Access Your Free Nonprofit Email Checklist!

Discover the 12 essential elements for every nonprofit email.

Bonus: Get FREE access to my Introduction to Nonprofit Email Marketing course and discounts on my other courses!

Guaranteed ways to get your nonprofit emails read (and what to avoid)

Nonprofit Email Marketing
Guaranteed Increased Open Rates

Wish more people read your nonprofit emails?

You’re not alone. Turns out most email open-rates are pretty darn low.

That’s too bad considering all the good work you’re trying to do. After all, if more people opened your email messages, then more people would be engaged in the work of your nonprofit.

To help you out, I’m going to let you in on a few secrets that will guarantee your open rates increase.

A quick Google search will reveal tons of tips and tricks to get people to open up your email, and some of them are good ideas…

But if you’re not careful a few of them will actual harm you in the long run.

The strategies I’ll share with you here are iron clad, foolproof ways to ensure that your open rates sky rocket.

I’ve never seen these methods fail.

So if you want to guarantee that your email open rates increase then keep reading… [click to continue…]


How confusing tactics with strategy kills your nonprofit marketing

Nonprofit Email Marketing, Strategic Planning for Nonprofits
confusing strategy and tactics

The other day, Evan, a fundraising professional responsible for his nonprofit’s email marketing, was telling me that his boss told him to double the number of emails sent to subscribers.

Evan wanted to know if I had some ideas for him on what types of content he should create to fill out the additional email messages.

“Well, sure,” I said. “I can brainstorm some things for you, but I’m not sure it would help.”

“Why not?” He asked a bit surprised.

“Well, let me ask you something first. What does your boss want you to achieve with your additional email messages?”

“I have no idea,” Evan responded honestly. “He just wants us to send more often. That’s all I was told.”

“I see. What we have here is a problem of confusing tactics with strategy.”

Evan’s boss thought it was enough to simply “send more email.” As if this tactic alone would somehow achieve results.

But without a clear understanding of the strategic goal of sending more email it was impossible for Evan to know what type of content he should be creating.

He had no idea what his emails were supposed to achieve.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem when it comes to nonprofit marketing.

We hear about this great new tactic that helped another nonprofit raise a gazillion dollars so we immediately jump in and try the same thing.

The problem is that without first thinking through the strategic purpose for implementing the tactic then we’re really just flailing about hoping something good comes of it.

And I’m sure you can think of better ways to use your limited resources.

Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between strategies and tactics and how to ensure they work well together. [click to continue…]


3 ways to rock nonprofit marketing (without feeling icky)

Nonprofit Fundraising

Have you ever felt uncomfortable with the word “marketing” when it comes to your nonprofit and your fundraising efforts?

Do you equate “marketing” with “selling” and “selling” with “shady tactics that make you feel like a used car salesman?

I get it, trust me.

The last thing you want to do is turn people off to the good work of your nonprofit by being too pushy or by employing unethical sales tactics.

Good for you, I say.

But we need to be careful here.

Marketing your nonprofit does not have to mean using pushy, annoying sales tactics to trick people into giving you their money.

In fact, the best marketing for nonprofits is actually the opposite. I’ll explain more in a minute… [click to continue…]


Check your tone: 4 steps to writing more personal fundraising appeals

Nonprofit Fundraising

The tone of your fundraising appeals makes a big difference. And from what I see hit my inbox, most nonprofits are missing the mark.

Most email fundraising appeals I receive come off formal and distant.

This is a big problem and it’s having a negative impact on your fundraising efforts. Luckily, this is easy to fix, once you start paying attention to it.

The formal and distant tone of most fundraising communications is the result of one thing…

Not getting personal.

If you’ve seen my article on why people choose to donate, then you understand the importance of making your fundraising appeal personal.

Well, this article is going to ensure you’re writing more personal fundraising appeals in all of your future communications, email or otherwise.

