Inspire, Inform, and Impact: Email Marketing for Nonprofits (Tips + Best Practices)

Imagine an investment where you get $36 for every $1 spent. 


Impressive, right?


Well, this is what email marketing offers your nonprofit organization(NPO). 


NPO email marketing can be a great avenue to not only inspire and impact but also gain more funding and support. 


Today we dig into email marketing for nonprofits, why it matters, and how you can do it right. 


Why do Nonprofits Need Email Marketing?


Every nonprofit organization should be using email marketing. 


Yes, it’s a bold claim, but there is tons of data to back it up. 


Email marketing is so crucial to your NPO’s success that missing out on it equals throwing out better connections and relationships with your supporters. 


NPO email marketing is also one of the most cost-effective means of increasing brand awareness and donations.


Studies show that your organization can earn an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent on email marketing.


In other words, for each $1 you spend on email marketing, there’s a potential you’ll receive $36 in donations. 


Here’s another convincing reason: Donors love emails. In fact, a well-crafted newsletter or email campaign inspires them a lot.


The Global Trends in Giving Report found that 26% of online donors cite that email is the communication channel that inspires them most to give. This compares to social media 25%, 17% website, and 13% print. 


Furthermore, email remains a widely used and effective communication channel.


Research indicates that 91% of all US consumers still use email daily. In other words, marketing via email is one of the best ways to reach most of your target audience. 


Also read: Nonprofit Content Creation and Marketing: How a Content Marketing Team Helps You Win More Support


Advantages of Using Email Marketing for Your Nonprofit


  • Build and nurture relationships with supporters in a non-invasive way
  • One of the most cost-effective and affordable marketing channels
  • Features an attractive ROI that is bound to increase funding support
  • It’s easy to personalize and customize messaging to your audiences’ needs


Best Practices for Nonprofit Email Marketing


Elevate your nonprofit’s email campaigns with these best practices. 


1. Send Emails Regularly


According to the 2023 Nonprofit Tech for Good Report, 68% of nonprofits worldwide send newsletters. Of those, only 68% send email campaigns monthly or less. This a lost opportunity to engage your donors and supporters.


You should send at least one email a month. However, for better results, aim for twice a month. Consistency will enable you to foster a connection with your supporters. It will also increase the chances of your supporters engaging with you. 


But you also don’t want to end up in the spam folder. 


So, focus on sharing relevant stories and donation appeals. 


2. One Goal Per Email 


Always focus on one goal for each email. A singular goal helps draw the attention of your supporters. It shows them exactly what action you want them to take. 


Too many goals and you’ll give your recipients decision fatigue. This phenomenon occurs when there are too many different calls to action. If you’re unsure about how to keep things singular and tidy, here’s a tip:


  • Make your newsletter all about stories and news updates. You can include a call to action. However, the main goal should be to educate and build a connection with supporters. 
  • For fundraising appeals, the focus should be on raising donations. So focus on just one story and one impactful call to action. This ensures that you create a more persuasive appeal.


3. Run with emotional appeals


Emotions are the most powerful marketing tool. 


Emotional appeals allow you to tap into the empathy and compassion of your supporters.


When you share heartfelt stories, testimonials, or real-life examples, you evoke emotions that resonate with their own experiences and values.


This will trigger empathy, joy, or even outrage, motivating supporters to take action.


Remember to be authentic and respectful when using emotional appeals. Share genuine stories and experiences, and ensure your communication aligns with your nonprofit's values and mission.


4. Personalize Every Email


Personalizing emails generates 6x higher transaction rates. For your nonprofit, this translates to more significant financial and non-financial support. 


To personalize emails, you’ll need to first dive into nonprofit email list segmentation. You can segment your list based on the following: 


  • Interests
  • Donation history
  • Volunteer activities
  • Location


Then, tailor your content to resonate with each specific group. Also, make sure that you’re addressing each recipient by name. It’s akin to telling your supporters, "Hey, we know you and appreciate you." 


