3 essential email truths for nonprofit marketers!

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Friendster, music videos, and half the characters from Game of Thrones may be dead, but nonprofit email marketing most certainly is not!

According to the 2016 M+R benchmarks study, email marketing accounted for more than a third (34%) of online revenue for the top 25 nonprofits. Yet in a digital age full of online noise, effective email marketing can be tricky.

Based on our expert experience and some insightful research from M+R’s study, we’ve highlighted 3 things successful nonprofits are doing to boost their online email marketing revenue.

Feel the Churn!

Anyone who’s ever attempted an email campaign knows that hard bounces and unsubscribes are an email marketer’s worst nightmare. Although the churn conundrum is unavoidable, it can be more manageable for nonprofits through donor management programs.  These types of CRM platforms help busy nonprofits more easily identify inactive donors and segment messaging to more responsive constituents.

Allyson Fluke, FrontStream’s Director of Online Marketing, says, "Segmentation is essential when communicating with your donors. It allows you to send potential new donors and repeat donors relevant messaging. Email marketing is only as successful as the planning you put behind the campaign.

"Using an automated donor management program to support your email marketing efforts allows you to accomplish all of this and much more because all of your data is in a central location. It gives you a complete 360 degree view of your donors."

Growing, Growing, Grown!

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but growing your list of leads and subscribers is your best shot at reaching new audiences and converting them into donors, sympathizers, and champions for your cause. Obvious, yes, but easier said than done.

The M+R study shows that nonprofits reported spending 38% (the majority of a budget split 5 ways) of their online advertising budget on lead generation advertising. This is certainly a benchmark that supports the powerful role of acquiring quality inbound leads through email marketing.

While investing money in lead generation is a worthy strategy, there are also inexpensive alternatives to acquiring new supporters. Are you effectively engaging your current email list?  Using social media to tell your nonprofit’s story, establishing strong call-to-action elements on your website, and empowering your most loyal constituents to engage new audiences on your behalf, are all cost-effective ways to grow your fundraising year-over-year.

Pump Up the Volume!

Another often overlooked characteristic of successful nonprofit email marketers is that they simply send out more appeals than others do.  The M+R study points out that "the top 25 revenue growers averaged 27 fundraising appeals per subscriber...everyone else averaged 16."  Another notable benchmark indicates that for every 1,000 emails sent, the average NPO will earn about $44 dollars.

What does all this mean? A higher volume of emails equals more revenue, and you don’t have to be a mega nonprofit with an unlimited budget to be successful at email fundraising. You just have to push past the status quo in your email appeals, and "pump up the volume" like you’re teen rebel Christian Slater circa 1990!

Want to take your nonprofit’s online revenue to the next level? Email marketing continues to be the one of the most viable avenues for growth! Successful email fundraising programs leverage strategic donation management, targeted appeals, and diverse inbound lead tactics.

If you’d like to learn more about the essential tools to help you manage strategies like these, check out our Resource Library for additional tips and insights!


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