Email marketing is a great way for non-profit organizations to stay in touch with their supporters and get their message out inexpensively. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way for nonprofits to use email marketing so that it’s effective and doesn’t cause them to lose supporters in the process.
You need to know what works with email marketing an what doesn’t. In this guest article, Rosita Cortez of Social Media For Nonprofits reveals three essential techniques nonprofit groups should be using in their email campaigns.
Email Marketing For Nonprofits – 3 Essential Techniques
Does your nonprofit use email marketing effectively? If you don’t know the answer, then you are probably losing out on donations, community engagement and brand visibility. In my experience, most small nonprofits spend their time worrying about successful subject lines, how often they send or how pretty their e-newsletters are. Unfortunately, small nonprofits neglect the three most important issues in email marketing.
The key to creating successful, effective email marketing campaigns is tied to three critical (but little known) techniques:
Stop blasting emails to your entire contact list. Use segmentation to send ONLY relevant messages. As you might be aware, permission-based marketing is very important. It’s imperative to get permission before sending emails to your supporters. Even with permission, however, you’re still sending people emails they don’t want to receive.
The solution: segmentation. Stop blasting emails to your entire contact list. No single email will be relevant to EVERYONE on your list. It does not matter how great your content is or how fantastic your fund-raising appeal is. The truth is that you will only reach a handful of interested people. All others will get irritated and either unsubscribe or completely ignore future emails.
Effective email marketing requires you to know as much as you can about your contacts. You need to know their interests, particularly as they relate to your programs and services, their donation history, the amount they donated, and whether they opened and clicked through the emails you have sent. The more details you know, the higher the chance you have to send targeted, relevant messages.
This segmentation is what makes the difference between you and millions of other small nonprofits.
Keep your email marketing consistent. I know most nonprofits are strapped for time and resources. However, this doesn’t mean you should neglect your contacts. They deserve consistent, relevant communication from you. Your contacts are more likely to donate, sign a petition and spread the word about your nonprofit if they trust you.
But this trust can not be earned by sending them an email once in a while. Once in a while does not build relationships. Ironically, most nonprofits only send emails as part of a fund-raising event or campaign. A bad practice that views contacts only from the perspective of their pocketbook and risks turning off potential donors.
Devote the necessary time and resources making your email marketing consistent. If you promise to send a monthly newsletter, then you better send out a newsletter. Follow up with your contacts about upcoming events, program news and highlights, and even articles or news reports related to work your organization does.
The point is that there’s no excuse for losing touch with your contacts. Consistently sending emails to your constituents on a segmented basis will help enhance your relationships and lead to a significant increase in donations, brand visibility and support.
3. Integrate your email campaign with other marketing channels.
Show your contacts that they are more than just a name on a list. Send a postcard (along with an email) to remind people of an upcoming event. Send a letter and gift to new donors, followed by a phone call (or voice message) asking if they received it. Tie everything together and you’ll get a powerful, reinforced campaign.
At some point, of course, you’ll want to examine those smaller details, like the best words to use in a subject line or how to address your contacts. But for now, focus on implementing the three critical email marketing techniques and you will see a significant increase in response, donations and community engagement.
About The Author
Rosita Cortez holds a masters in Public Policy and Administration from Columbia University in New York. She is the founder of “Social Media 4 Nonprofits,” a blog dedicated to advance the missions of nonprofits via Social Media. Visit my blog to learn how your organization can use social media to create awareness of your cause, raise funds and engage with new constituents.
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