How to Benefit from Email Marketing as a Non-Profit Organization

What benefits email marketing holds for you

Non-profits change the world for the better. They are committed to putting all their energy, time and passion in their work and doing something good. Non-profits make an important contribution to our society. In today’s article you will learn how non-profit organizations can achieve and change even more with the help of email marketing.

Non-profit organizations in most cases don’t have as much human, financial or state resources. Competition for donations is also growing. How can they still be successful? Strategic email marketing certainly plays an important role. “But isn’t marketing advertising and, consequently, manipulation?” you may ask.

Let’s put it this way: Email marketing is an excellent and efficient communication instrument to engage, inform and educate your target group. There is hardly a more suitable and economical communication tool for your company to successfully achieve your goals and reach your target group.

What benefits email marketing holds for you

Not only do you save (print) costs and time because creating an email is easy, you also strengthen your image and build an emotional bond with your subscribers. You have the chance to inspire, connect and generate donations with just one click. And if you do everything right, with a little planning and strategy you can turn your newsletter into an effective means of communication.

Before you get started with your email marketing, we recommend taking a closer look at the following aspects.

What do you want to achieve with your email marketing?

Your newsletter is your most important communication tool in your marketing mix. But before you start and aimlessly implement your email campaign, first think about what you want to achieve with your newsletter.

• Do you want to strengthen the image of your organization and increase brand awareness?
• Do you want to acquire new volunteers for a particular project?
• Do you want to increase the number of newsletter subscribers?
• Do you want to stabilize donations in the long run?
• Do you want to increase the loyalty of you donors and supporters?

These objectives are only defined roughly here. The clearer you phrase your goals, the sooner you can decide what measures you need to take to achieve them. Be SMART – make your goal specific, measurable, accepted, realistic and timely.

Example: You want to build a children’s home in India and need donations.

What is the goal and how do I want to achieve it?
Generate donation income with the help of email marketing for the sum of X for the construction of a children’s home in India.
How can you tell that you have reached your goal?
The amount X you need has arrived on your donations account X.
Is the team or are the participants behind the decision?
Your team agrees with the amount X.
Do you have sufficient resources to reach the goal within the specified time?
Do you have enough brand awareness, donors and subscribers to generate this amount by day X?
Timely: Clear deadline, when goal should be achieved.
The required amount should be credited to donation account X by the middle of 2021.

Who do you want to reach with your email marketing?

As a non-profit company, it doesn’t always make sense to appeal to the masses. In addition to your objective, it’s advisable to have a clearly defined target group. Do you know your target group? What does your target group want and need? Do you address donors, supporters or volunteers with your newsletter? This may vary from time to time. Think about it. Who might be interested in your topic, project or organization? If you would like to approach donors for your children’s home project, it may make little sense to approach supporters of environmental issues. Only when you know the needs of your target group can you satisfy them and prepare your newsletter, topics and stories accordingly. Also think about the right selection of images. Offer your subscribers some added value.

Ask for support:

Example (left)
The newsletter shows the picture of a girl who received help. The text tells what could be achieved for her. The donor is confirmed by the positive example in doing something good with their donation. The story gets more personal by mentioning the girl’s name in the text.

Example (right)
This example is a Christmas newsletter to potential donors. A time when many subscribers are very willing to donate. Striking: The short text arouses curiosity. The reader will most likely click on the CTA button. Plus: the newsletter shows happy faces smiling at the reader.

Give thanks or keep updated:

Example (left)
It doesn’t need many words to say, “Thank you”. An honest “Thank you” creates a bond between you and the donor. The image speaks louder than words. What’s interesting: There is no request for further donations or support. It remains a simple thank you, which also makes the newsletter authentic.

Example (right)
Donors are happy when they see what has been achieved with their donations. A few numbers and informative facts are often enough to keep your supporters up to date. With an emotional and authentic picture, you underline how happy and grateful people are about your help.

How to create an appealing and promising email newsletter

Whether environmental protection, education, health or social services – non-profits have very different goals and target groups. But they all have one thing in common: They all have a story to tell.

1. Tell your story

Stories are important to reach your readers emotionally. You don’t want to sell a product at a special price, but you want to motivate volunteers or encourage subscribers to donate. Quite simply because you are convinced that your project or action will do something good and make the world a little better.

Example: Building a children’s home in India

Let your target group know, how many children will find a new home in the future and where they come from. Write about what you want to achieve with this new children’s home. Maybe you’ve implemented a comparable project in the past. Write about previous success stories and experiences.

Your story can be emotional, but make sure you still are authentic and trustworthy. Focus on one core message.

2. Use images that go straight to the heart and appeal to your readers

Images are the first thing that strike the eye and appeal to your subscribers. Only after that do people read the actual message. Especially non-profits have countless possibilities to use images that convey emotions or inform in an entertaining way. Show images that give your subscribers an insight to your work. The effect of images is often underestimated. They’re also a part of storytelling and emphasizing the written word.

• Show your project and the people behind it. Your subscribers see with their own eyes what their money and/ or voluntary work can achieve.

• Smiling faces make people feel good. Sad faces arouse sympathy, but it’s always nicer to see that you’ve made someone happy.

• Take your time to select and process your images. If you don’t have any experience with image processing, ask someone who has some knowledge of image processing software such as Lightroom or Photoshop to optimize your images.

3. Make sure your email has a clear structure and meaningful headlines

Your readers decide within milliseconds whether they want to read your newsletter or not. It’s therefore crucial to give your newsletter a user-friendly design. Nobody wants to end up in a maze where they can’t find their way out. Don’t make your newsletter too long. Your readers don’t want to get the feeling to scroll down a digital papyrus scroll. For this reason, a tile-like, clear layout has proven its worth in the layout, in which different text and image elements are optimally separated from each other while still establishing a connection to each other.

Well-placed headlines structure your text, give a great overview and make curious. Give your subscribers the feeling of being part of the project.


Email Marketing is an important, efficient and economical communication tool for non-profits. It also gives you the possibility to regularly and creatively communicate with your subscribers in various ways.

Use email marketing to help potential donors, supporters, sponsors and volunteers learn about your work and goals. And use emotional themes, stories and images to encourage them to become part of your organization.



CleverReach Newsletter
Tips and tricks for successful email marketing!