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Mastering Nonprofit Email Part 2: Putting the Power of Email to Work

In our previous blog Mastering Nonprofit Email Part 1: Email Overview and Address Collection ( we saw that email is a powerful marketing tool and reviewed some methods for growing your email list. Now, let’s put those addresses to work and use the power of email to benefit your association.

Remember That Touchpoints Mean Trust

As we mentioned in our previous blog, the trust relationship that turns someone into a donor or member needs a number of “touchpoints,” or repeated exposure to the organization’s message and presence. This has been an important marketing principle since the early days of newspaper advertising and is true today. That’s one reason email is powerful. It gives you a way to show up in the subscriber’s email box at their invitation. The relationship starts with a small trust, and then each email you send is a potential touchpoint.

What Problem Are You Solving for the Reader?

You want your audience to keep allowing you into their inbox, so you need a reason for them to keep you there. If you’re solving one or more problems for them, they are more likely to stay on your list, more likely to open your emails, and more apt to trust you.

If your organization is a charity, showing the reader that you address the issue they are concerned about in an effective way “solves” the problem for them to some extent, but still invites them to be involved. With an association, you can help them solve pressing problems related to career advancement, challenges unique to their profession or art, enjoying a well-earned retirement, etc.

Each time you prepare email content for your audience, ask yourself, “What problem do they have, and how are we helping to solve it?”

“Selling” With Email

Often our goal is to have the subscriber open their wallet for a donation or membership. Though this isn’t selling per se, a sales email sequence can help us get there.

In such a sequence the company:

● Identifies the problem and how they can help

● Provides evidence that overcomes the customer’s reluctance—Testimonials, case studies, facts that overcome sales objections, etc.

● Asks for the sale and closes the deal.

How might this look for an association? Let’s create a sequence for an association of accounting professionals:

An accountant signs up for a report on new deduction rules for the 2022 tax year.

Email 1: Delivers the report PDF and a short greeting

Email 2: Talks about the problem of accessing networking opportunities and accurate professional information in the accounting field, and how the association provides both

Email 3: A testimonial from an accountant whose practice grew 25% as a result of joining

Email 4 & 5: Each addresses a typical reason potential members are reluctant to join

Email 6: Asks the accountant to join

A sequence like this can be adapted to whatever problem your organization solves.

The Need to Nurture

What if that email asking for the “sale” doesn’t work? This is where the nurture campaign comes in.

Nurture campaigns are a way to remain top of mind with potential donors or members (or even those who are already on board) by showing up in their inbox on a weekly basis and giving them value. This may include tips, industry news and analysis, announcements of other content types like a blog post or video, etc. In the case of charities, it can include weekly updates that show donor dollars making a real difference.

Nurturing content can be almost anything so long as it’s a good answer to that question “What problem do they have, and how are we helping to solve it?”

Showing up regularly to remind them you have solutions—and creating dozens of touchpoints—will create trust. That will turn them into the donor or member you’re looking for, and they’ll come aboard with a smile.

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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