Email Marketing Best Practices for Non-Profits
Emails can be a powerful tool for nonprofits to increase donations and achieve their goals. Despite the rise in popularity of social media and messaging platforms, research has shown that email is still the best channel for reaching people. Additionally, the number of email users is still increasing and is expected to continue to grow faster than other channels.
It is important for nonprofits to effectively use email marketing to develop a loyal donor base, expand their reach, and drive more donations. To achieve these goals, nonprofits should follow best practices for email marketing, including:
A ‘good’ open rate for non-profit organizations is 29.5% - If you aren’t getting this, try experimenting with Using a powerful subject line and pre-header to create a strong first impression
Personalize emails with the recipient's name, location, and other relevant details
Balance content by making newsletters 90% educational and 10% promotional
Optimize your emails for quick skimming across multiple screen sizes. Do this by breaking up content with subheadings, bullet points, and images and test your emails with yourself before sending them out.
Include links to social media sites to grow following lists
Provide an opt-out option for recipients who no longer wish to receive emails
Segment Donor vs. Subscriber emails as well as groups based on interest to send personalized emails. Afterwards, track and analyze your email campaigns to continually improve them.
Keeping emails short and sweet is key to encouraging engagement, with a general rule of thumb is a maximum of 20 lines of text or 200 words resulting in the best click-through rate. Newsletters should not be longer and should have a clear structure that makes it easy for recipients to find what they are looking for.
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Nonprofits should also have a consistent outline for their emails, such as a welcome message, updates, storytelling material, donation material, behind-the-scenes content, and a call-to-action.
Other things to keep in mind include:
1. Having fewer than 5 links in a newsletter – The best practice is to have the 1st link to your website in the banner. Then, your first noticeable link will be your call-to-action.
2. Sending emails bi-weekly or monthly - Include trigger emails such as a "Thank you for subscribing" and a "Welcome" email that explains what to expect from the subscription.
3. Using words like "support" and "partner" instead of "donate" can increase donations significantly. For an extra kick, consider using Catchy CTAs such as "Subscribe if: You're sick of saying, 'How did I not know about that!?' " can also be effective.
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