In addition, you can ask one of your NPO employees to send emails in her name. It adds a touch of personalization.


5. Incorporate Visuals to Enhance Storytelling


Visual content grabs attention and brings your message to life. Doing so can also increase click-through rates by a whopping 65%


In email marketing, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a well-crafted video can convey emotions and information in a way that resonates deeply with supporters.


Don't be afraid to get creative with visuals. Share impactful images that showcase the real people and stories behind your nonprofit's work. Use videos to take supporters on a virtual journey, immersing them in your impact. 


Finally, make your visuals shareable, so supporters can spread the word and amplify your message.


6. Take a Mobile First Approach


68% of emails are opened on a mobile device. That's a significant portion of your audience that you can't afford to overlook. 


Ensuring your email is readable and engaging on mobile or tablet screens is crucial. Neglecting mobile-friendliness can have detrimental effects. 


In fact, a non-mobile-friendly email from your nonprofit can be deleted in under three seconds, and up to 15% of users may even unsubscribe. Here's how you can take a mobile-first approach with your NPO emails.


  • Use a responsive email template. Opt for a responsive email template that automatically adjusts to fit different screen sizes. This ensures that your emails are visually appealing and easy to read, regardless of your supporters' devices. It also creates a seamless user experience, keeping your recipients engaged from start to finish.


  • Choose mobile-friendly email marketing software. Select an email marketing software designed explicitly with mobile-friendliness in mind. Look for features that enable you to preview how your emails will appear on various devices. This allows you to make adjustments and optimize the mobile viewing experience.


  • Streamline content for mobile. Keep your mobile emails concise and to the point. Use short sentences and paragraphs that are easy to digest on smaller screens. Break up text with subheadings and bullet points to improve readability. Mobile users have limited attention spans, so capturing their interest quickly is vital.


  • Optimize call-to-action buttons. Make sure your (CTA) buttons are easily clickable on mobile devices. Use large, visually appealing buttons with clear and actionable text. Place them strategically within your email, making it convenient for users to take action without zooming in or struggling to tap.


  • Test and optimize. Before sending your email, test it on different mobile devices and email clients to ensure it displays correctly. Pay attention to formatting, font sizes, and image scaling.


7. Automate to Increase Efficiency


Implement automated workflows to streamline your email communications. Set up welcome series for new subscribers, trigger emails based on donor milestones or event registrations, and send timely reminders.


In addition, don't let inactive subscribers slip through the cracks. Set up automated re-engagement campaigns to reconnect with supporters who haven't interacted with your emails in a while. Craft compelling messages that rekindle their interest and provide opportunities to re-engage with your nonprofit's activities.


Ignite Engagement and Capture Attention with Zoey’s NPO Email Marketing Experts


At Zoey Writers, we are fueled by a shared passion for helping nonprofits thrive through impactful email marketing.


Our team of talented writers understands the art of storytelling and the power of effective communication. We will work closely with you to create engaging and authentic email campaigns that captivate your audience and leave a lasting impression. 


Let us be your voice, storytellers, and advocates as we embark on a journey of captivating and persuasive email campaigns. 


With Zoey Writers, your email marketing campaigns will leave a lasting impact and drive meaningful results for your nonprofit organization.


Contact us today to learn how we can help.




How Many Emails Should Nonprofits Send?


It depends on the organization, but nonprofits should aim for 1-2 emails per month. 


What Are The Best Days To Send Marketing Emails?


Studies shows that the best day to send nonprofit emails is on Thursday. However, it will depend on your location and target audience. 


What Time Should a Nonprofit Send an Email?


Coschedule says the best time to send a nonprofit email is at 8 am on Thursday


What is the Response Rate For Nonprofit Emails?


The average click-through rate of nonprofit emails is 2.7%. 


Quick guides to help you improve your grant writing process:




Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash. Thank you!