email best practices

Email is crucial to your efforts to engage your donors, supporters, and the community at large. An effective email strategy can help your organization raise money, activate supporters, advocate for your cause, and thank the valuable donors that keep your organization thriving.

To succeed with email marketing, you need to develop an overall plan and strategy that you can break down into achievable tasks, so that you can manage your time and have more success telling an inspiring story to drive fundraising results.

Before you send your next email, you should be sure to ask yourself the following 4 questions:

Email Best Practices Question #1: What is the goal of your email?

What are you trying to accomplish? Why should the reader care? How can the reader get involved?

Every organization has different goals, but there are some common goals that most fundraisers tend to share:

  • Engaging constituents
  • Thanking donors
  • Promoting events
  • Making the ask
  • Giving Tuesday campaign
  • Soliciting new donors

Whatever goal you are trying to achieve with your email should be clear and measurable, with specific calls to action.

Email Best Practices Question #2: How will you measure success?

Email marketing without reviewing your email metrics is like throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean. It doesn’t matter how well planned, designed, or written your message is because you’ll never know what happened to it.

The first step of measuring the impact of your emails is to decide what it is you actually want people to do after they read them. Do you want them to donate? Maybe you want them to engage with your email, clicking the link inside and visiting your website. In that case, you should focus on measuring open rate, click-through rate, bounces, and opt-outs (unsubscribes.) If instead, your goal is to solicit feedback from your audience through a survey, you should measure response and completion rate. Measurement strategies will differ based on the type of email you’re sending.

In 2017, DonorPerfect clients using Constant Contact saw an average open rate of 35% and a click rate of 9%. How well do your emails perform?

Email Best Practices Question #3: Did you meet your goal?

Step back to see the full picture of your email marketing. Don’t measure for the sake of measuring. Instead, make sure you measure to understand the impact of email marketing on your organization and the goal you set for the specific email campaign.

Focus on the big goals. Are you attracting more donors? Selling tickets to your spring gala? Communicating the impact you are making in the community? Remember to tie all of your efforts back to measurable outcomes and align your email marketing strategy with your organization’s most important goals.

Email Best Practices Question #4: What will you do differently next time?

Analyze. Assess. Adjust. This triple-A approach to optimizing your email strategy is your guide to continuous refinement and improvement.

You should be looking at everything: how you’re executing on your email marketing strategy, design, calls to action, email content, and impact on your goals.

Learn the Email Best Practices for Fundraising

Email Best Practices for Fundraising offers nonprofits the best practices and expertise based on years of experience from Constant Contact and DonorPerfect. This e-book offers hands-on guidance and planning worksheets developed to help nonprofits create and execute their email marketing strategy. You’ll learn a simple strategy, broken down into quick tasks, to help you manage your time and have more success telling an inspiring story to drive fundraising results.

Email Fundraising Best Practices E-Book

Get the Email Best Practices for Fundraising E-Book

by Colleen Moriarty

May 7 18
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