Email Marketing Strategy for Nonprofits

by csladmin


Nonprofits need supporters. Without them, it’s impossible to spread the word about a cause or raise donation funds. In other words, NPOs can’t exist without a long list of supporters. Unfortunately, NPOs are also among the most budget- and time-strapped organizations out there. Most NPOs don’t have the time, staff, or resources to create an extensive marketing program, or spend a lot of time creating and engaging new leads. This means they need a streamlined, simplified way to interact with supporters. Luckily, there’s a solution: email marketing strategy for nonprofits.  

Low-cost, high-ROI, and effective, email marketing is an essential tool in the NPO marketing quiver. Here’s what you need to know about the process, and how you can start developing an email marketing strategy for your organization.

Why an Email Marketing Strategy for Nonprofits?

Wondering why NPOs should focus on email marketing? Here are a few facts to consider:

  • Email marketing is popular. In 2015 NPOs sent 2.4 billion emails to 37 million subscribers.
  • Email marketing drives results. Email marketing helps generate donations, inform supporters, and grow lists. In fact, some nonprofits report earning between 28%-41% of their online revenue through email marketing.
  • Email marketing is cost-effective. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates an average of $38 in revenue. This allows you to promote your cause, without blowing your budget.
  • Email marketing keeps supporters informed. Because it’s quick to deliver, comprehensive, and informative, email marketing is a great way to keep supporters informed and ensure they’re abreast of your organization’s happenings.
  • Nonprofits can grow their email lists with email marketing. Since 2014, nonprofit list growth has increased by 11%. This means larger groups of supporters and easier access for nonprofits.

Email Marketing for Nonprofits: Your Personalized Strategy

Now that you understand how effective email marketing can be for nonprofits, you probably want to get started. That leaves one major question, though: how?

The first step, as it turns out, is to consider the five W’s of email marketing: who, what, where, when, and why?

  • Who. Who are you going to email? The answer might seem like it should be “Everyone!” but that approach won’t do much besides destroy your marketing budget. Instead, you’ve got to develop a strategic approach to creating and maintaining email lists. This involves consulting your audience personas and, once you have a list going, segmenting it out into smaller and more targeted sub-lists.
  • What. Now that you know who you’re going to email, it’s time to come up with a plan for what you’ll send them when you do. This is where your segmented lists come in. Ideally, each segment of donors will get content that’s customized for them and the goals you need them to help you achieve. The more you can customize and tailor your content, the more effective it will be in the long run.
  • Where. Where will your email content send readers? This, of course, depends on the goal of your email marketing at that moment. Depending on your objectives, it could send them to a campaign landing page or your website. It might also send them to a blog post or donation form. Be sure you have a where in mind as you create your content.
  • When. Answer the question of when you should send your emails by checking out your reports. Pay attention to peak open rates and click-through times, and make an informed decision based off of that information.
  • Why. Just like you defined a why for your social strategy, it’s important to consider why you’re sending email, and what you hope it will achieve. Create a specific goal, allocate it to segments of your list, and keep it in mind as you craft your email marketing materials.

How to Incorporate Behavioral Economics into Your Email Marketing

If you’re running an NPO, including Behavioral Economics theories in your email marketing can make a big difference in your donation amounts. Here are a few things to consider doing as you create your email marketing content.

Create a Default Donation Amount

Defaults can be a major perk for your donations.

According to McKinsey, “Defaults—what you get if you don’t actively make a choice—work partly by instilling a perception of ownership before any purchase takes place, because the pleasure we derive from gains is less intense than the pain from equivalent losses. When we’re “given” something by default, it becomes more valued than it would have been otherwise—and we are more loath to part with it.”

With this in mind, set a default payment amount – be it $20 or $200 – and allow your visitors to customize from there.

Streamline Choices

Avoid choice overload by offering low-cost choices and a few higher-cost options. This makes donation more attractive and easier for visitors.

Take Away the Pain of Giving

Reciprocity can help customers feel like they’re buying something (Getting something in return for donations) rather than simply throwing money away. That said, consider offering gifts in return for specific donation amounts.

Email Marketing: an Essential Tool for Your NPO

Support is essential in the world of NPOs, and creating an email marketing strategy is a great way to build your list and keep your supporters informed, thus growing your organization and doing good work for your cause both now and in the future.

To learn more about email marketing, or for help creating a design-led website your supporters will love, contact Creative Science labs today.


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