Media Management

Marketing tactics and software optimize email messaging for NPOs

Nonprofit software can improve an organization’s ability to connect with donors through email. From a marketing standpoint, email helps keep brands relevant to their customers and reinforces their position as a leader in an industry. Nonprofit organizations should use email messages for these purposes as well, with an added focus on a call to action from constituents.

Opening an email
As one of the most popular forms of communication today, email can be a bit overwhelming. Inboxes are often flooded with promotions from retailers, meeting invitations and newsletters from subscriptions. Differentiating a nonprofit from these is the key to ensuring donors open a message.

According to LinkedIn, composing an ideal subject line can influence readers to open an email message from a nonprofit. Subject lines containing 6 to 10 words have the highest open rate. Anything above or below this range decreases the likelihood an email will be read by 5 to 6 percent. If it is widely known that many constituents use their mobile device to access email, err on the side of a shorter subject line as it will be easier to read. Organizing donors by age group may be helpful in this situation; younger givers might be more prone to check their smartphones than a desktop.

Adding a recipient’s name to the subject line can increase their open rate by up to 2.6 percent. In fact, personalization of email messages both in the title and the body improves the experience for the reader.

When possible, incite a sense of urgency and curiosity with the subject line. Entrepreneur magazine stated that a compelling take on an otherwise familiar topic can grab the attention of a reader and convince him or her to open a message. Especially as year-end giving season approaches, nonprofits should be alerting their donors to how many days are left to give or promote a countdown to the final tally of a particular fundraiser. Those who have given will want to know where the organization stands; those who haven’t may be inspired to be the person that helps the NPO meet their goal.

Formatting the message
When designing both the subject line and the body text, consider whether or not the formatting will bombard the recipient with too much at once. Using all capital letters or excessive exclamation marks can drive readers away. It also looks unprofessional.

To deliver information in a more concise way, bullet points or numbered lists can help. This makes it easier for donors to digest and retain the most important information in the message. Any information that is too long or devoid of formatted breaks in text will dissuade donors from reading the entire message.

Getting Attention advocated the trusted adage “show-not-tell.” Nonprofits should avoid using industry jargon and buzzwords to convey an important message. Instead, infographics or compelling images can be used to get the point across clearly.

Choosing quality content
When determining why to send an email or what to include in the message, The Grow Report encouraged making an announcement about a successful campaign or event. Demonstrating tangibly to donors that their money, time and efforts are making a difference will increase the likelihood that they give again. Include photos, videos and statistics to provide a well-rounded picture of the story. In fact, directly relating the story of the event in the body of the email adds context to the message for those who weren’t involved.

Finally, always end an email with a call to action and provide donors with direct links to the nonprofit’s website and social media pages.

Of course, composing the perfect email works best when NPOs have extensive donor contact lists. Nonprofit software helps organizations keep track of their constituents’ email addresses, preferences and donation profiles for a more personalized and profitable experience.