Email Marketing for Non-Profits: Introduction

As announced previously, our focus for the next installment of Monday blog posts here at Blue Sky Factory will be on the non-profit world. Email marketing for non-profits isn’t substantially different at a strategic level than it is for for-profit companies. After all, to build a successful email marketing program for a non-profit, you still need:

  • An audience of people who want to hear from you.
  • Delivery of your message to that audience.
  • Audience members need to open your message.
  • Audience members need to take action after reading your message.
  • Metrics that measure the effectiveness of your message.

Where non-profits tend to be different than for-profit organizations is in step 4, where the audience takes action. For-profit companies generally just want you to take an action that leads to a business transaction of some kind. Non-profit companies tend to have a larger palette of actions to choose from. For example:

  • Donation to the non-profit
  • Advocacy for a particular piece of legislation
  • Encouragement/recruitment for volunteering
  • Donation to other allied organizations
  • Delivery of services to constituency

As with all forms of marketing, the most important place to start is with SMART non-profit business goals. SMART is an acronym coined by George Doran back in 1981, and means:

  • Specific. What is the end goal for your non-profit marketing program?
  • Measurable. What concrete, observable, trackable metrics will you use to let you know you’re achieving that goal?
  • Attainable. Do you have the actual capability to achieve that goal?
  • Relevant. Is the goal valuable?
  • Time-bound. When will you achieve the goal?

Once you know the overall goal of a marketing program – for example, using digital channels, run a fundraising campaign over 3 months for a net increase of $250,000 in the general fund – you can begin to reverse engineer how email will play a part in achieving that goal.

Next week, we’ll look at building your audience from a non-profit’s perspective. You’ll be surprised to learn that your audience is much larger than you think it is.

Christopher S. Penn
VP, Strategy and Innovation, Blue Sky Factory

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 4th, 2011 at 5:58 am and is filed under Best Practice, Non-profits. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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