How to Use Emails to Drive Donations For Your Nonprofit (With Examples)

Some of the major roadblocks that non-profits run into while raising funds or driving donations are:

  • Reaching numerous people and growing a donor base

  • Building trust with the donors

  • Providing clarity regarding the donation drive

  • Failing to follow up with the donors

Well, what if we told you that email marketing can be a fitting solution to all these problems?

Think about it - email has a staggering global user base of almost 4 billion and extremely high market penetration. Non-profits can leverage this to spread word of their campaigns and maximize their visibility with ease.

Email lets you implement personalization at scale, paving the path for cultivating strong and loyal relationships with your donors. And thanks to email automation about the timely responses - be it answering their queries or sending them a follow-up post with their donation. 

In this article, we will explore how non-profit organizations can tap into the power of emails to drive donations. 


Ticketing for nonprofits

Purplepass offers a software discount
to all nonprofits using the platform.

Use the power of storytelling

Storytelling is an invaluable tool in non-profit email marketing. It helps you establish an emotional relationship with your donors and secure their loyalty.

More than that, it positions your organizations as a trustworthy and dignified entity. Narrating stories of your organization's efforts and their resulting impact on society can grab the attention of donors and encourage them to contribute towards your cause.

Don’t just tell your donors how a few dollars from them will go towards feeding the needy or sheltering the homeless; show them how their gifts actually spark a ray of hope in someone’s eyes and bring smiles to countless faces.

Hopes for heros

Other than narrating your endeavors, also try to solicit stories from the people your organization is helping. The only thing more impactful than you relaying their tales is they, themselves, telling their stories to your subscribers.

Make sure your stories reflect your organization’s mission, values, and visions.

Lastly, keep in mind that a single narrative might not resonate equally with all your subscribers. So, you must present your story differently for different demographics. A person in their early 20s and someone in their late 40s will have very dissimilar reasons and motivations for donating to you. Hence, you might have to emphasize separate aspects of your story to ensure it has an equal impact on both of them.


Here are some tips you can keep in mind to fine tune your email’s storytelling:

  • Your stories shouldn’t sound overly promotional. Let them revolve around the people you are helping rather than yourself.

  • Try including a picture of the community or the individual whose story you are telling. This will add a whole other layer of emotional depth to your narrative. If you can add a video, even better.

  • While highlighting a few figures and statistics is fine, attempt to keep them to a bare minimum. They will divert your reader’s attention from the actual point of your story.


Create Gift Guides

The first thing that donors expect from a non-profit organization is transparency.

And what’s a better way of providing transparency than by showing someone how their monetary donation is being used by the organization?

Now, the question is, how can you do that?

The answer is simple- gift guides. Gift guides tell your subscribers that their donations will get converted to tangible gifts (like hot meals, blankets, personal hygiene products, etc.) motivating them to contribute in the future too.

An effective tactic for driving donations, gift guides perform particularly well during the holiday season.


Consider keeping the following things in mind while creating a gift guide:

  • Make sure your donation range is suitable for all. If you set the minimum donation amount as, say, $100, not everyone might have the financial strength to offer that much. Hence, try to set the minimum amount as low as $5 or $10. Remember, every little contribution counts, be it $10 or $1000.

  • Add visuals of the gifts you are planning on giving. Clothes, blankets, meals- whatever it might be, showcase their images in your gift guide. To heighten the emotional appeal, include images of the people who will receive the gifts too.

  • Some organizations prefer giving their donors the choice of directly buying gifts from their websites instead of soliciting donations. If you’re also taking that route, ensure that your CTAs are clear, explicitly informing your readers where they’ll be directed to upon clicking.


Keep dropping the occasional reminder

Soliciting donations is tricky and if all your requests are worded similarly, you might come across as a little pushy.

To avoid that, craft emails that remind your subscribers why they associated with your organization in the first place and how their donations have brought about positive changes in the past. 

Wondering how you should go about it? This email from Everlane should help.


Invite subscribers to your events and drives

Non-profits often organize large-scale physical events or drives to raise funds and raise awareness. Use emails to invite your subscribers to these occasions.

Before sending out the invitations, however, verify that the emails:

  • Contain all relevant details regarding the event

  • Clearly explain what participants can expect out of it

  • Use call-to-action buttons


If you’re promoting the event on your social media handles, add those links in these emails too. Also, don’t shy away from sending periodic reminder emails.

Wrapping it up!

The key to attaining success with your non-profit email marketing strategy lies in building an organic donor base.

Make sure that every donor that is present in your list has been added after going through a single opt-in or double opt-in confirmation process. That way, your communications will always reach the right audience, and you won’t face much difficulty in raising funds for your causes.


Kevin-GeorgeAuthor: Kevin George

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email design and coding companies. And specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free responsive HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. 

Previous Post

What Every Event Needs to Succeed in 2022 (the Secret Sauce!)

Next Post

Top 5 Must-Have Essentials for Your Trade Show Booth