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Email Marketing 8 min read

Email Marketing for Non-Profit: 7 Winning Strategies

Sarah Edwards photo

Written by Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 22 Mar 2023

a group of sketched people with cartoon-like icons of emails

Email marketing for non-profit organizations can be extremely powerful and cost-effective, allowing them to easily engage with a wide audience of donors, supporters, and volunteers. However, with so many messages vying for attention in people’s inboxes, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy that stands out from the crowd and makes a lasting impression. 

Luckily, there are some tried-and-true tactics for creating marketing campaigns that can maximize reach and impact — all while keeping in mind that for non-profits, every dollar counts. So if you’re looking to improve your approach to email marketing for non-profits, here are a few of our top strategies to help you achieve your goals. 

1. Prioritize the Mobile Experience

Nearly half of all emails are opened on a mobile device, which means your organization will be fighting a major uphill battle if your emails aren’t mobile-friendly. To avoid this issue, consider a responsive design that automatically adjusts the email layout to fit the size of the screen it’s being viewed on, ensuring that your emails are pleasing to look at and easy to interact with on any device. 

This shift toward mobile device usage also means that it’s important to keep your messages short and sweet. Audience attention spans are shorter when using mobile devices than operating desktop computers, so making your content easy to scan and understand at a glance is key when you have only seconds to make an impression. 

2. Add a Personal Touch

When an email is addressed directly to the recipient, it feels more personable, making it more likely for someone to open it and interact with it. Studies show that personalized marketing emails result in a transaction rate up to six times higher than non-personalized ones, making it an excellent no-cost strategy for increasing engagement and boosting conversion rates.

Adding an effective personal touch can be as simple as addressing the email recipient by name in the subject line. Or, it can be as complex as using zero-party data like demographic and locational data to make your emails feel more relevant to their interests.

3. Take Advantage of Segmentation

Segmentation is the process of dividing your email list into smaller sub-groups based on specific criteria. At its most basic level, non-profits can use this strategy to divide their audience into donors, volunteers, and potential leads. But you can also use it to group people by more complex points of reference such as location, interests, or past donations. 

This strategy allows you to send more relevant messages to specific groups of people. For example, you can segment your mailing list based on location to send targeted emails about local events. You could also separate your audience by interest and spread the word about campaigns that align with those interests. 

Segmentation also makes it easier to take advantage of dynamic content, which changes based on the recipient’s information or actions. This might include showing different images in the email body or using a tailored call-to-action based on past donations.

4. Leverage the Power of Automation

Email automation technology has improved rapidly in recent years and is now a mainstay in many professional B2C and B2B email marketing toolboxes. You can set up automated emails based on specific triggers, including welcoming new subscribers, thanking donors, or following up with volunteers. These strategies keep your audience informed and engaged while increasing retention rates.

In addition to saving a considerable amount of time compared to a manual approach, automation can be useful for nurturing relationships and keeping your organization top-of-mind, which in turn builds better brand recognition. It’s also a great way to show donor appreciation and update them on how their donations are being used, helping to build trust and make a positive impression.

5. Create Strong Subject Lines

The average person receives over 120 business-related emails daily, a number that is increasing steadily every year. This staggering number means you’ll need to exercise creativity if you want to cut through the noise and reach your target audience.

There are a few different approaches to creating an effective subject line, but there’s one thing they all have in common: brevity. For example, you should avoid going over 60 characters whenever possible so the recipient can see your entire subject line. 

We’ve touched on how personalization can make a difference, but other successful techniques include asking thought-provoking questions, using humor, or creating a sense of urgency. Just make sure to avoid any language that sounds deceptive or spammy. Too much promotional speak or fluff can result in email providers filtering your messages into a spam box.

6. Have a Clear Call to Action

A call to action (CTA) is a button, link, or text that encourages the reader to do something specific. For example, “Donate Now,” “Sign Up,” or “Learn More.” A clear, concise call to action is one of the most critical components of any successful email marketing campaign, and it’s just as effective for non-profits as it is in any other B2C or B2B email marketing context. 

A good call to action should guide your audience toward your desired goal — for example, signing up for a volunteering opportunity, donating to a cause, or spreading the word on social media. It also needs to be prominent enough that readers don’t accidentally miss or scroll past it, which is why it’s usually paired with a button or other visual indicator to help it stand out. 

When designing your call to action, remember that it should be as streamlined and easy to complete as possible. If the reader has to fill out a long form or navigate to a different page, they’re more likely to become frustrated and give up. Responding to your call to action means that your message resonates with the reader, so help them by making the process intuitive. 

7. Track and Analyze Your Performance

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You should use tracking and analysis tools during and after each email campaign to gauge performance, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions about your next marketing efforts. 

Common metrics to focus on include open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, and unsubscribe rate. These metrics provide a big-picture look at what works and doesn’t work in each campaign. It also helps you decide what potential adjustments you should make to your strategy. 

For example, if your open rates are low, consider conducting A/B tests with different subject lines or sender names to see if it improves performance. Or, if your CTR is low, consider testing different CTAs or content to see if that increases engagement.

Partner with Professionals to Take Your Marketing to the Next Level

If you’re a non-profit organization lacking the resources, experience, or in-depth knowledge to retool your email marketing strategy, consider working with an expert partner like Galactic Fed. Our team specializes in email marketing for non-profit and startup organizations, as well as B2B email marketing. We’re dedicated to helping people like you succeed. 

With our advanced platform and expert support, Galactic Fed can help you develop best practices for email marketing for non-profits. We’ll also help you create and execute effective campaigns that drive results, even if you have a limited budget or staff. When you put your email campaigns in the hands of seasoned professionals, you’ll free up more time for you and your personnel to focus on what’s important — making a difference. 

Learn more and get started with Galactic Fed today!

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Sarah Edwards photo

Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed