5 tips to improve nonprofit emails

It used to be that nonprofits relied on fundraising galas and direct-mail to solicit donations. But now, many nonprofits are using email marketing as a fundraising tool.

Email marketing accounted for 26 percent of all online donations in 2016, according to M+R Benchmarks, which tracks online fundraising and advocacy for nonprofits.

To maximize your marketing efforts, here are five tips to improve your emails:

1. Send a variety of emails

Nonprofits need donations and volunteers, but that doesn’t mean every email you send has to ask for support. You should send a variety of emails. From newsletters to gratitude emails, you want to engage with your audience:

  • Welcome email: When a new contact signs up for your email list, greet him or her with a welcome email.
  • Gratitude email: When you receive donations, make sure to thank each supporter with a gratitude email.
  • Explainer video: Show your supporters what you’re working on by sending a link to a video that explains a new project or your mission. 
  • Newsletter: On a regular basis, keep your followers up to date with a newsletter. 
  • Stewardship email: At the end of a campaign, tell donors how it went. For example, in Red Cross email below, the organization lets donors know how their support was used in 2017. 

Red Cross email example

2. Vary your calls to action

Inevitably, you will send emails that ask for donations or support of some kind. Many nonprofits use “Donate Now” as the go-to call to action, but there are other phrases you can use that sound less like a plea for money. The next time you create a donation-based email, consider using a call to action from this list:

  • Join Us Now
  • Take Action
  • Get Involved Today
  • Join the Fight
  • Help Now
  • Support Your Animal Humane Society (change to your nonprofit’s name)
  • Give the Gift of Food (alter to fit the service you provide)
  • Send a Military Care Package Now (alter to fit a specific package you provide)

Sonoma Humane society email with "Help Now" Call to action

3. Add an attention-grabbing image

As a nonprofit, one of the best ways to encourage your audience to get involved is to show them how they can help. Supporters are more likely to help your cause if they can relate to it on a human level. Try to include an image that shows the need that your nonprofit meets or showcases what your organization has accomplished.

SF Marin Food Bank with attention grabbing image of woman standing in front of food shelves

4. Select one or two readable fonts

When you create an email, you have a multitude of fonts to select from. To ensure your audience can read your email, select clear fonts. Stay away from typefaces that use symbols or hard-to-read scripted letters. You’ll also want to limit the number of fonts you use in each email to only one or two.

Here’s a quick list of go-to fonts that are easy to read across devices:

  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Arial
  • Rockwell
  • Gil Sans
  • Cambria
  • Helvetica

5. Pick a color scheme

Think of an email as an outfit. When you get dressed in the morning, you select colors that match or complement each other. The same is true for your email color scheme. Pick two (maybe three) colors to use throughout the email.

The ASPCA sticks with orange and gray, which helps their cute and fluffy imagery stand out and makes that all-important DONATE button pop.

ASPCA Email with orange and white color scheme

With these tactics, your nonprofit organization will be sending even better emails in no time. Looking for even more nonprofit help? You’ll find it in this guide.

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© 2018, Sonia Mansfield. All rights reserved.

The post 5 tips to improve nonprofit emails appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Five Ways to Improve Your Twitter Presence – Right Now

Twitter takes a bit more work than Facebook or LinkedIn. But that doesn’t mean you should shy away from this incredibly useful platform. Instead of giving up, here are five ways to improve your Twitter presence:

#1 Complete Profile

First, make sure your profile is complete with an accurate profile picture

#2 Follow the Right People

Next, make sure you’re following quality people. What does quality mean? Well, that’s up to you! People that you find interesting. Life’s too short to follow people that piss you off. Start by following people that you know in real life. But see the previous sentence. Then follow people who do what you do, not only in your town, but in other cities, states, and countries around the world. You’ll gain a new perspective in learning how other people deal with the same issues that you have. They are also great fodder for finding educational material to share with your audience. Who knows you might even find a mentor or a friend.

#3 Get Talking

I know people who won’t use Twitter because they are afraid that they won’t know what to say and they will run out of content. Really? Like any good recipe and any good social content strategy, the secret is variety. I usually recommend that Twitter content should be 50% replies or just talking to people, 30% retweets – either with, or without commentary, and 20% unique content.

That’s it 20% – that’s all you have to come up with on your own. The rest of it, you’re either playing off someone else or just simply sharing what other people have already said. The beauty of this is even just sharing other people’s content, makes you seem more and more like an industry expert.

When you talk to people and when you retweet, it will help you build your audience, because more people will follow you. It will also give notifications to those people that you had mentioned or retweeted. If you’re trying to do business with a particular company or trying to get connected with someone who is hard to connect with by traditional means, this is a great way to get noticed!

# 4 Check Your Notifications

To avid Twitter users, this is kind of a no-brainer, however, you’d be surprised by the number of people who’ve asked me to help them with Twitter, whose notifications have been neglected. You get a notification when someone mentions you or retweets you. If someone mentioned you, you should reply back to them. It’s a conversation. One way conversations are no fun. If people are talking to you and you’re not replying, you’re missing opportunities.

Say thank you for a retweet. It notifies you when you get a retweet it’s very simple to just click their name hit tweet, it even puts their handle in for you, and just say “thanks for the retweet.” Admittedly I don’t get to every single one, but it’s a great habit to get into.

#5 Get Notified

You can set up your notifications on Twitter in unique ways to suit your individual needs. I personally find it most beneficial to be notified when someone mentions me. But when I first started out I had it set up to notify me of both mentions and retweets. Another way I like to use notifications is for select individuals whose tweets you don’t want to miss. Some ways you can use this feature is get notified when your boss or your company tweets so that you can either reply or retweet.

This strategy makes you look good with the boss and wins you brownie points with the marketing team. You can also use this technique to target the attention of people that you’re trying to reach, for example, potential new sales leads that you’ve been working on. If they see your name repeatedly on their notifications, they’ll be more likely to open your email or connect with you on LinkedIn because they recognize your name.

#6 Build a Habit

Ok, so I promised five, and this is number 6. But if you want to get the full benefit from your other actions you need to build a habit. As with anything new, when you’re trying to make Twitter part of your marketing efforts, you just have to make a habit of getting on Twitter regularly and checking out what’s going on. In order to help develop this habit, I recommend that you pick a time that you normally check something else and add it to that task. If you come into the office and check your email first thing, check your Twitter too. It also helps to have the Twitter app on your phone, and start training yourself to look at Twitter when you’re on hold, in line, or in any situation where you are waiting.

I love Twitter. It’s truly my love language. If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy the blog/podcast “Twitter Love” on More Than a Few Words.

Happy tweeting! Don’t forget to follow me at @DanaMNelson and @Roundpeg.

Social Media Starter Kit