What’s in my Inbox | Three great nonprofit welcome emails

September 15, 2015


In addition to donor retention, every nonprofit needs to be thinking about donor acquisition. And email is your organization’s best friend when it comes to online donor acquisition.

That said, your welcome email is a critical component of getting your email program off to a good start. It sets the stage — the tone — for the rest of the emails you will send. Not sending a welcome email equates to not thanking someone for a gift — it’s bad form, bad karma. More importantly, a welcome email can increase your business and help you better understand your new subscribers. (emphasis mine)

According to The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing:

“The welcome email tends to have a much higher open rate compared to other emails in a campaign. In fact, according to some analysis done by the Experian CheetahMail Strategic Services Group, “Welcome emails generate four times the total open rates and five times the click rates compared to other bulk promotions.”

What should your email welcome 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.
  3. Let your subscriber know exactly what to expect in their inbox.
  4. Include links to your organization’s social media sites.
  5. Give subscribers information about volunteering or other ways they can help.
  6. Consider including a short survey.
  7. Let your subscribers know your privacy policy

Take a look at these three great welcome emails for inspiration:

Props to RSPCA for this terrific welcome. I loved the ‘Take action’ sidebar, and their warm, friendly approach.


National Center for Lesbian Rights wins with this wholly donor-focused welcome email.


Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection leads the pack with a welcome series, which begins with this warm introductory email.




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