Why and how to rewrite your nonprofit’s email Welcome message

January 18, 2021

Sarah writes:

Our organization is overdue for creating a welcome email to send after someone joins our mailing list. Right now it’s just the standard message that comes with our email service provider (ConstantContact). What else should it include? I do so many things in this job (grants, donor comms, events, etc.) that I don’t have the time to change it up regularly. What do you recommend?

Sarah, you’re smart to want to take advantage of the opportunity within your organization’s Welcome message.

According to Campaign Monitor

  • Welcome emails have a 91.43% open rate.
  • Welcome emails can create an 86% lift in unique open rate. Welcome email read rates are 42% higher than the average email.
  • Welcome emails have on average 4x the open rate and 5x the click-through rate of a standard email marketing campaign.

And, cliche or not, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That said, your welcome email is a critical component of getting your email program off to a good start. If you’ve got a regular email newsletter, it sets the stage — the tone — for the rest of the emails you’ll send. 

So, what should yours include?

  1. Ignore the canned response that comes with your email service provider. Your welcome email should be, well, welcoming. Cut the jargon and aim for a warm, friendly approach.
  2. Your email should be personalized. Do capture the first name on your capture form.
  3. Set expectations. How often can the subscriber expect to hear from you?
  4. Include links to your organization’s social media sites.
  5. You might include information about volunteering or other ways they can help.
  6. Consider including a short survey.
  7. Let your subscribers know your privacy policy

How can you condition your subscribers to receive your emails? Consider testing an email welcome series!

Check out the following resources for examples and guides, as well as a 30-minute training from copywriter Julie Cooper on writing your nonprofit’s email welcome series.


Lessons From Motivate Monday | Why you need an email welcome series

What’s in my Inbox | A *before* and *after* welcome email 

What’s In My Inbox | A relationship-building Welcome email from ONE Campaign

Your Secret Weapon: An Email Welcome Series guide from our Mastering Online Fundraising | Basics & More Class. 











{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dennis Fischman January 24, 2021 at 11:01 am

Pamela, what do you think about setting up a welcome *series* of emails? (using a CRM or a mail program to automate it)

Pamela Grow January 26, 2021 at 7:34 am

I’m a big proponent of email welcome series, Dennis. There are actually a couple of resources below this post on welcome series. Thanks for asking.

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