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The Ultimate Guide To A Successful NPO Email Strategy



The Ultimate Guide To A Successful NPO Email Strategy

Effective email and newsletter marketing is crucial for a nonprofit organization’s (NPO) success. With scarce resources, limited staffing, and divided leadership attention, investing in marketing efforts can often take a backseat to more urgent matters.

Luckily, email marketing is both cost-effective and less time-consuming than other NPO marketing strategies. Regularly sent out, well-crafted newsletters can give your nonprofit authority while also helping you stay at the forefront of your donors’ minds.

Download Now: Nonprofit Marketing & Fundraising  Trends for 2022 [Free Report]

By reading this post, you will discover how your nonprofit can stay connected with donors and attract exciting new prospects through personalized and meaningful email marketing.

Table of Contents

Why does email work for nonprofits?

Studies show that email continues to offer the highest return on investment (ROI) of any outreach strategy. TruConversion reports that an email marketing campaign can deliver a return of $40 for every $1 spent. This makes email the channel with the highest ROI that nonprofits can use to reach prospective donors.

Additionally, 91% of all US consumers still use email daily. Email can therefore enable NPOs to reach audiences that might not otherwise engage with their marketing efforts on social media.

Pro tip: Before starting a new email campaign, make sure it aligns with your nonprofit marketing plan and helps you reach your organization’s goals.

onprofit newsletter, 91% of US consumers still use email daily. Use email to reach new audiences.

Email Marketing Best Practices for Nonprofits

1. Commit to regular sends.

Nonprofits are often stretched for resources, and it’s easy to set marketing aside for matters that seem more pressing. However, regular email marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your organization. A content schedule for your emails can keep you organized you can frequently engage with and steadily grow your donor base.

Making email sends an “always on” part of your marketing strategy will play a big role in your success on the channel. “Always on” doesn’t mean that you’re bombarding your email list with constant messages — it means that you’re committed to consistency in how often you send your emails.

Send informative emails on a predictable schedule, instead of only when you’re actively running a campaign or seeking donations. This will help nurture your audience towards deeper forms of engagement (like donating or attending an event) in the future. Remember: the goal is building long-term relationships.

Setting the right cadence for your emails is important to keep the members of your list engaged with your organization. When you’re first starting out, this requires a careful balancing act. You don’t want to send too few emails, but you also don’t want to veer into potential spam territory. More on that in the next section.

Pro tip: Double-check that your email offers value to your readers before sending. Value could include the latest information about your nonprofit, ways to get involved, upcoming events, or recent projects your organization has completed.

2. Be wary of spam folders.

If your audience is only used to hearing from you on a one-off basis, you’ll need to gradually shift to sending more emails. A sudden switch could trigger some users’ email clients to send you to the spam folder.

Email deliverability can be a complex subject, but here are a few important things to remember if you’re transitioning to more frequent email marketing.

  • Don’t directly embed forms or include attachments in your emails. Linking out to web pages with forms is a better practice.
  • Send your emails from a recognizable address. If you can, avoid sending from a [email protected] address. Use a name your readers will recognize.
  • Lead with informative subject lines instead of direct calls for donations. Check out our blog post on picking great email subject lines.
  • If you’re emailing a list that isn’t used to frequent sends, let them know what’s going on. Tell your readers that you plan to start sending more informative emails, and most importantly, allow them to opt out. It might seem counterintuitive in the short term, but cleaning disengaged folks off your email list is important to the long-term health of your email program.

Pro Tip: Assign a staff member to send your monthly newsletter using their name. This increases your chance of avoiding donors’ spam folders.

For more tips on improving your email deliverability, check out our blog post on the subject here.

3. Leverage personal connections with your audience.

Personalizing your emails is a simple — but powerful — step that you can take to create a personal connection with readers.

First, make sure you’re using an email tool that enables personalization. It might be an investment upfront, but having access to personalization features will greatly improve the value your audience gets out of your email sends.

Worried about coming off as creepy or not sure where to start? Focus on personalizing emails based on actions your email recipients have taken on your website, advises Rachel Leist, a VP of marketing, automation, and demand generation at HubSpot. Instead of using personal data in your contact management system, perhaps thank them for a donation or downloading a report.

“If a person receives an email that refers to an action they took on your website, they will not be as nervous as they would if you were personalizing around specific personal information you happen to have on them,” Leist explains.

Pro tip: Personalize your emails by using first names and interesting taglines. Emails with personalized subject lines generate six times higher transaction rates.

