Aug 14, 2013
Email marketing has been an important tactic for charities that accept donations online for several years, but contributors' reactions to the messages in their inboxes are changing. For-profit companies use email campaigns to deliver value by sending personalized offers based on client interests. This trend has led target donors to expect relevant and engaging information in every email, according to an article in one of the Association of Fundraising Professionals' weekly e-newsletters.
Personalization significantly increases the chances recipients will click through to the website. When nonprofits send messages that interest their subscribers, people are more likely to read them. If readers engage with the content, they may have a higher chance of reading the next email they receive. Organizations can personalize emails based on previous donations, interests and past interactions, but many do not do this consistently.
How to personalize emails
Nonprofits need to consider email campaigns from the outside in and plan a strategy before getting started, The Nonprofit Times stated. It's important for the organization's marketing team to ensure the micro-content - the small part of the email recipients see before opening an email - is engaging. This can determine whether someone opens the email or discards it immediately. Subject lines are important for improving open rates as well.
Content should be relatable, and nonprofits can use emails to share stories. Engaging content is more important than email design. Many organizations get hung up on creating a visually appealing template, but readable content is more critical for engagement.
Charities can use personalization in several ways to maximize the effectiveness of an email campaign. Sending a thank-you to recent donors or volunteers can help continue the relationship. Nonprofits also utilize email marketing to remind contributors about upcoming events and ask for donations by matching opportunities to a prospect's fundraising interests. Organizations can leverage emails to verify a donor's information or uncover more information about the causes he or she is interested in, AFP said.
In business-to-consumer marketing, people are often annoyed by non-targeted communications, and it is no different for a nonprofit's audience. Sending generic communications can negatively impact an organization's relationship with their donors. Personalized content can keep constituents reading the message. While there is a time and place for one-size-fits-all emails, too many of these messages can lead to a less engaged subscriber list.