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Here’s what nonprofit email marketing should look like

Nonprofit Email Marketing
What Nonprofit Email Marketing Should Look Like

I believe nonprofit email marketing is missing out on a massive opportunity.

There have been significant advances in email marketing technology…

Yet, very few of us are taking full advantage of what is possible.

I believe at least some of the reason for this is because we are not completely aware of what is possible when it comes to nonprofit email marketing.

Today, I want to show you what is possible…

and why we need to start moving in this direction immediately…

Buckle up.

I think this will blow your mind.

What nonprofit email marketing currently looks like

Here is what pretty much all nonprofit email marketing looks like today…

Nonprofit Email Marketing Today

Of course, some nonprofits only send quarterly email newsletters but the picture is pretty much the same.

Now, I’ve discussed before the many flaws in this system, but let me give you at least one quick example of why this is not an ideal email marketing system for you or your readers.

Since all of these email newsletters are blasted out to everyone on your list…

Regardless of their relationship with your organization…

Everyone ends up being treated the exact same way.

Your major gift donors receive the same marketing message as the people on the list who haven’t even made a donation yet.

“Just $5 would make a big difference!”

Is that really what you want to tell your major gift donors?

In the same way, repeat donors get the same information as your volunteers.

Do you think they are really interested in the same information?

Now in some cases that may not be too big of a deal…

But if this is your entire email marketing strategy, then you are leaving a lot of support on the table.

It is extremely important that your email messages are targeted and relevant to your readers.

Otherwise, why should they bother to read the email?

Send them enough email messages not relevant to them and eventually they’ll just unsubscribe.

Gone forever.

A better nonprofit email marketing system would ensure each segment received messages specific to their situation.

Each segment of your email subscribers should have content tailored to their specific relationship and interests in your organization.

For example, if you are trying to turn new subscribers into first time donors, you want to tell them stories that help them understand the work you do and the impact their potential donation can make on your beneficiaries.

But if you are trying to retain existing donors then you want to tailor your message to them so that they understand how you used their donations and the impact they have made in the community.

If your subscriber is a young college student, they may not have any money to give to you, but they might want to give you their time instead.

Wouldn’t you want to be able to tailor your marketing messaging so that they know how, when, and where to volunteer to support your work?

Your subscribers have different interests and can contribute to your organization in different ways.

It’s time you started building an email marketing system that catered to their interests.

Here is what this email marketing system might look like…

A modern, automated, and segmented nonprofit email marketing system

Here is an example of what your nonprofit email marketing system should look like…

ENGAGE Nonprofit Email Marketing System

I know that this can seem a bit complex or overwhelming at first, but it’s really not as bad as it seems.

Everything in black is the structure of your email marketing system.

This includes your subscription form, your pre-written email messages, and your lists.

Everything in blue represents an example of your readers’ possible choices.

For example, they choose to subscribe.

This then triggers the automated email welcome series.

At the end of the welcome series you ask them what they are most interested in learning more about.

Based on the link they click they are immediately assigned to a new list.

Once they enter that list, it triggers the pre-written email messages for that list.

Then, based on the actions of your subscriber they can move from one list to another.

Maybe they said they wanted to “learn more.”

Then after receiving a few of your emails they decided they wanted to learn more about how to volunteer.

This decision moves them to the volunteer list and then triggers the emails in that list.

You can also subdivide lists.

Maybe a new subscriber said they were interested in learning more about donations.

This put them on the “Donate” list and triggered emails that explained how you used donations and then shared stories that illustrated the impact donors have on your beneficiaries.

Then, once they’ve made a donation you can split them into two separate sub-lists, “1st time donor” or “Major Gift.”

This movement, of course, triggers new email messages.

Now you don’t have to use these exact categories. This is just an example to help you see what is possible.

Each organization should really take a look at what they need and what their community of support is interested in doing.

The power of modern email marketing

The email marketing technology needed to implement this type of system is easy to access and is relatively inexpensive.

And once you have this system in place your email marketing will always be delivering targeted and relevant content to your subscribers.

That is extremely powerful.

If you are still just blasting your email messages to your entire list then it might be time for a serious upgrade in your email marketing approach.

It’s time to let your email marketing automation do the work for you.

Keep doing good work,
Jeremy Signature



P.S. Do you have the email automation software but need help developing this system? I’ve got the perfect solution for you. It’s a step-by-step guide to putting exactly this type of system in place. Its called the ENGAGE program.

2 comments… add one
  • Our foundation will be 60 years old next year. This is exactly how we’ve been sending emails for years . You are 100% on target, 20,000 emails go out to who is ever on our mailing list. I just sent this page to our board of directors.
    Thank You

    • Jeremy

      Thanks for your comment, John. You are not alone. I’m glad you see the power of this type of email marketing system. Best of luck with the board!

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