Let’s get started… [click to continue…]


A simple way to send more nonprofit email (with less work)

Nonprofit Email Marketing
A simple way to send more nonprofit email with less work

Does creating email newsletters wear you out?

Do you find it difficult to constantly be looking for stories and updates?

If so, then you’re going to want to read this post.

But first, I have to say something you’re not going to like very much…

Nonprofits need to send email messages more often to their community of support.

Email is an extremely powerful way to build an engaged community of support.

But if you are only ever sending out e-newsletter bombs on a monthly or quarterly basis, then you’ll never effectively engage them.

In order to really maximize the effectiveness of email marketing, nonprofits have to email more often.

See, I said you wouldn’t like it…But hold on.

Now that I’ve told you the bad news, let me tell you the good news.

I know a great way to write more email messages to your community of support that will actually REDUCE the amount of time you spend creating email messages.


Yep. Let me show you how it’s done. [click to continue…]


How to use features and benefits in an effective fundraising appeal

Nonprofit Fundraising
Effective use of nonprofit features and benefits

It’s only natural.

Someone asks to learn more about your organization.

Slightly unprepared, you start by explaining the things that are most concrete. The things you do. The things that can be seen.

You discuss your programs and rattle off a list of services. But before you know it the person you’re speaking to is no longer making eye contact.

Their eyes glaze over and you realize you’ve completely lost their attention.

What went wrong, you wonder. They asked, didn’t they? Why weren’t they interested in your answer?

As it turns out, you’ve made an all-too-common mistake.

You started out with the features of your nonprofit when what the person really wanted to know was the benefits.

I see nonprofits struggle with this all the time. After all, benefits are not always tangible. An emotion can be a benefit for crying out loud.

Yet, it is essential that nonprofits have the ability to articulate the benefits of joining their cause.

This is especially true when it comes to fundraising appeals.

It’s not enough that your heart is in the right place. It’s not enough that there are people in need. And it’s certainly not enough to explain all of the intricate details of your solution to the problem.

People need to understand the benefits.

Without a clear understanding of the benefits of their potential contribution there is no way to assess the value of the contribution. How can they know if it is a good investment?

Today I want to clarify the difference between a feature and a benefit and give you examples that will help you identify and better articulate your own benefits.

I’ll also give you my number one tip on how to use features and benefits to make your fundraising appeals more effective.

Let’s get into it… [click to continue…]


How to ethically use “alternative facts” in nonprofit storytelling

Nonprofit Storytelling
The Ethical use of alternate facts in nonprofit storytelling

Alternative facts, fake news…

These terms have been thrown around a lot lately.

And while there may be surprisingly few repercussions for politicians and pundits when using “alternative facts,” the reality for nonprofits is quite different.

Honesty and transparency are the bedrock on which we build the trust essential to earn the public funding and private donations that will allow us to achieve our mission.

Obviously, we need to strive to be honest and truthful in all of our communications, including the stories we tell.

However, nonprofits have an unfortunate tendency to let the requirement of truth interfere with telling a good story.

I know you might think I’m treading on thin ice here, but hear me out.

Nonprofits often let the need to tell the truth hinder their storytelling.

We think that because we have to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth that we have to stick with provable, documented facts.

This often results in nonprofit stories that are really just reports on something that happened.

But listen… [click to continue…]


The first 4 email series all nonprofits should automate

Nonprofit Email Marketing
First four email series all nonprofits should automate

It can be overwhelming.

Creating a fully automated nonprofit email marketing system does take time. But once you have the pieces in place amazing things start to happen.

Donations start coming in on a regular basis.

Volunteers are always ready to take action for your cause.

Donor retention spikes.

And fundraising campaigns start exceeding their targets.

But, it takes time and work to get your nonprofit email marketing system to this point.

When fundraisers first get started they think about all of the pieces that eventually need to be put in place and how much time it will take to get there.

They often freeze from the overwhelm and decide to focus on something else first. Maybe we’ll just blast another fundraising appeal instead.

But, listen… [click to continue…]