9 Emails Every Nonprofit Needs To Send

March 7, 2024

Closeup Woman hand using Laptop pc with email icon, Email concept

Creating your nonprofit’s digital strategy comes with its own set of challenges, from creating engaging campaigns to standing out in donors’ inboxes. But the good news is that nonprofits benefit from higher open rates compared to regular marketing emails. Your real test lies in converting these opens into donations.

To improve your nonprofit email marketing, focus on sending relevant messages to your donors at the appropriate times. Looking for inspiration? Check out nine nonprofit email marketing examples every nonprofit should have.

1. Your Welcome Email

According to Campaign Monitor, Welcome emails have a whopping 91.43% open rate. As the old saying goes, 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. Check out Why and how to rewrite your nonprofit’s email Welcome message for resources on writing yours.

2. Personal Email

An easy habit to get in the hang of: pull 3-5 names from your donor base every morning and make it a point to send out a short, personal email. Think of it as a two to three line thank you update. As this gets to become a regular practice, you’ll see your open rates climb.

3. Storytelling Email

As in all donor comms — including your emails — let storytelling guide you. What you can learn about solid, empathetic storytelling from an email shows how. For more, check out master storyteller Vanessa Chase Lockshin’s 30 minute training.

4. Your Thank You Email

How are you making your donor feel after they’ve made a gift to your nonprofit? Next to your Welcome email, thank you emails have some of the highest open rates. How are you making your donor feel?

5. Your “Away” Message

What message does your supporter receive when you’re out of the office? Your “away” message is another opportunity to show creativity and make your supporters feel the love.

6. Feedback/Survey Email

Consistent feedback plays an important role in the Simple Development Systems model and you’ll want to incorporate it throughout your digital strategy. This simple survey is only one example of the many we’ve published throughout the years.

7. A Reactivation Email

If your nonprofit has an email list that you’re mailing to consistently, you’ll want to make a practice of cleaning your list regularly. Email list cleaning is simply a process of regularly updating your email contact list by purging or suppressing outdated contacts and regularly updating donors’ personal preferences.

A clean list yields better supporter interactions. Here’s a terrific example.

8. A Regular Newsletter

While nothing beats a print donor newsletter for retention and revenue, enewsletters play an important role in engagement. But how do you make yours engaging? The email open rate for nonprofits is roughly 25%, according to many companies that track these metrics. See how one newsletter enjoys a 51% open rate with supporter-generated content.

9. The Monthly Giving Email Ask

Growing your nonprofit’s monthly giving is a smart way to bring recurring, reliable revenue in. But how? In Simple Development Systems, we recommend monthly giving specific campaigns throughout the year, like this.

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