4 Email Marketing Mistakes Most Non-Profits Are Making

You know that feeling you get when you put time and energy into something, but you’re not really confident it will get results, and you’re wondering if you’re making a mistake that you don’t know about?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. This is how a lot of non-profits feel about internet marketing in general, and particularly email marketing. Here are four of the most common mistakes non-profits are making with their email marketing campaigns:

1. Not testing enough (or at all)

Many non-profits don’t spend time tracking, testing, and refining their email marketing campaign, so it fails to deliver results.

Fortunately, getting started monitoring some basic metrics is pretty straightforward. Three important metrics to start tracking are; open rates, click through rates, and unsubscribe rates. You can test them initially with simple A/B split tests, whereby you split your list at random, sending two alternative emails and comparing the results.

2. Failing to optimize for mobile

Mobile is already the dominant platform emails get opened in, and according to The Radicati Group, by 2018, 80% of mobile users are expected to access their email using their phone.

To optimize for mobile, make sure you are using a responsive template. Most popular email service providers will already have this in place. Also be sure to follow general email best practices such as breaking up text frequently, not going too heavy on images or videos which slow down loading times, and using buttons instead of hyperlinks to improve clickability on touch screens.

3. Forgetting to set an intention

Before you send out a single email, you need to know the intention of both that email and your wider campaign. Too often non-profits assume that: a) Their audience is interested in their cause, and b) They want to hear from you.

Ask yourself “who are the people I am writing to, and what value am I providing them?” Remember that you and your audience are engaged in a story, so craft a clear narrative and learn how to create stories that are engaging, emotional and purposeful. Once you have determined what you are offering them, you can determine the next steps they can take, which should be in the form of a clear Call To Action.

4. Trying to build an instant list

Many beginners are tempted to buy or even rent a list, because they want immediate results. The problem is, they are low quality leads that just waste time. Also, by sending out emails to people who don’t have your permission, and don’t know who you are, you are damaging your reputation and you will likely get marked as a spammer. Be patient. A list can actually be grown simply and on a tight budget.

Remember, don’t be intimidated by email marketing. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll have a solid foundation for a campaign that will build a loyal and engaged community, and raise more money. Just ask Roadrunner Food Bank, a New Mexico based non-profit which saw their email campaign return 12.5 times the industry average!

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