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Nonprofit Email Marketing Best Practices

According to the Global Trends in Giving Report, email is the tool that motivates 26% of online donors to donate (social media motivates 25%, websites motivate 17%, and print motivates 13% of contributors). In actuality, email marketing now accounts for 19% of all online sales. Despite the widespread misconception that email is dead, email usage is really rising across the board for all age groups globally.

As a nonprofit, it’s important to have effective email marketing strategy in place. But how do you get started? Here are all you need to know about Nonprofit Email Marketing Best Practices, best nonprofit newsletters examples, mailchimp alternatives for nonprofits and nonprofit welcome email examples.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a form of marketing that uses electronic messages to communicate with target customers. Email marketing can be used for a variety of purposes such as selling products, services, or information. The most common type of email marketing is lead generation, which is the process of creating leads (users who have not yet made a purchase) through the distribution of emails that are specifically tailored to them.

How to Get Started with Email Marketing

To get started with email marketing, you first need to create an account on an email marketing platform like MailChimp or Hootsuite. Next, you must decide which purpose your email should serve. There are many different purposes for email marketing, but the most popular ones include lead generation and engagement. Lead generation refers to the process of creating leads through the distribution of emails that are specifically tailored to them. Engagement refers to the degree to which users are interested in what you’re selling and how likely they are to make a purchase based on those emails alone.

You can also start using email marketing tools like barbwire or MailChimp Insights in order to track your data and measure your success rates. This will help you better understand why people unsubscribe from your newsletter or stop reading altogether – and hopefully change these behaviors so that future Emails don’t result in this kind of outcome.

The Top Tips for Email Marketing

When it comes to setting up and running your email campaign, there are three key things you should keep in mind:

When setting up your campaign structure, make sure that each piece is relevant to every other piece (for example, don’t send out unsolicited calls into personal areas).

Make sure your content is engaging and informative (and relevant), and use clear formatting techniques so users can easily find what they’re looking for (for example, using headings instead of lists).

And finally, make sure you test your campaigns before sending them out – testing allows you to determine if users really want or need the product or service that you’re sending them emails about!

Nonprofit Email Marketing Best Practices

1) Adopt a mobile-first design philosophy.

Your email campaigns (e-newsletters, fundraising appeals, event invitations, welcome emails, thank you emails, etc.) must be made to be read easily on smartphones and tablets because 42 percent of email is opened on a mobile device. No matter how compelling the content is, if an email doesn’t look good on a mobile device, it will likely be discarded in less than three seconds, and up to 15% of users may even choose to unsubscribe.

2) Include one to four news items in your newsletter, and concentrate your fundraising efforts on just one.

The word “e-newsletter” dates back to the late 1990s, when charitable organizations first started distributing their print newsletters online as “e-newsletters.” In those early years, e-newsletters were created to resemble print newsletters and were largely made up of news articles that were copied and pasted from their print counterparts. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, e-newsletters were mostly distributed quarterly and were intended to be read in their entirety.

3) Make sure your newsletter prominently displays a “Donate” button and social media icons.

Your website should prominently include a “Donate” button, a newsletter opt-in, and social networking symbols, as mentioned in 10 Website Design Best Practices for Nonprofits. The same principle applies to your newsletter; in the header and footer, prominently display a “Donate” button and your social network icons. Here is an illustration of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s weekly email.

4) Try delivering your email campaigns more frequently.

Only 68% of charitable organizations worldwide distribute newsletters, according to the Nonprofit Tech for Good Open Data Project. 68% of them use either quarterly or monthly email campaigns. This lack of consistency represents a missed opportunity to increase website traffic, expand your social media networks, and motivate your subscribers to donate, volunteer, or attend an event.

5) Personalize your email marketing and use succinct subject lines to increase open rates.

Campaign Monitor reports that 20.39% of nonprofit emails are opened on average. Your nonprofit must grasp personalisation, write compelling subject lines, continuously publish engaging news updates, motivational stories, and visually appealing material if it wants to stand out from the competition.

6) Create a landing page that says “Thank you for subscribing” and includes calls to action.

The page that new subscribers land on after signing up for your newsletter represents an excellent opportunity to turn them into supporters, volunteers, and followers on social media. There is a good chance that they will respond to a second call to action if they have already taken the time to subscribe to your list. Here are two instances from the Humane Society and the International Rescue Committee.

7) Compose an email of welcome.