4. Segment your database.

A segmented email list can help you ensure that the right person receives the right email at the right time. While everyone on your email list believes in your organization, you don’t need to send every email to everyone. Each person in your database is at a different stage on their journey with your organization, and the emails they receive should reflect that.

For example, someone who has donated $5 to your organization in the last year is probably not as engaged as someone who has donated $1,000 to your organization in the last month.

Factors like donation amount, events attended, and actions taken on your website or social media channels can all be important indicators of engagement level, and shouldn’t be ignored when you’re sending out emails.

More engaged audience members will likely respond more positively to more frequent emails, while folks with fewer touch points should receive fewer emails giving them more basic information about your NPO.

Pro tip: When people download your content or subscribe to your newsletter, make sure you enter them into a specific drip campaign that sends them automated emails relevant to the topics they are interested in.

5. Test, analyze, and adapt accordingly.

Finally, running an email program is not a “one-and-done” marketing strategy. You’ll need to note key performance indicators and make changes to your approach based on real-world data.

If you’re just getting started, industry benchmarks can be a useful point of comparison. But remember, not all NPOs are the same, and not all NPO audiences are going to respond the same way to emails.

To start, keep track of a few key email metrics, measure them with each email send, and look for trends over time. Our article on email marketing metrics for beginners offers a helpful starting place if you’re not sure what to track.

Pro tip: Regularly monitor your email open rate using the Hubspot email health tool.

How to Write an Amazing Nonprofit Newsletter

1. Write an eye-catching subject line.

Subject lines can be tricky. You’re looking for a short phrase that communicates your intent while retaining your non-profit’s unique voice. An interesting subject line should include the following elements.

  1. Urgency. You want recipients to feel the urgency to both open emails from your NPO and take action.
  2. Specificity. If you have an interesting statistic or data point to share, be sure to put it in the subject line.
  3. Upcoming events. To increase engagement, your newsletter should let people know what upcoming events they can attend or volunteer at.
  4. Name recognition. Pique your audience’s interest by including their name in the subject line (when appropriate).
  5. Relevancy. If current events or politics influence your nonprofit’s goal(s), referencing those events can make your newsletter more relevant and timely.

Pro tip: 46% of email opens take place on mobile, so be sure to make your subject lines 50 characters or less so mobile viewers can read the entire message.

Explore this blog for more subject line best practices.

2. Give compelling updates.

An amazing nonprofit newsletter should include the latest and greatest from your organization. Inform your recipients of recent goals reached, heartwarming stories of those you help, life updates of staff and volunteers, and anything else of note.

Pro tip: To make your emails visually interesting, take pictures during events to include in your newsletters. With permission, include the names of the volunteers pictured and describe what activities took place.

3. Have an attitude of gratitude.

Your cause is near and dear to those who subscribe to your newsletter. Their time spent volunteering and money donated should always be received with a spirit of gratitude.

Let email recipients know the immediate impact of their donations with interesting data points. For example, “Your donation helped x number of families” or “Your volunteer efforts fed x number of children.”

Pro tip: Some of your newsletter recipients will be more involved than others. Consider opening the line of communication with these donors by sending a personalized, non-automated email that references their specific efforts to the cause.

4. Include a Call-to-Action

A call-to-action (CTA) is an invitation to your audience to do something. In an email or newsletter, your CTA should be a button that links to the action you want recipients to take next.

Examples of CTAs for your nonprofit email could be “Subscribe to the newsletter,” “Donate now,” “Refer a friend,” or more. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your CTAs, and be sure to measure your conversion rate.

Pro tip: There are lots of CTA tools you can use to make linking to the next step easier. Explore common options here.

Examples of Nonprofit Fundraising Emails 

Want to put together an effective fundraising email? Check out some examples to get a sense of what your newsletter can look like.

Alzheimer’s Association

This Welcome email from the Alzheimer’s Association doesn’t lead with a request for a donation. Instead, the team connects recipients to the cause by providing them with resources to learn about the disease.

The main CTA urges readers to “learn the facts.” By gaining a greater understanding of Alzheimer’s email recipients are encouraged to act — either by advocating for the group, volunteering, or donating.

What we love: There are several resources shown in this email, targeting different groups affected by Alzheimer’s disease. A loved one could access a support group. A family looking for care solutions can explore their options. Most importantly, people living with Alzheimer’s are given autonomy and can get matched with a care team.

nonprofit newsletter examples, Alzheimer’s Association

Black Girls Code

This email from Black Girls Code focuses on one webinar that is open to all. By including events and participation opportunities, the nonprofit demonstrates value to those on its email list. As a subscriber, you’ll make sure you never miss an event.

