Back to Blog

5 email ideas for engaging donors

E-mail is still a powerful tool for nonprofit communication. In fact, eighty-two percent of consumers open emails from companies, which opens the door for donations, increased website traffic, social media followers and communication with your donors and volunteers. Regardless of what stage your audience is in—newcomers to your organization or long-time supporters—your nonprofit needs to be engaging with them through e-mail communications.

Here are 5 types of e-mails you should consider sending to the different segments of your nonprofit’s audience:

1. The welcome e-mail

Send a welcome e-mail to new supporters who subscribe to your e-mail list. Your e-mail should welcome them to your organization, introducing them to your culture and team, and inform them of the steps they can take to become engaged members of your organization. The goal is to make new subscribers feel welcome in your community and to let them know you care about them. Start the conversation off right in a friendly, conversational tone that represents your nonprofit’s mission and brand.

2. The disengaged subscriber e-mail

If you notice your open rates have dropped or particular subscribers haven’t opened your e-mails or interacted with your nonprofit in a while, it’s time to send the “disengaged subscriber” e-mail. For example, if subscribers have been disengaged for over 6 months, send an e-mail asking them to demonstrate if they would still like to hear from you (how frequently, using which channels, etc.), what has prevented them from opening past e-mails (i.e. too many e-mails or e-mails were not relevant). If they still do not engage, it is time to remove them from your list (side note: always have an “unsubscribe” option in your e-mail communications, too). Cleaning out disengaged e-mail subscribers from your list can lower the negative effects on spam rates and e-mail deliverability.

3. The anniversary donor e-mail

When your donors have reached a milestone donation anniversary, such as 12 months of recurring donations, send them an e-mail thanking them for their constant support. In addition, politely ask them to continue their support and consider upgrading their donation by a small percent. While it is important to be recruiting new supporters, nonprofits can also increase donations by asking current donors to give more.

4. The updated information e-mail

Over time, your donors’ payment or contact information becomes outdated. Send out an e-mail thanking them again for their current support and asking them to update their card information so their donations can continue to make an impact. As you probably know from personal experience, cards are often replaced or expire and it is easy to forget all the places that we need to update that payment information. As an organization, asking outdated cardholders to update their information is a relatively cheaper and easier option than acquiring new supporters.

5. Fun information and updates

All of your donors can benefit, no matter their stage in their relationship with you, but informative e-mails throughout the year. Think creatively about how you can dress up content in different ways to encourage conversation and donations online. A few ideas to get you started include:

  • A year-in-review email (great for a new spin on annual reports)
  • A blog series that highlights organizations or individuals that you’ve helped throughout the year due to donor contributions
  • Infographics that map out the success of your services
  • Links to visual elements such as photo albums on Facebook or Instagram pictures to showcase real faces of those you’re impacting

Don’t forget mobile!

In addition to content geared toward specific audiences, any e-mail that you send to donors should be done using mobile-friendly formats. This alone will engage your audience using the platform they prefer since well over half of emails (and for some audiences, even up to 70%) are read on mobile devices versus desktops.

Sending e-mails to your supporters and subscribers can increase engagement, help raise more money and donations and make your e-mail marketing program more efficient.

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

Grow your monthly giving program with our resources

Learn More