Email marketing and non-profit companies

Traditionally non-profit companies or charities favour more traditional forms of marketing like fundraisers or other face-to-face events. With the advent of the pandemic, more people are opting to not attend in-person events to minimize the risk of infection. This means non-profit companies need to find alternative marketing channels to reach their audience.

Email marketing presents an exciting opportunity for non-profit organisations to connect with new audiences, but also to stay connected to their existing audiences. Email is a great way to remind your donor base to donate frequently and show how your activities are furthering a cause.

Benefits of using email marketing

Let’s talk about how email marketing can benefit you as a non-profit organisation.

Cost effective

We know that in the non-profit space it’s important to make every rand count. Email marketing is one of the most cost effective marketing channels that you can use. Furthermore, email marketing is set to have one of the highest return on investment percentages when compared to other marketing channels.

Easy to use and execute on

When something is new it always seems daunting to tackle, but it doesn’t need to be. Email marketing is a marketing channel that you can easily set up and run. As you get more comfortable and familiar with the different aspects of email marketing that can be optimised, you can enhance your email marketing efforts with some tactical testing and tweaks to how you design and send out your campaigns.

Multiple Personalisation options

One of the main benefits of email marketing is that email allows you to personalise the content that you send out easily. Besides being able to address your audience by name, you are able to use the information you have about your audience (such as previous donor behaviour, list of ambassadors, etc) to segment your messages. This means you can send more targeted emails out and in turn improve your engagement with your respective audiences better.

A timely thank you message sent out to donors and supporters goes a long way to keeping your audience engaged and interested. Further to this personalisation, email has the benefit of going into your subscriber’s inbox which means your messages are less likely to get lost in the myriad of messages seen, in for example, social media.

In the non-profit space where people want to support a cause or create awareness on important issues, personalisation is key. There will always be a need to communicate directly to your defined segmented audiences with specific content they want, which will help you get them to contribute to your overall organisation goals.

How to decide which platform to use?

An overview of the most used features that non-profit organisations need:

  • Sign up form builder: If you’re a non-profit organisation budgets are tight and you’ll want every platform or system you use to work as hard as it can. Having a built-in sign up form feature is a definite plus when you are choosing a platform. This feature allows you to easily customise every aspect of your sign up journey.
  • Easy to use email designer: With our drag and drop feature anyone is able to create a beautiful email campaign to send out to their audience without the need for a professional designer. To help your design take shape, we’ve even integrated with and Canva to take the email design experience to the next level.
  • Email templates: If you’ve never done any email marketing before, you might be unsure where to start with your design. We’ve got more than a hundred templates to choose from if you don’t want to start your email campaign design from scratch.
  • Cost effective service and support: Just because you need to keep a careful eye on your budgets doesn’t mean you’re looking to receive “budget-style” service. With Mail Blaze you can be sure that you’ll receive world-class service and cost-effective pricing that allows you to pay based on your needs.

Best practices when it comes to email marketing

Play the long game

Even though email marketing is relatively easy to run and set up, you should view your email marketing efforts as part of your long term plans for your organisation’s success. This is largely because email is able to help you build a database of loyal supporters over time. It can be tempting to buy a list and start reaching out to people via email like this way, but that never works. This is because records on a bought list are people who never intended to get contacted by you and therefore aren’t interested in what you offer. Sending unsolicited emails can also badly influence your reputation, which is crucial in the non-profit sector. You want to ensure that you are building your reputation and credibility - not breaking it down.

Use every opportunity you can to grow your list legitimately. The below are examples in your sector that can be used to grow your list. You can ask people if they’d like to be added to your email list at this point:.

  • When a person registers an interest as a volunteer for a fundraiser
  • When someone RSVPs to an event you are hosting
  • When someone signs a petition
  • When someone donates in-person or online

Consent is extremely important

As mentioned before, you don’t want to communicate to subscribers who haven’t given you permission to do so. We recommend running re-opt in campaigns if your list is old and hasn’t been emailed in the last 6 months. If you’re unsure about your list and list quality, chat to us about it and we can advise you on the best way forward.

You can also direct potential subscribers to your sign up form and grow your email list off the back of your other channels. An example could be to encourage people to sign up to your email list that are part of your Facebook page.

Email frequency: What you should consider

Should you be sending emails to your subscribers weekly, monthly or quarterly? Data shows that non-profit organisations all follow different email frequency patterns. The reports that 13% of non-profits surveyed send weekly emails, 30% send monthly and 35% send quarterly.

You don’t want to bombard your audience with a flurry of emails, which might not be relevant. Therefore you need to create a sending schedule and plan that is focused around valuable, engaging content whether that be monthly or quarterly. This frequency would also need to consider how these email activities can be valuable to your subscriber and how it supports your organisation’s goals.

Types of emails that you can send

There are countless different types of emails you may require in the non-profit sector, but here’s a few ideas if you’re feeling stuck.

  • Event (in-person or online) promos: event promo emails create a buzz around your next online or in-person event by providing more information about the event and what an attendee can expect from an event. Content as a value add: Basically these would be email campaigns that don’t ask the reader to do something, but rather adds value to their lives by offering valuable content.
  • Donation drives: Ask for donations through dedicated email campaigns that tell your audience exactly how to donate.
  • Thank you: A thank you can go a long way. This doesn’t even need to be just to thank people for monetary donations, but could also be to thank your subscribers for their continued support.

Ready to find out more about how you can start your email marketing journey? Reach out to the Mail Blaze team today.


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