Improving Your Email Campaigns

October 24, 2023

Guidelines for Successful Nonprofit Email Campaigns

Are you ready for year-end? As a lead-up to the busiest fundraising season for nonprofits, I’m sharing here some tips and recs for this year’s outreach. (While there may be some info here you already know and incorporate, I love reminders so we’ve compiled a range of suggestions for you so you can select and use what you need!) 

As you know, running a successful email campaign goes beyond crafting compelling content and hitting the send button. To truly make an impact and stand out from the digital noise, you must tailor your direct marketing email to your specific needs.

Here are the top digital marketing elements to monitor and always work on improving:


Whenever you can, tailor your email content to different donor segments based on factors like donation history, interests, and engagement levels. Personalized messages are more likely to resonate with recipients and drive action.

Craft Compelling Subject Lines

Create subject lines that are concise, compelling, and relevant to your cause.  Some tips we suggest include: incorporating the recipient's name in the subject line, asking a question, and making the subject longer or shorter to see what works best. A/B test different subject lines to increase user engagement and lead to more conversions. 

Tell a Story

Storytelling is a great way to convey your work and impact. Share details about the individuals or communities your nonprofit serves, keeping the focus on those who benefited from your work and the donations you receive. Ultimately, your goal is to create an emotional connection so that supporters are more likely to engage with your mission.

Consistent Branding

Maintain a consistent brand image across all your email communications (actually it should be consistent across all of your communication….). Visual consistency helps supporters recognize your organization easily. You should have a branding kit with logos, color, typography (i.e. fonts), and messaging, including a mission statement, that is included in all of your materials.

Mobile Optimization

Many people check their emails on mobile devices. Ensure your emails are mobile-responsive to provide a seamless user experience and increase engagement.

Test and Optimize

We keep bringing this up, but it is so important to test your content. A/B testing allows you to experiment with different email elements such as subject lines, content, and Calls to Action (CTAs). Regularly analyze the results to refine your strategy. An often overlooked factor is the optimal day/time to send.  Popular email platform MailChimp confirms that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday have traditionally been favorite days to send email campaigns with Mondays and Fridays being among the worst. And forget the weekend–no one is checking their email on the weekend.

But don’t take our word for it–test, test, and test some more.  See what your recipients react best to.

Compliance with Regulations

Adhere to email marketing regulations like the CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR (if applicable). Nonprofits must respect recipients' privacy, provide opt-out options, and please: never ever email someone if they opt out of your emails. You can read more about email compliance and standard practices here

Next week we’ll have “Part 2” of this series, focusing on specific metrics for nonprofit email campaigns. If you’re just starting to plan your year-end activities and are looking for a great tool to manage all you need to do, request your complimentary Focus End of Year Campaign Tracker by emailing us at

Digital marketing strategies for nonprofits email campaings.
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