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5 successful email marketing ideas to retain donors

Retaining your donors through digital touchpoints, specifically email marketing, is a tactic that can be pre-planned and automated, yet personal enough to engage your audiences over time.

Here are five ways to rethink your email marketing this year to engage and retain your donors:

1. Personalize your message

Use your opening paragraph or lead story to appeal to your donors. Using words like “you” and “we” to build camaraderie, community and show that you are speaking directly to that one donor. Your donor CRM can help pull data to personalize your email campaigns such as first names, nicknames, birthdates, etc.

2. Test your subject lines

All subject lines should be short, informative and elicit curiosity to click (you want your donors to open each one!). Sometimes that means testing them out in an A/B matter. Change a word or two to see which subject line generates more opens.

3. Be informative

Your donors may not realize there are multiple ways to give. They may not always know about an upcoming event, gala or volunteer opportunity. Remove your internal hat as you are writing and think about what outside audiences may need to know (or don’t realize) about upcoming opportunities. Make it easy for them to click and engage to sign up, give or receive more information online.

4. Educate and tell the story

Along with thanking donors for their generosity and support, tell the story of how their funds are used. What have you been able to do this month, this quarter or this year with the donations that have come in so far? What stories of impact will provide additional information for continuous donations?

5. Be clear about your call to action

Each email campaign should have a clear call to action (CTA). This can be directing donors to an online donation form, reminding them to RSVP for an event, asking for volunteer sign-ups or collecting stories of why your donors give.

Stay organized, plan ahead

We know there are numerous emails your nonprofit needs to send each month to donors, partners, members and service recipients. It’s important to keep track of the dates these campaigns are being sent and to plan ahead. Our free Email Marketing Calendar template is designed to help.

By using this calendar template, you can plan for all of the steps mentioned above well before your email campaign is sent out. This email calendar template makes it possible for you to visualize content that is going out each month and throughout the year so you can make a plan for your donor touchpoints and never miss another email deadline.

Download your free Email Marketing Calendar template.

Additional tips

As you plan ahead, think of your campaign types and which calls to action (CTAs) you’ll use in each campaign. Create your email content using a third-party email system such as Mailchimp that integrates with your donor CRM. Doing so will help you see donor touchpoints within your system and, when compared to donor gift dates, may provide additional information as to which campaigns are effective for quick donations and which take longer to encourage donors to give a gift. Looking for great examples and additional content ideas? Check out these 6 organizations with great email marketing tactics to connect with donors.

Remember, ideas are only as good as their execution. Strategize your ideas and be successful in your donor messaging by planning ahead. Get started with your Email Marketing Calendar today. A little planning goes a long way. Here’s to your success!

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.

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