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Non-profits need a communication platform that is both convenient and efficient. Dealing with a number of donors, volunteers, team members and other support groups tends to be tediously mind numbing without a system that takes the nonprofit into consideration as much as the other parties that are in play. Most, if not all, nonprofits have adapted email marketing as a tool and the results are far from disappointing.

With email marketing, all you’ll need to do is compose an email, select a list of recipients and voila, your request for donation, reminder or expression of gratitude to your team is sent. Automation of emails that are tailored to suit the nonprofit’s needs is a huge bonus accrued through using email marketing.

Email marketing is therefore a vital tool for nonprofits. However, without oiling the cogwheels that enable this tool to run smoothly, the efficiency and effectiveness of it will be hampered. We have taken time to not only gather information on the best software for nonprofits but also to compile a short list of practices that are best for nonprofits with an email marketing tool.

Nonprofit email marketing best practices

  • Choose a good design

The visual appearance of an email forms grounds for assumption from your audience. An average user requires only 50 milliseconds to generate an assumption on your email.  50 milliseconds is not enough time to read the first word on your email. A casual glance is the only attention that can be paid within 50 milliseconds. So, if you want you want your audience to pay more than a casual glance to your plea for donation, how about getting a good design for your email?

In a nutshell, a good design includes the right font size and color, using the white space and avoiding the use of more than 3 colors in a single email.

A design that is mobile friendly is also an added bonus since over half off all emails are opened on mobile devices.

  • Keep an up-to-date email list

An email list should be updated frequently. A nonprofit with an outdated email list will encounter more bounces and a relatively fewer number of clicks than one with an updated one. This means giving your potential audience a chance to be participants by providing such options as ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’. Such allowances for voluntary reception will ensure that your emails don’t get spammed or ignored.

  • Go straight to the point

Just as you are busy maneuvering through your nonprofits day to day operation, your audience will also be busy attending to other tasks. A nonprofit should therefore avoid unnecessary content as much as possible and instead aim for an email that is straight to the point.

  • Have lively content

Dull and uninformative content is a bummer for emails. The audience will appreciate something that is witty and thought-inspiring. If they find it that, then chances are high they might share the email and therefore expand your audience. And you want a bigger audience, don’t you? So make it lively.

You can also check out our comprehsive list of best email marketing software in 2020.

Best Email Marketing Software for Non Profits

With the above practices in mind, let us go through 10 of the best email marketing software for nonprofits.

#1. Mailchimp

Mailchimp tops our list for the best email marketing software for nonprofits. Mailchimp is a free software that allows free mailing for up to 2000 contacts and 12000 emails per month. Mailchimp has an option for segmentation of these contacts with focus on characteristics. This coupled with a feature that allows for personalization, ensures that the right mail will reach the desired audience with a little personal touch.  These emails are automated and sent to the recipients automatically according to the time set and the frequency required.

Not only does Mailchimp allow for such precise automation, they have a Drag-and-drop editor that allows the sender to create branded email templates. This means that the emails will include the nonprofit’s logo with branded colors and enable the audience to recognize them immediately.

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As your nonprofit progresses, Mailchimp will integrate your mailing list with such platforms as social platforms and offer suggestions on possible additions to your mailing list. The bigger the audience, the more funding and support a nonprofit gets.

Mailchimp’s design is also mobile friendly. With numbers suggesting that half of all emails are accessed on these devices, Mailchimp ensures that participants, donors and other members of a nonprofit can access their emails whenever they want to on their portable devices.

Saving last for savoring, Mailchimp offers a 15% discount and a further option of an additional 10% if the client sets their means of security as their account. This is a pretty neat deal for nonprofits that wants to cut down on expenditure as much as possible.

Below is a screenshot of Mailchimp’s pricing plan.

Here’s more information on their plan if you need it.

#2. Aweber

Aweber starts its clients off by offering 3 months free service for new accounts and an additional 25% discount on invoices from then onwards. On joining, Aweber avails a wide variety of beautiful templates and a user-friendly interface. Aweber’s autoresponders also provide excellent automation of email campaigns and enable the nonprofit to maintain a relationship with its subscribers.

