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Once in a while it’s good to be reminded: Email marketing still works. In fact, it remains one of the most cost-effective marketing tools. The right messages at the right time can help your nonprofit expand its reach, grow its donor base, recruit volunteers and drive donations.

At Firespring, we’ve made powerful email marketing easy for nonprofits like yours. For a successful email marketing plan, we recommend sending these five types of emails in order to create best engagement and ROI results.

1. Welcome

When someone volunteers, donates or simply signs up to receive your emails, welcome them to your community and cause with an engaging, informative email. Welcome emails get four times higher open rates and five times higher click-through rates than traditional emails, according to Experian.

2. Fundraising Appeals

No matter the campaign or theme of your fundraising appeals emails, an ask for donations should include a powerful case for support, a concise summary of what the funds will benefit and a clear call to action. Pro tip: Link your call to action button right to a fundraising page so they can donate immediately, not your homepage where they have to find their way around.

3. Advocacy

A successful advocacy email will likely have two main objectives: get someone to take an action, like contact a legislator, and make a donation. For both, write simply and clearly what you’d like the reader to do. Also, make sure the information (like a phone number or address) and the link to act are “above the fold,” an old printing term that means in the top half.

4. Thank-you

This goes without saying, but we’d be remiss to leave it off the list: Always be grateful. Tell your supporters how much they mean to you and your cause regularly, and keep them updated in your thank-yous on what you’re doing with their money. Thank-you emails have an engagement rate of 62% (Hubspot). If someone donates via your website, easily add them to a segment group to make it easy to send out your thank-you email.

5. Success Story

Everyone loves a good story, especially when they’re included in it. Give your donors insight into your organization’s success and describe how they helped play a part in it. This can be done in a monthly e-newsletter, in thank-you emails, in quarterly emails that outline your progress—you choose. Considering that one-third of Americans are skeptical of charity organizations (The Chronicle of Philanthropy), it’s essential for you to provide social proof.


One more idea: drip campaigns. A drip campaign is a series of emails that accomplishes a specific goal, like re-engaging donors who’ve lapsed or onboarding new supporters or volunteers. Not familiar? Learn more about email drip campaigns and how they can be an effective marketing tool.

Firespring Email Marketing

The Firespring email marketing platform integrates directly into our nonprofit websites, which means you can easily capture email addresses, segment your audience into the appropriate list 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 customer at just the right time.


Learn more about email marketing