Every now and then, we need a reminder: Email marketing is alive and well. As one of the most cost-effective marketing tools available, it combines simplicity with a high potential for reach and engagement. The right messages, delivered at the right time, can help your nonprofit extend its reach, grow its donor base, recruit volunteers and drive donations.

So, what are the prime uses for email marketing for nonprofits? Let’s delve into the moments when email really hits its stride:


1. Welcoming supporters

When someone volunteers, donates or even signs up for your mailing list, it’s a great idea to welcome them to your community with an engaging, informative email. Why? Research suggests that this is the optimal time for your nonprofit communications to be received. Welcome emails have up to four times the open rates and five times the click-through rates compared to regular emails, according to Experian.

But remember, timing is crucial: For maximum engagement, aim to send that first email within 24 hours. This is where email automation tools shine in nonprofit email marketing. You can draft and schedule welcome and other types of emails in advance, setting up workflows that trigger their delivery when a certain action is taken. Say goodbye to missed opportunities!

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2. Fundraising appeals

Regardless of your campaign or theme, your fundraising appeal emails should always include a compelling case for support, a concise summary of the funding benefits and a clear call to action. Pro tip: Directly link your call to action to a fundraising page for immediate donations. That way, supporters don’t have to navigate away from your site.

While you might feel like a bother sending reminder emails, remember that not everyone reads your first message. This explains why open rates tend to skyrocket with follow-ups—up to 40% according to some research. The ideal number of follow-ups tends to be two to three.


3. Advocacy

A successful advocacy email generally has two main objectives: To prompt someone to take an action, like contacting a legislator, and to encourage a donation. For best results in nonprofit communications, clearly state what you’d like the reader to do and ensure the necessary information and action links are easily accessible or “above the fold” (an old printing term that means “near the top,” take that to your next Trivial Pursuit game).


4. Thank-yous

While it might seem obvious, it’s worth stating: Always remember to express gratitude. Regularly tell your supporters how much they mean to you and your cause, and keep them updated on how their donations are being used. It’s not just the polite thing to do; it’s also a great way to generate engagement, since thank-you emails have an open rate of around 67%. Want to make it easy to remember to say thanks? Add donors to an automated email delivery list. Then aim to send your thank-you emails within 24 hours.


5. Success stories

People love a good story, especially when they’re part of it. Email makes it easy to share your organization’s successes with donors and highlight their role in these achievements. This can be done via monthly e-newsletters, thank-you emails or quarterly progress reports.


Another idea to consider: Drip campaigns. These are a series of emails designed to achieve a specific goal, like re-engaging lapsed donors or onboarding new supporters. If you’re unfamiliar, learn more about how email drip campaigns can be a potent marketing tool in your arsenal.

Now that you know these email marketing tips, give us a holler if we can help you manage your email marketing strategy. And if you want to capitalize on convenience, our Firespring email marketing automation platform integrates directly into our nonprofit websites, allowing you to easily capture email addresses, segment your audience and automate the most relevant messages for each subscriber. With our powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right person at just the right time.


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