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Mastering Nonprofit Email Part 1: Email Overview and Address Collection

Hasn’t social media replaced email in the marketplace? After all, there probably wouldn’t be banner headlines, nail biting, and loud debate if Elon Musk had purchased MailChimp instead of Twitter. Even if email is still important, isn’t it far less useful for a nonprofit organization than it is for a corporation that can embed sophisticated code in their emails and get their huge marketing department to write perfect conversion copy?

The answers? No, and no. In this blog and the next, we’re going to make the case that email is still crucial and is a powerful tool for organizations of any size and mission.

Email is a Powerful Lever

Email is far more targeted than most marketing methods and has most of the upsides and none of the drawbacks of social media.

Permission—The fact that the recipient has opted in means you’re definitely talking to your target market when you hit “send.”

Better Reach Than Social—There’s no need to fight the algorithm or pay extra to boost content. While 19 out of 20 followers won’t see your Facebook post in their feed, every single email subscriber will see you in their inbox.

Touchpoints—To have trust in your organization, a donor or potential member needs to have at least several “touchpoints” where they encounter your message. A touchpoint might be a billboard, a friend’s recommendation, an online review…or a weekly email that keeps you top of mind whether they open it or not.

Collecting Email Addresses

But how do we get those addresses, so we can start talking to them? Here are some tips and best practices:

● Always tell them what’s in it for them—Don’t just say, “sign up for our newsletter.” Any time you ask for an email, tell the subscriber what they’ll receive in return. For example, a career-based association might offer a weekly tip or news item from the industry.

● Make sure you ask—Make sure your website’s home page and any landing pages have a prominent opt-in form, preferably in a different color or shade that pops.

● Put a signup button on your Facebook page—You have the option to put a prominent CTA button on your association’s Facebook page that links to your newsletter signup.

● Point Facebook ads to your signup—If you’re spending money on Facebook ads, have some of them promote your email content and point them to an opt-in form on your website.

● Offer a lead generator—Give the subscriber a report, checklist, short video course, or other helpful content for their address. One benefit of this method is that you can repackage parts of the lead generator, use them in social media posts and other marketing, then point back to email signup.

● Webinars—This is an especially good option for career-based associations. Attendees provide an email address for you to send the login information for the webinar; in return they receive helpful information.

● CTA’s in all new content—If you regularly post blogs or other content on your website, make sure there are opt-in buttons or forms in those posts. Conversion tends to be higher from these pages because the reader already sees you as a provider of useful information.

● Popups and exit-intent popups—Don’t shy away from using popups on your pages; they tend to have a 2% higher conversion rate than other types. However, you may prefer to use an exit-intent popup. This type of popup detects mouse movements that indicate the user is about to navigate away from your site and gives them a “before you go” message and chance at an opt-in form.

● Guest posts—Are members of your leadership writing for other blogs, newsletters, being interviewed by the media, guesting on podcasts, etc.? Add in a mention of the newsletter and an address for a landing page with an opt-in form.

In the next article, we’ll look at how to put the power of email to work.

Looking for help with your email outreach?

At V2, we’ve provided full service and outsourced services for national associations for many years and can provide the expertise you need. Get in touch with us today, and let’s see how we can improve your email campaigns together.


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