success. 

DO use pictures of people

Captivate your readers with engaging pictures throughout your emails. Messages are never as interesting when they are just text. Add real photos of people you are helping, volunteers and more. Steer clear of stock images that do nothing to enhance the message. If you're building a community playground or other structure, include pictures of the progress or design drawings, so donors can feel included in the process. It is more impactful to show someone a picture of what is being done, not  just describe it. When others can see  real people and things their money is affecting, they get encouraged to continue donating. Putting a face and name to  donations is highly effective in connecting donors, which is why organizations like World Vision will send a photo and information about a specific child to their contributors. If you want an all-in-one design and email service, Mad Mimi can help with pre-made templates and easy to use email automation.

DO divide your list

When it comes time to send out  messages, have it organized into targeted segments so that you can direct specific messages to each group. Do not overload your donors with messages that are not relevant to them and their interests.  Keep messages limited by only sending those that are most relevant to each donor. You can quickly overstay your welcome in someone's inbox if you're constantly bombarding them with messages. Even if they were enthusiastic about the cause from the start, they can grow frustrated with constant requests for more money or messages that are irrelevant or repetitive. If  donors are supporting a local food bank, sending them information and requests for other projects may be unwelcome and seem like you are asking too much from them. Targeting your messages means each message you send out will have a greater impact with your donors and their willingness to participate. Reach Mail is a great email marketing service that can help  segment and target your email database in order to send relevant messages.


DO use empowering language

When speaking with donors and potential donors, it's important to use language that makes them feel as though they are taking control and doing what's right in that moment. The language should be positive, empowering and actionable. It should reinforce all of the great things their money has already done and will continue to do, using specific examples that demonstrate concrete things that are easily visible. If donations were able to buy a life-saving machine at a hospital, let donors know about that machine, how many lives it can save and any other information that lets them know the positive effects their contributions have had. Always make sure you're sending out properly written, error-free messages with some help from editors at Ukwritings. If you are not taking the time and putting forth an effort to send out well-written messages, you cannot expect recipients to respond with enthusiasm.

Do get to know your donors before asking for money

A relationship needs to be established before you begin asking  donors to contribute financially to a cause. Sending out a welcome email to  newly added donors is the perfect way to introduce yourself and your nonprofit, give a little insight into what you do and welcome them to the organization. However, start your relationship off on the right foot by sending out an error-free welcome message, using State of Writing to help with the grammar and other writing issues. Starting out with a request for money can seem quite upfront and off-putting for most people. Donors want to know that you recognize their interest first and most will want to learn a little more about the organization and what they do before opening their pocketbooks. Once they have decided to donate to a specific cause, you can be more forward about continuing to contribute, but to begin with, you should take a  less forward approach. Copywriting help can be found at Boomessays, where professional writers can compose tactful, appropriate messages in order to build a relationship with donors while asking for their contributions.

Don't be pushy

Use an email marketing campaign as a fundraising tool for subscribers and donors, but do not be overly pushy or aggressive in your messaging. It won't be well received and could turn many donors off of giving at all. Sending positive messages of success is perfect for relaying information about the great work donations are helping to achieve, while not being pushy about asking for money. If they've already donated, lead off the message by thanking them and telling them specifics about what has happened since they last donated. For some help with copywriting, EssayRoo has a team of professional writers that can compose thoughtful and expertly-written donation messages that won't be aggressive or pushy.

Send progress pictures if donations are going toward building something. If money is going toward helping individuals, send photos of those people, if you're able to. Seeing these images can help encourage donations, without  necessarily having to ask too fervently. Constant Contact has some great templates for putting together visually appealing messages, while also being able to help  with distributing those messages. 

Don't give them information they aren't interested

Make sure you're including your donors in any relevant information you have, but leave out things that they have no interest in. They should feel as though they are part of something special and that they've made the right decision to donate. If you're raising funds to open a new community space, invite them as special guests to the ground-breaking ceremony. Not everyone wants to be publicly acknowledged for their charitable contributions, but the majority of donors want to know that they are a part of something that is making a positive difference in some way. By using a service like Mail Jet, you can set your messages up to be sent to the relevant groups who will be happy to receive them. Avoid long-winded messages that are more likely to go unread, with the help of Easy Word Count to keep your text within limits.

Receive the greatest feedback from your email messages and have the biggest impact on your donations by taking the time to follow these do's and don'ts of email marketing campaigns.

Gloria Kopp is a business writer, educator and an elearning consultant at Paper Fellows. She graduated from University of Wyoming and started freelance career in the education and content marketing sectors. She is a regular contributor to such websites as Huffington Post, Engadget, Academized. etc. Besides, Gloria is an author of Studydemic educational blog.

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