5 Tips To Improve Your Non-Profit Emails

December 23, 2014


Email marketing isn’t just a successful marketing tool for retailers and service-based businesses, it can yield impressive results for non-profits too.

A study from M+R Benchmarks, an organization that tracks online fundraising and advocacy for non-profits, shows 35% of online donations are connected to email marketing.

To maximize your marketing efforts, here are five tips to improve your emails:

1. Send a variety of emails

Non-profits need donations and volunteers, but that doesn’t mean every email you send has to ask for support. You should send a variety of emails. From newsletters to gratitude emails, you want to engage with your audience. We asked Katie Chapman, a philanthropic advisor and CEO of Fullanthropy, to help us create a list of emails that you should send throughout the year:

  • Welcome email. When a new contact signs up for your email list, greet him or her with a welcome email. Here’s an example:

5 Tips To Improve Your Non Profit Emails image welcome.png

  • Gratitude email. When donations are received, make sure to thank each supporter with a gratitude email.
  • Stewardship email. At the end of a campaign, tell donors how it went. For example, tell donors that as a result of their contributions 50 kids now have winter coats.
  • Explainer video. Show your supporters what you’re working on by sending a link to a video that explains a new project or your mission. Here’s an example:

5 Tips To Improve Your Non Profit Emails image variety.png

  • Newsletter. On a regular basis, keep your followers up-to-date with a newsletter.

2. Vary your calls to action

Inevitably, you will send emails that ask for donations or support of some kind. Many non-profits use “Donate Now” as the go-to call to action, but there are other phrases you can use that sound less like a plea for money. The next time you create a donation-based email, consider using a call to action from this list:

  • Join Us Now
  • Take Action
  • Get Involved Today
  • Join The Fight
  • Help A Family In Need Now
  • Support Your Animal Humane Society (change to your non-profit’s name)
  • Give The Gift Of Food (alter to fit the service you provide)
  • Send A Military Care Package Now (alter to fit a specific package you provide)

3. Add an attention-grabbing image

As a non-profit, one of the best ways to encourage your audience to get involved is to show them how they can help. Take a look at the example below from World View. The picture of the 9-year-old girl who was injured in an earthquake is what grabs your attention. That image alone propels readers to act.

5 Tips To Improve Your Non Profit Emails image images1.jpg1

Supporters are more likely to help your cause if they can relate to it on a human level, says Chapman.

“Pictures always tell the story better than words and make your emails more interesting,” she says.

Try to include an image that shows the need that your non-profit meets or showcases what your organization has accomplished.

4. Select two readable fonts

When you create an email, you have a multitude of fonts to select from. To ensure your audience can read your email, select clear fonts. You should stay away from odd fonts that use symbols or hard-to-read cursive letters. You’ll also want to limit the number of fonts you use. Don’t use more than two fonts in an email. Here’s a quick list of go-to fonts:

  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Arial
  • Rockwell
  • Gil Sans
  • Cambria

5. Pick a color scheme

Think of an email as an outfit. When you get dressed in the morning, you select colors that match or complement each other. The same is true for your email color scheme. Pick two (maybe three) colors to use throughout the email.

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