6 ways to get more from your fundraising emails

It’s essentially free, but response is off-the-chart low most of the time. Everyone (including many donors) says it’s the preferred way to communicate. But it sure doesn’t seem like it.

Email: You have love it and hate it.

From Marketing for the Modern Nonprofit, here are 6 Ways to Improve Your Nonprofit Email Marketing Right Now:

  1. Set up a welcome series. Just getting someone to sign up for your email list feels like such a great victory. But it’s only a step toward a victory. Be ready with a series of emails that encourage engagement — especially getting them to tell you about themselves. The first bunch of emails, coming right after they’ve signed on, is the make-or-break moment.
  2. “Scrub” your email subscriber list. Purge the bounces, cold subscribers, spam bots, and fake accounts regularly. If you don’t you can be flagged as spam by many email providers.
  3. Work to improve deliverability. Send from a real email address (not a “donotreply”), ask people to put you in their senders list, use double opt-in to confirm they want to hear from you.
  4. Send more emails. If you email only once a month or less, it’s likely your open rates are dropping. Stay in front of your people.
  5. Optimize for mobile.
  6. Break the email marketing rules.
    Be surprising. Email at different times of day. Send very short and very long emails. Include videos or photos as well as text-only emails.

On top of all that, emails still have to be compelling, relevant, emotional and all the other things fundraising has to be. But getting these “background” things right really makes a difference.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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