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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…

An email marketing system can be built one step at a time. And once each step is built and automated then you don’t have to worry about it again.

Fix it and forget it.

It’s like putting dominoes in place. Just focus on putting one piece in place at a time.

Each piece will contribute something positive to your nonprofit and these positive changes will continue to motivate you to keep going until your system is complete.

To help you get started, here are the first four email segments all nonprofits should automate.

These are the starting points.

Putting these in place first will ensure that your automated email marketing system hits the ground running and achieves immediate and continuous results for your nonprofit.

New Subscriber Welcome Series

The first segment for any email marketing system is the new subscriber.

These are people who have just subscribed on your website because they wanted to learn more about your organization.

These subscribers are not yet sure if they want to take action in support of your cause so the email welcome series triggered when they subscribe should be designed to convince them that your nonprofit meets an important need and that their contribution will make a difference.

This should be a series of emails that culminate in a request to take action.

First Time Donor

After the New Subscriber Email Welcome Series is in place, you should immediately turn your attention to developing the First Time Donor segment and automated email series.

Why? Because donors are the lifeblood of any nonprofit and communicating with them needs to be your priority.

The objective of this series of email messages is to immediately give a sincere thank you to the new donors, show them how their donation will make a difference, and eventually ask them to make a second donation.

First Time Volunteer

If your nonprofit utilizes volunteers then this would be the next segment and email series I would put in place.

Again, you want to prioritize the people that are taking action in support of your cause.

This automated email series should thank them for signing up to be a volunteer, provide them a schedule of volunteer opportunities and any other information they would need.

You can eventually ask this segment to make a donation, recruit new volunteers, or participate in peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Volunteers are often great at mobilizing for crowdfunding campaigns, too.

No Action Taken

This is a segment often forgotten or neglected in automated email marketing systems, but your nonprofit will be better served by segmenting these subscribers and crafting an email series specifically for them.

This is the group of subscribers that went through your email welcome series and decided not to take action for your cause.

That’s okay. You still have their email address. You still have an opportunity to convince them to take action. They just need a bit more information and persuasion.

This list should continue to receive email messages that tell great stories about the impact your nonprofit has on the lives of others.

You want to tell emotional stories and then give these subscribers the opportunity to make the same impact by taking action.

Continue to tell these great stories to this list until they take action.

CLICK HERE to learn how to tell Emotional Nonprofit Stories!


These four email series should be the first dominoes your nonprofit puts in place. They’ll get your automated nonprofit email marketing system rolling. If your email messages are effective, they’ll regularly bring in new donors and new volunteers.

  1. Start with the Email Welcome Series
  2. Then prioritize communication with donors
  3. Then be sure to develop a series for others that take action in support of your cause through non-monetary means.
  4. And don’t forget to keep communicating with people who have not yet taken action.
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