In addition to this, Aweber helps their clients monitor the success of their emails by providing a reporting tool.

This is a screenshot of Aweber’s pricing plan

#3. Drip

Drip uses Ecommerce CRM data. This feature lets you tag and identify the actions of clients. This allows the nonprofit to segment their client base according to their preferences and characteristics from their interaction with the internet. The data gathered enables personalization of market strategies in accordance with every unique taste and preference. This feature also allows users to build their brand to Instagram from their email.

When it comes to designs, Drip has a customization options and an array of templates available. They, however, exclude the drag-and-drop template builder.

Here is a snapshot of Drip’s pricing plan. For more, click here

#4. Benchmark

Benchmarks software is one of the easiest to use. Their main focus is saving their clients time and effort by enabling a quick set up and use without having to go through the process of acquiring manuals or searching for information elsewhere. Their customization option also avails a wide pool of features that are readily available. Email campaigns can be excellently streamlined on Benchmark since the software has a splendid autoresponder capability.

When it comes to Benchmark being pocket-friendly, this email software offers a 25% discount for nonprofits.

This software, however, doesn’t support segmentation as a tool for tailoring emails according to what the client might prefer.

#5. Campaign Monitor

A discount of 15% is the first pro that comes with nonprofits using Campaign Monitor. The software is easy to use without lacking the elegance that comes with other complicate software. Campaign Monitor merges with several CRM, event platforms and fundraiser activities therefore collecting as much data as possible for personalization.

The templates availed by Campaign monitor number in their hundreds and a drag-and-drop builder for emails is also present. Scheduled email sending in droves has been enabled on this software since the nonprofit can use it to create personalized customer journeys. The performance of emails sent can also be monitored in real-time with advanced analytics and additional tools for email testing.

Campaign Monitors pricing plan snapshot can be seen below. For more, click here

#6. Get Response

Get Response offers nonprofits a whopping 50% discount off their purchase. This is favorable for nonprofits that aim at having low operational costs without downgrading their delivery. It also has a sleek interface and campaign templates that are already pre-built. It incorporates a segmentation feature that is super specific hence making room for more effective personalization. A nonprofit using this software can integrate it with other platform such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so the message can be spread widely.

Below is a snapshot for their pricing plan. For more, click here

#7. VerticalResponse

If 10000 free emails per month sound like a pretty sweet deal, then your nonprofit should use VerticalResponse. And if you happen to send more than the stipulated 10000 emails, you will get a 15% discount on their monthly plans. VerticalResponse tops this with a Heat Map function that enables their users to pinpoint locations where their clicks originate. The software is easy to use and includes a similarly easy ROI reporting feature.

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See a snapshot of the pricing plan for VerticalResponse below

You can visit VerticalResponse website here.

#8. Salsa Labs

Salsa Labs is possibly the most device-friendly software that is available. Their email builder is not only robust but once selected, the user can preview their emails as a mobile, desktop or tablet user. This ensures that the nonprofit won’t have any qualms with the access of their emails on any of the aforementioned devices.

Email campaigns driven by Salsa Labs can be crafted with expertise from their email builder. They also incorporate a drag-and-drop editor for emails and an easy to use customization option. Tailoring of emails is also enabled with automation via a triggered welcome and follow-up combination. Online fundraising and advocacy coupled with peer to peer fundraising accesses are also among the many benefits offered by Salsa Labs.

The Salsa Labs pricing plan screenshot is below. For more, navigate here

Nonprofit Email Marketing Strategy

Nonprofits often suffer from a few common ailments that mostly, but not always, stem from a lack of enough time, financial resources or personnel. This means that they have to use all the available resources efficiently without wastage. Emails have been recommended as a way for nonprofits to do this by enabling communication that is both fast and efficient.  The following list entails strategies for making your nonprofit’s email marketing campaigns optimal as well

  • Enable easy signup

A nonprofits donor base relies on the number of people that are able to access the nonprofits sites and events. A mailing list enables this by informing them and also as a means for soliciting donations. Nonprofits should enable easy signup by providing countess links on sign up pages on the nonprofits sites and other social platforms.