Nonprofit Tech for Good signed up to get emails from 30 sizable national NGOs in order to write this blog article. Only 14 of them sent welcoming emails. It is expected that the rate is (much) lower for small and medium-sized charities if somewhat fewer than 50% of major NGOs send welcome emails.

8) Make an effort to re-engage inactive customers and eliminate inactive subscribers.

A subscriber is considered unengaged if they haven’t opened an email from your business in the previous six months. Your emails may end up in subscribers’ spam boxes, their email addresses may no longer be active, or they may just stop opening your emails because they are no longer interested. Sending emails to hundreds or even thousands of recipients who never open them is not only expensive, but it also compromises the deliverability of your email campaigns by lowering your total open rate and raising the chance that your emails will end up in spam folders.

9) Make expanding your email list a top priority in 2022.

Sadly, many NGOs gave up on email marketing as social media grew in popularity in the 2010s. All generations, including the burgeoning Generation Z, still utilize email as a powerful medium for communication today, and since social media algorithms now force marketers to spend money on social advertising to get a return on their investment, email is also a very economical tool. In 2021, NGOs must make a determined attempt to expand their email list, unless the evidence indicates otherwise.

10) Be concerned about email security.

Phishing attacks and email spambots are on the rise. Email security must be given priority by your nonprofit in 2022, both internally and in your email marketing campaigns.

Through a free third-party MailChimp WordPress Plugin, over 5,000 false email addresses enrolled to Nonprofit Tech for Good’s email list in 2019. A costly and time-consuming error was made at the time when a double opt-in was not required. The welcome email was opened by every bot subscriber, but none of the subsequent emails were. So sophisticated are email spambots now.

Best Nonprofit Newsletters Examples

Newsletter Example: Oceans North

See how Oceans North celebrates milestones and conveys news about the organization in a clear, concise manner by reading the email newsletter.

Newsletter Example: Bladder Cancer Canada

View how Bladder Cancer Canada created a fundraiser spotlight to include in their newsletter as a means to thank their donors but also omitting an overt request for money.

Newsletter Example: Donate Life Northwest

Readers of the Donate Life Northwest newsletter have a variety of ways to become involved, including signing up for particular opportunities and receiving volunteer training.

Newsletter Example: End Youth Homelessness

This End Youth Homelessness newsletter provides a variety of content, including statistics and a story, that highlights the importance of the nonprofit’s work and the influence of its member organizations.

Newsletter Example: Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y)

The Y2Y newsletter has a pleasing aesthetic in addition to being educational. In this case, the issue’s last part provides a carefully chosen list of suggested books and podcasts.

Mailchimp Alternatives For Nonprofits


One of the greatest email marketing platforms for building automated sales funnels, marketing automation, and high converting landing pages is GetResponse, which is trusted by 350,000 organizations worldwide. It combines with 5000 free stock photos and offers 500 templates to get you started with email marketing. It is also renowned for providing excellent customer service.

Key Elements

  • 500 email templates that are mobile-friendly.
  • editor with drag and drop.
  • funnel for sales with more than 30 landing pages.
  • automation in marketing.
  • A/B testing for emails and landing pages.
  • Email analytics to monitor results.


  • Unlimited emails each month for free (30 days to try).
  • Basic – $15 per month, 1000 contacts, unlimited email, and simple automation.
  • Additionally, for $49 a month, you may send unlimited emails to 1000 recipients with advanced automation and webinars.
  • Professional: $99 per month, 1000 contacts, unlimited emails per month, sophisticated automation, webinars, and support that has won awards.
  • Custom pricing, up to 15% discount, Max.


One of the top free email marketing programs to gain popularity in recent years is MailerLite. Using campaigns, pop-ups, and surveys to improve interaction is made simpler with this tool for users. MailerLite is used by more than 1 million companies and independent contractors to send more than 1 billion emails each month.

Key Elements

  • 50+ newsletter editor templates are drag and droppable.
  • Setup automation workflows.
  • emails with embedded surveys.
  • subscription forms that pop up.
  • Live customer help is available 24/7 via chat and email.


  • Free; up to 1000 contacts; 12,000 emails per month.
  • Unlimited emails for up to 1000 contacts with the Premium Plan, which costs $10 monthly. The amount of contacts or subscribers affects pricing.

Constant Contact

Since its founding in 1995, Constant Contact has provided services to over 5 million small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and private citizens. It offers one of the most generous free trials, with 60 days of unrestricted email usage and a 30-day money-back guarantee. They provide free one-on-one coaching and assistance via phone, email, and live chat.

