Email is your best friend, isn’t it (unless you’re on the receiving end of the hundreds of spam emails you wish you never subscribed to)? But as organizations with loyal and bought-in subscribers, this is one of the best tools for communication.
- Need volunteer sign-ups? Send an email.
- Have one final push for end-of-year giving? Send an email.
- Have a project you’re excited about and need to cast vision? Send an email.
- Hosting a large event for your nonprofit? Send an email.
And while there are several other methods of communication that can accompany your email sends, nonprofits and ministries put a lot of eggs in the email basket. For that reason, if you want heavy readership and high open rates, it’s crucial that you think through your email strategy and not just haphazardly send emails off on a whim or every single time you think of something you may want people to know about.
Things to think through before you send out the email:
- What is the purpose of this email?
Have you really thought through what this email is for and if it’s 100% necessary? You don’t want to tire your recipients with emails that are not intentionally crafted and with a clear objective. Make sure you understand exactly what this email is for (or if it should wait and be a part of a larger recap or meeting) before firing it off.
- Who am I sending this to?
All subscribers are not equal and shouldn’t be communicated with as such. Some subscribers are volunteers and don’t give, some are large donors, some attend your church weekly and are involved in groups, and some just showed up for the first time a couple weeks ago. Communicate with them at the level that they are engaged with relevant messages in order to enhance engagement with your emails. The broader and more irrelevant the messages are, the less your emails will be read over time.
- Why should they care?
Make sure you tell them what is in it for them! Why should they care? This, again, reinforces the need for segmented communication, but also reminds us that we need to clearly communicate the win for them.
Asking people to sign up to volunteer for your church greeter team? Help them understand how they become part of the church mission, can find new friends and community and be a part of something bigger than themselves. That sounds a whole lot better than “we need you to commit 3 hours of your weekend to smiling at people at the front doors who don’t smile back.” ;)
- What is the call to action?
Make sure they clearly understand the next step they need to take! Don’t tell them your need and (A) leave them guessing how they take action or (B) make the action needed complicated. Give them an easy first step, and you’ll see more people ready to make moves.
- When should this email be sent?
Study up on your email analytics and see what days and times are best for your lists. For example, if you’re emailing some of your top donors who are all business executives, you may notice emails on Mondays through Fridays during work hours are not read as much as email sent on Saturday mornings. Whatever rhythm your recipients respond best to, try and accommodate your email sends with those to increase your open rate.
Email strategies become more fine-tuned with testing and adjusting as you notice higher open rates and click-throughs, craft strategic subject lines, and as you continue to further segment your lists. If you ever need help incorporating email strategies into your marketing, you know what to do. Let’s chat.