Email must be an integral part of your fundraising and marketing strategy. Over 50% of the world’s population uses email. In the U.S. alone, email penetration is over 90%.

In basic terms, your target audience is using email. And so should you.

Just sending emails asking for money won’t move the needle. If anything, subscribers will stop opening your emails and your unsubscribe rate will rise. You need to use email strategically to assist your overall fundraising and marketing.

Last week I shared with you 5 email tips and how you can use them at your nonprofit. This week I’m sharing 5 more tips and how they can help you improve your email efforts.

Email Tips

  • The most important sentence in any email is the first one.

Your opening can make or break your email!

Think about how you read email. You read the opening. If it doesn’t appeal to you, there’s a good chance you’re closing the email and moving on. You don’t have time to scroll and read something which doesn’t interest you.

Your email subscribers are just like you. That’s why your opening line takes on greater importance. If it captures their attention, they’ll stick around for a bit and read. If not…

  • An email without a goal is an email without a purpose and an email without a purpose is an email that shouldn’t exist.

Consider your enewsletters, where you share everything and anything that’s related to your nonprofit.

What’s your purpose in doing that? And more important, does your audience care?

Every single email you send out should have a purpose. It could be to inform subscribers about how their donations are impacting their community. To get them to take an action- register for an event, sign up to volunteer, donate, download something.

But have a purpose! When you email an Enewsletter with 7 different stories/posts in it, it has no purpose other than a news dump. Subscribers won’t scroll through or click. It’s information overload and they won’t be interested.

City of Hope makes it easy to skim their email

  • If you have to write a long email, make it skimmable —bullet points are your best friend.

Let’s face it: Many of us are skimmers. We don’t have time to read a long letter or email or post. So we scan and skim and maybe read a paragraph or two from what interests us.

If you’re going to send a long email (not necessarily recommended), make sure that it’s skimmable. Bolded headers, bullet points that stand out and lists help skimmers read without having to dive too deep into the content.

Why are long emails not recommended? The average person looks at an email for 5-10 seconds. If your emails are as a long as a direct mail appeal, people will get tired of scrolling and simply move on. And we’re talking about people who actively subscribed to your email and may be supporters of your organization!

Each medium and platform has its rules. Longer direct mail appeals do better than short ones. Shorter, skimmable emails are gonna do better in terms of conversions.

  • Every email should tell the recipient what you want them to do after they read it.

This one should be as easy as ABC and yet I see so many nonprofits forget this!

You’ve told people about a program, an event, a fundraising campaign. Now mobilize them to take action! Have a clear call to action (CTA) button. Spell out what you want them to do. Make it easy for them so they want to click your CTA button.

Don’t assume they know what to do. Lead them to the promised land.

Email tips for nonprofits

  • If you reply to emails immediately, you train people to expect you to reply immediately.

This isn’t a bad thing!

Let people know there’s a face behind the logo, that your organization is receptive to comments, that you WANT to have a conversation.

If someone takes the time to email your nonprofit, you should reply as quickly as you can. For two reasons:

  • Subscribers should know that they matter and you want to hear their thoughts and opinions. If they feel like you’re not listening, they’ll stop listening to you.
  • Email is a one-to-one communications tool. If a subscriber took the time to email you, email them back ASAP and get a conversation going! Great way to chat with some one one-on-one and build a relationship with them.

I am well aware that you have a million things to do at work. Answering emails might not be a high priority but time to move it up the chain.

Fundraising is all about building relationships. Email is exactly the same. Have conversations, connect with subscribers and make them feel valued. That’ll pay off big time down the road.

Email Rocks!

I’m a huge fan of using email as part of your diversified fundraising and marketing portfolio. Don’t just see it as a broadcasting tool, where you send a monthly Enewsletter and that’s it. It’s much much more than that!

No matter the size of your organization, email can play a huge role in helping your organization build more relationships, raise more money, service more people and have more impact in your community.

Giving Tuesday and year-end fundraising are coming up fast. Your organization will be prompting people to donate online. But is your online donation form user friendly? Does it help or hurt your fundraising? Sign up today for my Online Donation Form Boost so you can raise more money from more people.