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5 email marketing best practices for nonprofit organizations

Start sending emails like a rockstar. Here are five email marketing best practices that you can implement in your nonprofit organization.

You have probably heard this before: “It’s 2021 - no one reads emails anymore!”

Those who say that are probably not following email marketing best practices.

Here’s the deal: Email marketing is not dead. You just need to know how to properly leverage it.

It is actually still one of the most effective ways to attract, retain, and build relationships!

In fact, email is one of the best ways to fundraise, especially when you have an engaged subscriber base. 

Email marketing allows you to ensure that your message will almost always go directly to the people who care about your cause. 

This is significantly different from social media, because social media companies use algorithms to restrict the reach of your posts.

Is your nonprofit organization sending out emails? To be more specific, is your nonprofit organization sending emails the right way?

In this blog post, we will discuss five email marketing best practices that you can implement in your organization so that you can send emails like a rockstar.

#1 Keep your emails personal


Did you know that people are more likely to read personalized emails? 

Here are some statistics to reference:

Put in the extra work to use your subscriber's name in the greeting or to display content that fits their interests. 

Pro-tip: Most email sending providers can automate this process!

People love personalized messages and they will reward you for it! Make sure the emails you send out are personalized in the subject line, body content, and images.

#2 A/B test your email subject lines

The subject line can have a direct impact on how many people actually open and read your email.


Because it is the first (or last) impression you make on your email subscribers. Make sure you make a good and lasting impression by writing good email subject lines.

The best way to write good email subject lines is to brainstorm copy, narrow it down, and then A/B test.

This is how you can A/B test your email subject lines:

  • Set up two variations (version A and version B) of an email subject line. 
  • Then send those two variations to a small percentage of your email subscribers. 
  • Next, monitor which version generated more opens and clicks.
  • Finally, send the winning variation to the rest of your subscribers!

For example, try A/B testing emojis in your email subject lines. If used correctly, emojis can actually lead to increased open rates.

Try using 1-2 emojis in your subject line to convey a particular tone 🤩,  emphasize an idea 💡, or to tell a story 📚!

#3 Always include a CTA in your emails


Your email can be the most beautifully designed email in the world, but without a call-to-action, your interaction with your email subscriber will never leave their email inbox. 

A call-to-action, or CTA, is one of the most important aspects of your email because it drives your email subscribers to take a particular action. 

Always include some sort of call-to-action in your email!

Some CTA examples can be "learn more," "act now," "read the full story," or any copy that inspires your email subscribers to take the next step.

But don’t make the CTA copy too long! Instead, keep it short and concise. The optimal CTA length is between 1 and 3 words. 

Also, make sure your CTA buttons stand out in your email. To do that, your CTA button should be a contrasting color to the background of your email.

For example, if your background color is blue, use a yellow button. Don't use a blue button on a blue background.

If CTA buttons are done right, your conversions can increase drastically!

#4 Stay consistent with your emails

Create an email schedule, so that your email subscribers can expect an email at a certain time of the week. 

Whether it be weekly or bi-weekly emails, make sure your emails are sent at regularly scheduled times to build consistency.

Along with being consistent with sending your emails, be sure to have brand consistency as well. 

This means you should use consistent: 

  • Design - use the same font sizes, typefaces (1-2 typefaces at most), and colors.
  • Tone/voice - use the same personality, whether it is formal/informal or humorous/informative.

#5 Optimize emails for mobile


Did you know that mobile remains the most popular reading environment with 42% of all emails being opened on smartphones or tablets?

This means your emails must be optimized for mobile! But how do you optimize your emails? 

Here are 3 tips to make sure your email is optimized for mobile:

  1. Use a responsive email template so that your email looks beautiful across all devices.
  2. Avoid long paragraphs so that your email is easy to read on mobile devices. Break up the text in your emails.
  3. Go easy on images so that your email loads faster and looks cleaner.

Closing thoughts

To sum all of this up: Craft your emails in a way that encourages building relationships with your audience.

Did you know the average email open rates in the government, religion, non-profit, education, and political industries are higher than the average open rate for all industries (21.33%)? 

Here are the average open rates for each industry:

  • Government: 28.77%
  • Religion: 27.62%
  • Non-Profit: 25.17%
  • Education and Training: 23.42%
  • Politics: 22.94%

If your nonprofit organization is not sending emails, start today!

Sending out strategically crafted emails can help your nonprofit reach your goals, expand your reach, and drive more donations.

Tags: Email, Nonprofit

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