Tip of the Day: Getting Started with Broadcast Email

Editor's note: All this month we're publishing tech tips for nonprofits. Keep a look out for a new tip each day and let us know what you think in the comments. -Dan 

No matter how small your organization is, broadcast email is an effective way to communicate with donors and raise money without substantially raising your overhead. It’s not particularly complicated—here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Define Your Strategy. This includes formulating a plan, defining your campaign goals, and identifying and listing donors you think you can count on to give, and then creating a team to implement the campaign.
  2. Define Your Story. Tell supporters a story about how their gift makes a difference.
  3. Design Your Flow of Emails. For instance, you might design a campaign with four emails. The first frames your request, the second provides a different perspective, the third encourages people to donate at the last minute, and the fourth thanks people for their support.
  4. Choose a Broadcast Email Tool. A number of useful and affordable broadcast email packages can make it relatively easy to email hundreds, thousands or even millions of people at once. These tools help you format emails, let recipients subscribe and unsubscribe themselves, and help keep your mail out of spam filters.
  5. Choose a Donation Tool. Many donors who receive fundraising requests by email expect to be able to donate online. Luckily, a number of tools make accepting online payments easy, and most online donation tools work the same way.
  6. Build an Email List. The best email fundraising campaign is useless if you don’t have anyone to send it to. Keep in mind that bigger is not always better.
  7. Write Effective Emails. Think of a subject line that is intriguing and motivating. A simple “Help support our organization” might not get the same response as a “Help us raise $10,000 by midnight tonight!” Also, don’t forget to make your “ask” in multiple ways.
  8. Measure Your Success. Donation results and email metrics provided through your broadcast email tool help you understand the progress of your campaign and how to improve it.

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