7 emails to send that aren’t fundraising asks

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Jun 13, 2019
5 minute read
Digital Communications
Your nonprofit newsletter is one of the most powerful tools you have to convert donors. However, converting donors isn't only about making your fundraisers seen. It's more important to use your email marketing for effective storytelling.

Donors love to see the impact their donations have. They want to feel re-inspired to give and reminded of why they love your cause. Your nonprofit newsletter needs to include elements of storytelling alongside other engaging content. Otherwise, you will find yourself asking for money too often and wearing your donors out.

Here are seven emails built to engage your supporters without over-asking. Each of them is designed to help you build relationships, gather more support, and show off your impact in the world.

1. Thank You Emails

The most obvious email you should always send to your donors is “Thank You.” Don’t automate a donation receipt and move on. Make sure your donors are thanked genuinely for their contribution.

Then, ask them to sign up for your newsletter so you can engage them all year long. Or, you can ask them to subscribe when they give by building an email opt-in option into your forms. Either way, make sure your donors feel appreciated and have options to stay connected after they give.

2. Welcome Emails

Welcome emails are different from the “Thank You” email sent right after a donation. This comes after someone opts-in to your email marketing newsletter. It has information on what kind of content you send out to your subscribers, how to support the cause by sharing your content, etc.

You should also have a subscription sign-up available on your website. People generally interested in your mission and the content you publish will sign up and become donor leads. Content marketing is an important strategy for nonprofits to embrace. It helps build your email list and your email list also drives traffic to your website in return.

The people interested in your content are good leads to convert to donors. You just need to nurture them with emails they’re interested in before you ask for donations.

3. Impact Stories

Of course, don’t forget the most important part of your newsletter: storytelling. It’s your job to show your organization’s work and how it’s made an impact. Donors especially want to see what impact they had. You did the work, but they feel pride. Help them feel the joy of giving by telling the story of how their money has helped you fulfill your mission.

You can write out the entire story, send them back to your blog to read the whole thing, or even a mix of both. When you send them back to your site, they’re greeted with more opportunities to explore your content and give.

4. Volunteer Stories

You should also include volunteer stories in your nonprofit newsletter. These are just as beneficial as impact stories. Your volunteers see things from a different perspective. Their point of view might inspire donors to become volunteers, give even more, or share the story.

Volunteer stories also serve as third-party validation or social proof. It gives your organization more credibility to share the experiences of those who volunteer to do the work.

5. Surveys

Surveys are wonderful tools to re-engage donors and keep up engagement during a slow season. You might find that you want to use a survey to see what kind of content your newsletter subscribers want to see. Some other survey question topics might include:

  • Have you seen the news? Find out if you need to educate your supporters on a news topic that has an effect on your mission in some way.

  • What’s your favorite? Ask your subscribers what their favorite volunteer or impact story is from your blog.

  • What’s the right stat? Quiz your donors and supporters on their knowledge of your cause. Do they know the right statistical data?

6. Factoid Updates

Send out statistics and facts. These can be short emails with one to two stats or a whole list of relevant research. How you design the email depends on your goals. Creating graphic-oriented emails helps encourage sharing on social media.

On the other hand, plain-text emails with more information may inspire more engagement and clicks-though. It depends on your audience and how they currently interact with your email content.

7. World News

Last, but not least, keep your supporters informed of relevant world and local news. Anything that affects your organization and mission or those who have benefitted from your services is worth sharing.

But Don’t Forget to Ask

Between the storytelling, transparency, and engagement emails, make sure you are still asking for donations. Ask regularly for general online donations and always segment your lists. If you have recurring donors, don't keep asking them to sign up to donate. Instead, use segmentation to ensure they only get asks for larger fundraising campaigns.

Even when it comes to larger campaigns, like GivingTuesday for example, your emails should be framed toward each segment. Address your board and volunteers, past and recurring donors, and new supporters attracted by the campaign all differently. Segmenting is crucial for nonprofit fundraising emails.

Evaluate and Evolve Your Nonprofit Email Marketing Strategy

Take the time to evaluate your current email marketing strategy. Do you have enough mixed content or are you constantly asking for support? You might even find that you aren’t asking for support enough.

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