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3 Solid Email Marketing Tips for Not-for-Profits by Erika Roe @erikaroe

3 Solid Email Marketing Tips for Not-for-Profits by Erika Roe @erikaroe

3 Solid Email Marketing Tips for Not-for-Profits

Email can be a great way to communicate with your donors – if it’s relevant, timely, and targeted. It can also be used as a conversation starter (offering them one of your services or to attend an event) but isn’t an advertisement.

Before you get started: Be sure you also define the objective, the offer, and your target audience. Who do you want to reach and why are you sending them an email? What is your purpose of sending this email and how can you leverage email to do this? Is there a way you can use email to guide them to your website? Or can you make better use of the email by giving them an incentive to forward the news to their friends who also might have similar interests?

Here are some more suggestions:

  1. It’s okay to take a little more risk. In non-profits, your donors and friends are likely already passionate about your cause. Write the email from the perspective that you are offering to help them – write it from the customer service perspective.  Any email that looks like a personal note with a real signature from someone at the non-profit is also very effective. It shows you are really interested in them.
  2. Be sure to test! Testing your email helps improve the effectiveness of your communications. Why did they respond to this one more quickly than the last? You can test a variety of things including the subject line, from name and email, incentives, and send times. You’ll want to target specific donors at specific times to reach them – many people already complain they get too much email.
  3. Don’t use “marketing speak”. Don’t speak to your donors like you are trying to sell them something. Talk to them like a real friend, a supporter. They aren’t a target, they are a person. Email isn’t free advertising and it certainly isn’t a blast.


Personalizing and testing your email is extremely important and you need to do it all the time. Also keep your reader top of mind and read your email from their perspective, not yours.

About Erika Roe:

Erika Roe is the Matching Gift Manager at NC State University. She has been in higher education since 2006 and worked and volunteered in non-profits since 2003 including the North Carolina Symphony and WCPE Radio. This summer she will complete her MBA in marketing. She also received the Red Pill Email award and is a contributor on SupportingAdvancement.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/erikaroe
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikaroe

  • Profile:  Jeff Ginsberg has 17+ years’ experience and is an industry known authority on email marketing who gets in the trenches with clients and helps them fulfill their marketing objectives, increase revenue and brand engagement. Clients rely on him and his team at The eMail Company to provide them with expertise from strategy to technology and from campaign management to channel integration. Jeff has worked with clients across all spectrums in the financial, automotive, retail and consumer packaged goods space. His experience covers both B2B and B2C markets. He has a strong background in educating and training agencies and clients about email best practices and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to marketing tools and vendor selection. While Jeff’s team may be small, they know how to solve BIG email marketing problems. Looking for help with your next campaign? Don’t be afraid to give him a call – Jeff and his team ready to help you today. Give me a call: Toll Free: 877-We-eMail (877-933-6245) Local: 416-225-7711 eMail: jeff@theemailcompany.com
  • Website:  http://www.theemailguide.com
  • Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/theemailguide
  • LinkedIn:   http://ca.linkedin.com/in/chiefemailofficer
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