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Basics of email marketing for nonprofits

Lori Halley 12 February 2007 3 comments

Is your nonprofit using email - an effective and low-cost way of communicating with your members, donors and the public?

If the answer is yes, that's great! You already know the value of email marketing for your nonprofit.

If you're a start-up or small nonprofit, association or club and would like to start using email in your marketing strategy, then check out this nice article "7 Essential Elements for Email Marketing Campaigns". Written by Eve Smith, the article lists seven guidelines that will help your nonprofit develop and implement an effective email strategy:

  1. Brainstorm your marketing objective: Email campaigns can be used in a variety of ways, from fundraising to event management.  Begin your campaign by determining why you want to use email and for what purpose.
  2. Create a plan: Take time to write down your goals, message, email format, target audience and timing of your emails.
  3. Evaluate technology and staffing resources: How will you organize, track and send email?  Assess your internal resources to determine if you can manage the process in-house or if you should look to outside resources for assistance. 
  4. Build your list: Look at the ways you interact with your constituents and build in methods for them to provide you with email addresses.
  5. Draft, test and send your message: Treat every email from your organization with the same editorial care you give a print document.  Just because email is informal, don't let typos or grammatical mistakes go unchecked and ruin your organization's image.
  6. Evaluate your results: Assess your campaign's success and contact list's performance.  What worked and what didn't?   Are constituents responding to your request?  Can you track an increase in your Web site visitors, workshop registration or donor contributions due to the email?
  7. Start planning your next campaign: Your success in email marketing builds from one campaign to the next by applying lessons learned and trying out new approaches.  Consider designing campaigns to test different messages with different segments of your constituent base, and then use the results to fine-tune your message to your full list.

One final and important point that the article doesn't mention is privacy and security - issues that affect every nonprofit and that are becoming more important as data and information are moved online.

Since our Wild Apricot system includes an email component too, we know first hand how critical it is to be careful with email campaigns. Keeping that in perspective, only email people who gave explicit permission to be contacted and always provide a quick and easy unsubscribe function (and ensure it works).

Read the whole article "7 Essential Elements for Email Marketing Campaigns" and share your email best practices with us!  

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 12 February 2007 at 11:26 AM


  • ryan said:

    Friday, 04 April 2008 at 10:32 AM

    Just thought I'd post a link to Jeanne Jenning's book The Email Marketing Kit over at SitePoint for people who are new to Email marketing.  I used it when I first started and it has some great tips and techniques for maximizing your email campaigns.


  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Friday, 04 April 2008 at 11:06 AM

    Thanks for this, Ryan. With so many resources to choose from, it's good to hear from someone with firsthand experience!

  • Kinexus Internet Ltd said:

    Monday, 04 May 2009 at 9:51 PM

    Thanks for an inspiring article.

Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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