This is a guest post by Ash Salleh from Campaign Monitor.
How often do you check your email, and where? Ask anyone this question and you may realize that most people respond with, “anytime, anywhere.” With wider access to internet connections and the ubiquity of mobile phones across demographics, checking one’s email is most likely a daily habit.
In fact, the average professional spends 2.5 hours per day checking personal emails at work. This means that even in the midst of handling work-related emails, many opt to check upon communications delivered directly to them, regardless of time. People fit it in and around their schedules. That’s encouraging for marketers who depend on email as one of their primary digital channels—you can potentially reach your audience at any given moment.
This is especially true for the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits are among the top 3 industries in the US using email marketing, further proving its effectiveness. Open rates for nonprofits are consistently above average. Knowing this, you can use email to your advantage by attracting potential new donors and continuing to nurture the relationships you have with your current ones.
The key? Planning email campaigns as a continuous journey, and not a send-once-and-forget approach. Here are four types of fundraising email ideas that can get you there.
1. Thank You Messages
There are two types of thank you emails you can send, which you can set up for different trigger points in an email system. The first type is the thank you message that occurs when you get a new subscriber to your email list. Use that opportunity to give a brief introduction to your nonprofit’s mission and cause, and to lay out the common activities or initiatives that new subscriber may be interested in participating in or donating towards.
The second type is a thank you for donating. What’s important here is that you acknowledge their contribution and lay out, transparently, what you will be using their donations for. Readers will appreciate this—plus, it’s a good foundation for the rest of your email campaigns to build on.
(Source: Campaign Monitor)
Remember to include a call-to-action in this phase—whether it’s encouragement to donate more towards a different goal, or to learn more about other initiatives, don’t forget to lead them somewhere to hold their attention.
2. Donation Updates
When people donate to a nonprofit, they want to know where their money goes. Laying out exactly how your donor has impacted your organization and your causes gives them a sense of pride in knowing that they had a hand in making it happen. Reminding them of previous donations reaffirms your relationship as well, and reinforces brand recall through repetition.
Donation updates can easily be inserted into a regular newsletter-like schedule. Organize information by keeping details personally relevant to the donor towards the top, and supplementing the rest of the piece with general content from your nonprofit.
3. Merchandise Promotions
If you’re one of the nonprofits that use merchandise to fundraise, you can take a cue from ecommerce-style email campaigns and send personalized product recommendations to your donors.
Personalized emails generate up to six times higher transaction rates than non-personalized emails. It’s important to understand your audience and the types of products they’re interested in and promote merchandise accordingly. For example, segmenting your subscriber demographics by gender can let you push women’s clothing sizes towards women, rather than just unisex designs that may not appeal at first glance.
You can also entice them with seasonal discounts and promotions. Take note of seasons and holidays for a particular location, and you can give special discounts to email subscribers and promote those on different channels, encouraging additional subscribers to sign up for exclusive deals.
4. Compelling Narratives
While there’s a space for numbers and data such as funding goals achieved and the number of successful projects, you need to weave them into a cohesive story to unlock their marketing potential. A brand’s story is 22 times more memorable than plain facts, and the nonprofit sector has many to tell.
(Source: Campaign Monitor)
For email marketing, talk about the communities that you help. Give recaps of previous events that made an impact for your causes. The bottom line for this is to appeal to the readers’ emotions, which strengthens your connection.
Think about crafting these in a way that makes them shareable as well. Encourage subscribers to share your stories and give them the means to do so: social sharing buttons in an email increase clickthrough rates by 115%.
There are many opportunities for nonprofit organizations to improve their email content. Nonprofits can tell a wide variety of stories, something new could happen at any time, and having a more direct connection with subscribers through the donor-cause relationship provides a solid foundation to build a continuous email campaign around.
However, don’t forget that different subscribers follow your messaging for different reasons. Remember to follow best practices and segment your email lists accordingly. In addition to that, you can also A/B test your fundraising emails to check which types of content do best with a particular audience.
Campbell & Company does not favor or support Campaign Monitor over other email marketing platforms.