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Build an Email List for Your Nonprofit With These Five Easy Strategies



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It might seem like email marketing should be a thing of the past – after all, we all get so many emails every day. But in reality, it’s the most effective way to grow a base of supporters and communicate with them. And it comes with a return on investment of 4,200 percent. (Yep! You read that correctly!)

To maximize fundraising and advocacy efforts, you should absolutely have an email marketing strategy. But if you’re a startup, how do you build an email list for your nonprofit?

Make building an email list for your nonprofit a priority.

Email is a great way to stay in touch with people who want to hear from you – you know because they signed up! It’s low-cost, timely, and your message can change quickly if it needs to. To take advantage of this option, building your nonprofit email list will need to be a top priority. Think of all the places you ask supporters to take action, both online and off. Where can you sneak in an option to sign up for your email list?

  1. Your website. Make sure your email signup is clear, appears frequently as users navigate your site, and is easy to find. Keep it “above the fold,” like a newspaper! Include a pop-up to collect email addresses, as well. Yes, they’re annoying – but they also work really, really well.
  2. Promoting your blog posts. Maintaining a regularly-updated blog on your website is a good idea for a lot of reasons. They’re also a great excuse to email your subscribers! Offer the ability to sign up for your email list and be the first to know when new blogs are published.
  3. Through a lead magnet strategy. Offer pieces of content like infographics or reports that people have to provide their email address in order to download. If you don’t already produce this kind of content, have no fear – lead magnets are easy to create! Think about your organization’s area of expertise and the value you can offer to subscribers.
  4. Social media. Don’t forget about social media! While you can accomplish a lot of great things via your profiles, your ultimate goal should always be moving your social supporters to more direct methods of communication. Build engagement on your social profiles, and then use that opportunity to consistently promote your email newsletter, your blogs, lead magnets, and more.
  5. Get friendly with local partners. Drumming up interest in your nonprofit can still include hitting the pavement around town. Ask local affinity groups, small businesses, faith organizations, and others to promote your organization (or your valuable, educational lead magnet!) to their networks.

Don’t forget your welcome sequence!

This automated series of emails for new subscribers is a chance for you to set expectations around frequency and content, make your value-add clear, and let supporters know what your organization is all about. Resist the temptation to make it a fundraising ask, though – save that for later!

Make sure you understand CAN-SPAM.

You might be tempted to buy an email list for your nonprofit, but that’s a surefire way to end up in the dreaded spam folder! And the more that happens, the more it will continue to happen. Your email provider will note how often subscribers are marking your messages as spam or sending them straight to the trash. You’ll be less likely to make it safely through to their inbox in the future, as a result. Understanding how to stay compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act is an important part of any successful email marketing strategy. It will help keep your subscribers happy and make sure your messages are safely delivered. There’s so much more to building an email list for your nonprofit!

Get access to the extended version of this article and lots of other great resources by joining NPO Centric’s membership program today.