Key Elements

  • many editable mobile-friendly email templates.
  • builder with drag and drop.
  • automated thank you emails.
  • Make RSVPs, polls, surveys, and coupons.
  • Content that is dynamic to increase engagement.
  • tracking and reporting in real-time.
  • Unopened emails are automatically resent.


  • Unlimited monthly emails are free.
  • Email: $20/month for an unlimited number of emails.
  • Unlimited monthly emails with Email Plus; $45/month


One of the first & most well-known names in email marketing, ActiveCampaign serves over 130k businesses in 170+ countries. To build amazing customer experiences, ActiveCampaign provides you with the email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM solutions you need.

Key Elements

  • To communicate with your subscribers, use a variety of channels, including SMS marketing, email marketing, live chat, chatbots, and site messages.
  • 850+ integrations, including WordPress, Shopify, Google Analytics, etc.
  • specialized reporting.
  • One-on-one training and support. a collection of instruction videos and manuals.
  • With the aid of sophisticated segmentation capabilities, you may organize your contacts by geography, age, and nearly any behavior.
  • Supports Slovenian, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, and Polish.


  • Light – $15 monthly
  • Added – $70 per month
  • Expert – $159 per month
  • Business – $279 per month

Campaign Monitor

A robust yet user-friendly email marketing tool is offered by Campaign Monitor. It enables email marketing to be run by tech behemoths, media tycoons, organizations, and many other distinct industries. The primary differentiators of this platform are its drag-and-drop builder, visual journey designer, inventive marketing methods, and real-time performance indicators. Additionally, there are no fees associated with switching between their monthly basic, monthly unlimited, or pay-as-you-go plans at any time.

Key Elements

  • send out automated emails.
  • Your emails are automatically searched by the Link Review tool, which highlights any potentially broken or out-of-date URLs.
  • email templates that have been expertly created.
  • To instantly import your brand’s colors and logo, enter the URL of your website.
  • You may connect Campaign Monitor to other software programs like Salesforce, WordPress, or Google Analytics using one of the 250+ connections available.
  • In addition to USD, it also supports the following other currencies: CAD, EUR, GBP, AUD, and NZD.


  • Simple – $9 per month
  • $29 per month for unlimited
  • Premier costs $149 monthly.


Aweber is a platform created to support startups and small enterprises. Aweber is the email marketing platform of choice for over 100,000 email marketers. They provide phone, chat, email, and 24/7 live, award-winning customer assistance.

Key Elements

  • 700+ ready-made email templates that are mobile-responsive.
  • email creation with drag and drop.
  • email template creator driven by AI.
  • Utilize tailored communications to automate operations.
  • Key performance indicators can be seen in reports and dashboards (KPIs).
  • More than 400 programs, including WordPress, PayPal, Wix, Google Analytics, etc., are integrated.


  • Free; up to 500 contacts; 3,000 emails per month.
  • Pro: $16.25 per month (paid annually), 500 contacts; unlimited emails. With more contacts, the price rises.
  • Premier costs $149 monthly.

Nonprofit Welcome Email Examples

1. British Heart Foundation

The British Heart Foundation comes first. Over £100 million has been allocated by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to study heart and cardiovascular disorders. They contribute to the search for preventative measures, remedies, and cures by doing this.

The BHF website is filled with a wealth of information, from data on their “Coronavirus support hub” to the locations of their charity stores. However, you can subscribe to the BHF’s email newsletter if you want to regularly get updates and news items.

2. Arts Council England

Arts Council England (ACE), founded in 1946, provides funding for initiatives and advancement in the artistic sector. They collaborate nationally to do research, share knowledge, and arrange events that support the success of aspiring and seasoned creatives alike. Additionally, they ask website visitors to subscribe to their newsletter to receive the most recent information on their fundraising.

When signing up for their email updates, ACE also makes it simple and straightforward by only requesting your name and email. And ACE makes it plain that members will only receive three emails per month, in case someone is on the fence about signing up.

3. Trees For The Future

An environmental non-profit organization called Trees for the Future assists in educating farmers all around the world about sustainable agricultural management. Through their Forest Garden Program, they help plant hundreds of trees that not only provide fruit and vegetables but also replenish the soil’s nutrients.

It is simple to sign up for email updates from Trees For The Future (TREES). Again, all we need is your full name and email address.


Email marketing is a great way to reach a wider audience and boost sales. However, it’s important to take some time to learn the basics of email marketing so that you can make the most of your campaigns. By following these tips, you can make sure that your nonprofit email marketing is successful.

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