All nonprofits want to increase donations. Only a few nonprofits have discovered the power of creating an email nurture campaign to do it. Here’s how it works.
An email nurture campaign is an automated series of emails that are sent to a user based on an action that they have taken. For example:
- A user signs up to get your monthly newsletter, likely because they are interested in what your nonprofit is about.
- You capture that information (hopefully into a nice email automation system like MailChimp) and the following happens automatically.
- Your nonprofit sends a personalized thank you email to the user.
- Three days later your nonprofit sends an email to the user suggesting some ways they might get involved and mentioning donations as a possible avenue.
- Seven days later your nonprofit sends an email to the user asking if they would consider a $15 per month donation to help support X cause.
- If the user clicks on the donation link, you do nothing, and the user gets your regular newsletter from that point forward.
- If the user did not click on the donation link in the email, you wait 30 days and send one more email asking for a donation.
All of this is completely automated and happens without you having to do anything at all. Consider if this played out 100 times. How many donations do you think you might get that you otherwise would not have?
If you are serious about starting an email nurture campaign for your nonprofit, you must consider how to capture, nurture, and convert.
Capturing a user’s information isn’t easy. Start by thinking about why users are coming to your nonprofit’s website. What is it about your organization that has intrigued them? Now, is there anything that you can create that would be interesting enough for them to share their email address with you?
For example, if you are an animal shelter, you can surmise that people coming to your website clearly like animals. Based on that assumption, you might also assume that they own animals. To get the user interested enough to give an email, you might consider offering them an e-book titled “20 fun and interesting things to do with your dog today.” That will likely pique their interest just enough to give you that all-important email address.
You might also be able to capture an email address when a user is signing up to volunteer or attend an event, or just signing up to get your monthly newsletter.
Now that you have the user’s email address, it’s time to nurture the relationship between your nonprofit and the user. The goal here is to build rapport and to help the user get more interested in what your nonprofit is doing in the community.
Nurturing in the context of an email campaign means that you are sending the user follow-up emails that are as tailored as they can be to that user’s interests. For example, if you run a dog shelter and the user signed up for the newsletter on a page specifically about golden retrievers, it would be ideal to follow up with emails about your shelter’s work with gold retrievers, rather than just generic info about dogs. Obviously, this level of customization is difficult to achieve, but if you take the time and dig in, it can be done.
An email nurture campaign for a nonprofit to increase donors could be a three to five email series.
Now it’s time to convert this individual from being a website user and email recipient to a donor to your nonprofit. Converting a user is about asking. If you have nurtured the relationship well, the user will have become more and more interested in what your nonprofit is doing. As they have become more interested, they will also likely have made a bit of an emotional investment into what your nonprofit is doing.
Now that they have invested emotionally, it’s time to ask them to invest financially. This is best done with a clear, concise, specific call to action. For example, you might say, “We would love for you to remain involved with our nonprofit. Would you consider giving $40 today to help us save two dogs?” That ask is specific; you are asking for $40 today. And it shows the user how that $40 is going to do good by saving two dogs. This is the type of ask that motivates a user to become a donor.
The Wrap Up
So there you have it, a starting point for getting your nonprofit to use email nurture campaigns. What is your next step? I would strongly consider checking out MailChimp. They have marketing automation as I have described and it is available as a part of their free plan for nonprofits (and anyone really) that has an email list under 2,000 or so.