Nonprofit 411: Email Marketing is Always a Good Investment

By Patricia Roundtree, CEO, Dundee Internet Servicesbefore the BIG P

Is email marketing a good investment for non-profits? No need to answer, it’s a rhetorical question. Consider this case: the County Rescue Shelter has a fair amount of community supporters. People are always donating blankets and food, but the shelter also needs money to help pay for upkeep, vet bills and medicine, and other items that blankets and food can’t buy. The Shelter operates on a tight budget, and has discovered with the right email strategy in place, they get the funding they need from individual donors subscribed to their email list.

For the Shelter, email marketing has opened up the opportunity to nurture and build lasting relationships with their list subscribers. Email technology has allowed the Shelter to send out information-packed newsletters on a local level, and at times emergency emails, when a list member’s dog or cat is missing. As a benefit, list members become donors, followers and volunteers. With the right content and attitude, both support for the Shelter’s work and their email list keep growing.

What tips can they share?

  1. Look for ways to grow your list through offering content that list members want to share.
  2. Send messages, not pleas. Ask subscribers to “Take Action”, “Get Involved” or “Give a Gift.”
  3. Personalize your messages. “Dear Mary” is much better than “Dear Subscriber.”
  4. Remind your audience how they helped in the past.
  5. Educate the reader on what’s new, expected changes, new goals.
  6. Segment your list by interest, donor, volunteer or cheerleader.
  7. Compel donors to get involved and appreciate what they do by always saying thank you.
  8. Invite list members to participate in your events.
  9. React to news in your field and share with your readers as an update.
  10. User Trigger email to respond quickly to pointed emails.
  11. Give them attention-grabbing visuals: for example, an emancipated dog to fat happy pup.
  12. Recognize those who that go the extra step with a “Supporter of the Month/Year” article.
  13. Set up a profile page, so your readers can tell you their email preferences. Do they just want newsletters, local announcements or event news?
  14. Set up a discussion list with other shelters to share stories, assistance and ideas.