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Emailing for Nonprofits: Best Practices to Ensure Deliverability and Engagement

Today’s post covers a few practices that will ensure deliverability of your organisation's emails and help create an engaged community, whether you are just starting to build your email list or you have been communicating with your stakeholders for a number of years now.

Wednesday 11th November 2020

"How do we get our audience to open, read and engage with our emails?"

This is the question many organisations, including charities, churches and community groups, would like to have answered. To shed light on the topic, we are publishing a 3-part series of blog posts dedicated to email communication and marketing.


Last week on our blog we discussed how important sending emails and communicating with stakeholders is for nonprofits. Compared to social media, where confusing algorithms are often at work, emails are a more reliable tool for strengthening engagement and building community. They go directly into the inboxes of your members, supporters or donors, so you have an opportunity to deliver your message without being interrupted.


The only obstacle here is that on occasion emails end up in a Spam folder and do not get seen by your audience at all. This happens for many reasons, but the most common ones are using unverified domains, not updating email addresses on your list, and finally your audience not engaging with your emails. Check out our previously published series dedicated to helping your messages avoid Spam folders that also covers a few practical ways infoodle can help you reduce Spam.


So, what are the solutions? Today’s post is focusing on a few more practices that will ensure deliverability of your emails and help you build an engaged community. We hope they will be of help whether you are just starting to build your email list or you have been communicating with your stakeholders for a number of years now.


1. Know your audience

Talking to your members about things that are of interest to them is crucial. If you are not sure what they want to hear about, create a poll or a survey to ask them about the topics, questions or news they would like to receive from you.


2. Be consistent

When someone subscribes to your newsletter, make sure to send them a confirmation email where you greet them and welcome them to your community. In addition, you can point them to valuable resources on your website, let them know how they can be involved with your organisation, or explain what kind or communication they will be receiving from you further. After that, connect with them on a regular basis: weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Also, make your messaging consistent by using the same colors, fonts and graphics.


3. Make the right offer

If your audience consists of several different segments, make sure you communicate with them appropriately. Your donor do not necessarily need to hear that you’re hosting an afternoon tea party for volunteers, so adjust the information you are sharing depending on the group you’re sending it to.


4. Personalise your emails

All email service providers give you an option of adding a personalised greeting at the beginning of your email, as well as an opportunity to use a person’s name throughout the email. Use these salutations to give your message a personal touch and connect with your members better.


5. Create mobile friendly templates

How often do you check your email on your phone? How often do you get frustrated that you cannot read the text or see the full image because it was not optimised to fit a mobile screen? Remember to send yourself a test email and check it on your phone: Are your graphics and buttons aligned? Is the font easy to read?


6. Optimise your emails

Try A/B testing by splitting your audience into 2 groups and sending them emails with different Subjects or a slightly varied message and observe which version receives more engagement such as clicks on blog posts, subscriptions, etc. This will allow you to learn the “right words” that people on your list respond to and communicate better next time you create a message.


7. Keep language simple

Do not overcomplicate your message: try to make it clear and concise. If your email has a purpose (you want your members to read a blog post or register for an event), do not hide your offer or bury it under a long introduction. Just say what you need and include a Call-to-Action button or link that they cannot miss.


8. Always, always, always send a test email

Did we mention ALWAYS? There’s nothing worse than receiving dozens (or even hundreds) responses telling you that your CTA button doesn’t work or a link to your offer is broken. Test emails are there to help you ensure that correct posts and pages are linked properly, all buttons work well and basically there are no glitches. Use this function to your advantage.


And there you have it: a few fundamentals of email communication that will help you sharpen your messaging and build a strong, engaged and well-informed community of stakeholders. Come back next week to hear about exciting infoodle email system updates that are coming soon!