  • Prioritize your audience

A wide audience can be ineffective if the nonprofit hasn’t prioritized it. This means that the recipients of the emails should first be selected from a list of those that responded positively towards previous ones. Those that did not shouldn’t be forcefully dragged into the nonprofits activities as this will only breed contempt and the likelihood of being spammed in the near future.

  • Always try to outdo your best effort

Being good at email marketing is simply not enough. The best email marketers know that perfection is abstract and are always striving for an experience that is better than their last. The analytic tools availed by most software should enable the nonprofit gauge their performance and adapt as best as possible for better results.

  • Add variety to your content

If all the emails sent will border on soliciting donations, then most recipients will possibly feel used and bothered. Variety should be added to the emails sent. Recipients will be more than satisfied if and when they receive emails that thank them for their donations, stipulate the major achievements after certain periods of time or inform them on events organized. Emails that contain well wishes during such special occasions such as holidays are an added bonus.

Email Segmentation for Nonprofits

An email marketing strategy once put into effect relies heavily on segmentation for even better results. According to Mailchimp, segmented emails get an increase of close to 15% on click rates. Segmentation means that the mailing list is split into groups and subgroups and these recipients receive the right email at the right time. Taking into consideration the fact that each nonprofit will encompass different needs, missions and goals, it is only rational that these get met by the most relevant people. So, in a nutshell, the right people get the right message at the right time. No room for mucking about and risking some opting out due to irrelevant content or double-sends.

We have compiled suggestions on how segmentations should be done

  • Donors
    • Donors are the financial backbone of a nonprofit. Donors can be classified according to the frequency of their donations and what sort of context their donations entailed. On the frequency of donations, such considerations as whether a donor contributes towards monthly goals, annual goals and such like parameters should be taken into account. New donors should also receive emails that are tailored towards making them feel welcome and trusting in the nonprofits endeavors.
  • Volunteers
    • Volunteers, especially past volunteers, ought to receive emails that tell them of the progress of their last input and also opportunities to offer their services again if required. These regular updates will ensure the nonprofit has a willing team ready to come into action on demand.
  • Event Attendees
    • The locations, durations and purpose of events should be communicated to possible attendees as clearly as possible. Also, past attendees of events that are closely similar to any future ones should be notified with a priority.
  • Active Members of Staff
    • Communication to the staff members that are active is essential for the day to day running of the organization. They should therefore receive emails that concern such things as task execution, meetings and so on rather than receiving emails that are meant for volunteers whereas they are already active in the nonprofit.
  • Management team and advisors
    • The management team and advisors will also require content that is relevant to their current positions and responsibilities. If such teams receive emails that are meant for the other groups, then they might opt out since the very purpose of such emails will be defeated.
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Free Email Address for Nonprofits

Since the most recurring feature of nonprofits is saving on expenditure, it only follows that they should sign up for free email addresses. There are several options available and below we enlist five of the best

  • Gmail

Gmail is one of the most widely used email services on planet earth. Professionalism hasn’t been compromised in any way by Gmail services as they offer basic services that are incorporated with filters for unwanted spam and folders that can be easily customized. A nonprofits emails will also be separated from social media alerts and their subsequent notifications. Gmail email accounts can be personalized therefore enabling the organization to get email addresses at their domain.

  • Mac Mail

Mac Mail can be easily accessed by nonprofits that use Mac computers on a regular basis. This option is also available in the OS X operating system that like Macs, belong to Apple Inc. And just as Apple’s clients have advertised the products they use as being classy and out of this world, Mac Mail is also unique and lovely to use

  • Opera Mail

This mailing service is courtesy of Opera Software. It sets itself apart by being a mailing service that is a component included within the Opera web browser. Talk about killing two birds with a single stone. The service not only has an easy to use interface; POP3 and IMAP are also supported by it. Plus it has a functional and strong spam filter.

  • Outlook

This service is from Microsoft and can be easily accessed by any nonprofit with access to a pc. It comes as a part of the Microsoft Office suit. It easily links with Word, PowerPoint and Excel and allows for smooth transfer of content from one to either of the other two.

  • Proton Mail

Proton mail is a service that ensures security for communication that is sensitive. It offers end to end encryption and another feature that allows for the expiration of emails. This service is free although it has three other plans for paying clients.