3 tips to boost nonprofit email outreach

May 30, 2014

3 tips to boost nonprofit email outreach

When used correctly, email is a great tool for reaching out to donors. A well-crafted message can be shared with many recipients all at once, and can even be personalized using the right software. Email is less costly to send than direct mail, and it's more interactive, allowing nonprofits to include images, hyperlinks to more information and other components.

However, changing Internet use habits mean that nonprofits need to be proactive if they want to keep their outreach efforts as relevant as possible. The increasing use of mobile devices to view email – 41 percent of all opens, according to Campaign Monitor – means that the structure and content of emails need to change as well. With that in mind, here are three pieces of advice to boost the effectiveness of email outreach:

  1. Keep messages short and sweet: The small screens of tablets and smartphones mean less display area. The messaging in an outreach email should feature short paragraphs so readers can digest complete thoughts as they scroll through. Having a clear call to action that includes a link to a specific campaign landing page can also be very helpful. Nonprofit Technology Network recommends using a single, large button to guide potential donors to the next step the sender wants them to take.
  2. Have a clear flow: While it's important to go in-depth when describing the effectiveness of a particular campaign and its goals or results, an email isn't necessarily the place to do so. Instead, an informative message that has a short introduction and is followed by paragraphs giving broad overviews – and links to different efforts – can be much easier on the eyes of mobile readers and let them focus on what they find interesting.
  3. Make sure webpages are responsive to mobile devices as well: Getting a potential contributor to jump from an email to a landing page is a big step – but it isn't the only one. Nonprofits need to make sure their websites are responsive to mobile browser use. Nonprofit Technology Network advises nonprofits on a tight budget to consider using an inexpensive WordPress theme if they don't have the funds to completely redesign their websites. This small commitment of time and money will lead to more chances to convert mobile device users into contributors.

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