5 Secrets to Email Marketing


What You'll Learn

By Emily Rudder, Jr. Digital Strategist

Perfecting email marketing is the key to running effective fundraising campaigns. Email is cheap, so why not make the most of it! Using these 5 simple tips, you can make your message stand out, and cultivate your donors long-term.

1. Use segmentation to bring in the dough

Your audience is unique, and you should treat them as such. Segmentation makes this possible! Email segmentation is the creation of smaller lists from your larger email file. By segmenting your list, you can send targeted campaigns to each audience. According to studies, they have a 14.3% higher open rate1, 63% higher click rate1, and drive 18 times more revenue.2 With segmentation, you can reach the right person, with the right message, at the right time.

How do you create segments?

Surveys, user preferences, and sign up details can all help you with setting segments. Most Email Service Providers have a default email preference page. Use this page to ask users for information that can be segmented.

A few sample questions:

  • What types of emails do they like receiving?
  • What time of day do they prefer to receive emails?
  • How frequently do they prefer receiving updates?

You should also segment by donor history or relationship to your organization. Volunteers should receive different messaging than donors, and monthly donors should receive a unique communication stream, separate from your smaller house donors.

2. Tell a meaningful story

Once your segmented lists are set, personalize your message for that audience. Make it emotional or relatable. Tug at the heartstrings. Share specific examples and testimonies. Use numbers to demonstrate your need and successes.

Use these steps to tell your story:

  1. Establish an arc
  2. Introduce a problem
  3. Demonstrate a solution
  4. Include a call to action

3. Dot your i’s cross your t’s, keep it simple

Think of your email like your Manhattan apartment – every square inch is important! You wouldn’t waste space on unnecessary items. The first few sentences of an email are crucial to capturing donor attention. This is your chance to fire them up. Don’t waste time introducing your organization – they know who you are. Add donate links to the top of the copy; don’t wait until the 3rd paragraph.

Keep it short and keep it simple. Use concise wording. Include white space between paragraphs to space the copy appropriately. Condense the text to make scrolling shorter on mobile and keep readers engaged. Don’t link to multiple pages in one email; send every click to one main site. Too many links can deter the message.

4. Test, test, test!

When at first you don’t succeed, test, test again. Using A/B testing is the best way to send emails that will generate the most revenue.

Test these elements:

  • Length (subject line, copy)
  • Personalization (subject line, salutation, ask string)
  • Content (feminine vs. masculine, stories)
  • Call to Actions (Donate vs. Donate Now vs. Make a Gift vs. I’m in!)

5. Make it pretty

In today’s digital age, we read so many articles and promotions that your email needs to stand out. Templates are your friend and can be used to create visual consistency. Never forget that emails are an extension of your brand.

A picture is worth 1,000 donations. Pro tip: banners with subjects looking at the viewer perform better. But don’t forget that your email also needs to look good on a mobile device. 53% of nonprofit emails are opened on mobile devices.3

How to design mobile-friendly emails:

  • Use a one-column template
  • Be concise to avoid a lot of scrolling
  • Have a clear call to action that’s easy to click
  • Use web-safe fonts at a larger point size
  • Use images sparingly
  • Use high-contrast colors


1MailChimp – Effects of List Segmentation on Email Marketing Stats (2017)

2Jupiter Research (2014)

3Campaign Monitor – The New Rules of Email Marketing (2015)

About the author
Faircom New York
Whatever you do, we raise the funds to help you do it.

Faircom New York is an award-winning nonprofit marketing agency composed of passionate, humanitarian and fundraising professionals who work with your nonprofit team to raise funds at every donor level and through every channel of giving.

We have specialized teams who work together to produce, coordinate and execute highly integrated fundraising campaigns. In other words, we tailor our fundraising services to meet your unique needs. This is how Faircom New York differs from every other nonprofit marketing agency.

Let's propel your nonprofit organization to new heights

Choose Faircom New York as your nonprofit marketing agency and propel your organization to new heights with our award-winning marketing and fundraising services. We’ll help your nonprofit raise funds online, by mail, via social media, on mobile, peer to peer, or events.

For a FREE overview please reach out today