What we love: This email utilizes design to strategically focus readers’ attention. The graphic that includes the panel’s speaker information and time are beautifully designed with eye-catching colors that pop over a black background. The only other colorful elements? Two bold registration CTAs in lavender.

nonprofit newsletter ideas, Black Girls Code

The End Child Poverty California Coalition (ECPC)

ECPC’s email demonstrates the importance of keeping your donors and volunteers informed. This section of the group’s newsletter explains how much the coalition’s Imagine Campaign secured and where funds were used. An infographic makes understanding the complexities of state budgeting easy.

What we love: ECPC has mastered transparency. The group acknowledges that not all of its priorities were included in the state budget. After, the coalition celebrates wins they were able to achieve. The use of honesty makes the nonprofit feel trustworthy and garners even more support.

nonprofit newsletter ideas, The End Child Poverty California Coalition

The Trevor Project

Awareness days, holidays, and important anniversaries offer special opportunities to engage your audience. This is especially true when you can tie the event to your nonprofit’s mission or research.

The Trevor Project sent a dedicated email on Intersex Awareness Day. In the email, the organization explains what it means to be intersex and the importance of acknowledging this community. Then, it links to a report where people can learn more about the well-being of intersex youth.

What we love: Not only does this email highlight Intersex Awareness Day, it also reminds recipients that October is LGBTQ History Month. Readers who didn’t have their calendars marked are now informed and will be more likely to engage with other Trevor Project research.

nonprofit newsletter ideas, The Trevor Project

The International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) faces the urgent task of assisting people in conflict zones and disaster areas. This email both explains what the organization does and its historical impact.

What we love: Highlighting articles and the organization’s history increases the subscriber’s emotional investment. Readers will also have a better understanding of the IRC’s values.

nonprofit newsletter example, the International Rescue Committee

The Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution is one of the largest museum and research networks in the world. Keeping up with each museum and department would be exhausting. Luckily, the nonprofit’s marketing team has gathered the highlights into one, easy-to-read newsletter.

What we love: When we go to museums, we marvel at the artifacts and objects on display. The Smithsonian newsletter uses photographs to replicate this experience on any device.

nonprofit newsletter example, smithsonian institute

Save The Children

When folks first sign up for your emails, it’s a good indicator that they’re feeling engaged with your mission. Check out this automatic welcome email from Save the Children introduces the organization to a new subscriber and requests a donation at the end. Your audience wants to help — don’t make them wait!

What we love: Save the Children created a simple infographic to show how a small donation can make a big impact. This can encourage supporters to contribute.

nonprofit newsletter example, save the children

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) demonstrates in the email below how to update subscribers on important current events. By referencing recent policy changes that were helpful to their cause, CCL can both thank their email subscribers for their hard work while getting them excited about future progress.

What we love: This email does a good job of providing relevance and timeliness to the nonprofit’s conversation. nonprofit newsletter example, Citizen’s Climate Lobby

826 Boston

826 Boston is a writing, tutoring, and publishing nonprofit that works with students and community members. As a local nonprofit, community events offer an opportunity for Boston residents to get involved and learn more about the organization. This email highlights Books for Breakfast, including critical information about where the event is held and when.

Pro tip: If your organization relies on donations from corporate sponsors, email offers an opportunity to showcase your partnership. This creates added value for the businesses you work with.

nonprofit newsletter example, 826 Boston


Not every donor or subscriber should be emailed every day. Wikimedia is sparing with its calls for donations, making their infrequent sends more impactful. By highlighting a past action and demonstrating urgency for a repeat donation, recipients will be more likely to give.

This type of email works best for past donors and less active members of your email list. Even though they don’t visit your website daily, they may be willing to donate on occasion.

What we love: This email from Wikimedia shows what percentage of your donation goes to which parts of the organization. This creates transparency and makes donors feel good about their contributions.

nonprofit newsletter example, Wikimedia

Free Email Marketing Software for Nonprofits

Want to use professional email software for your nonprofit without breaking the bank? There are several free versions of professional marketing software that you can use. Check out what some of the most popular programs offer. Then, decide which option works best for you.

1. HubSpot Email Marketing Software

HubSpot offers a free version of its paid email marketing software that integrates with its free CRM software. Users can run a sophisticated marketing campaign and get access to forms, landing pages, and Facebook, Instagram, Google, and LinkedIn ads, as well as templates.

HubSpot also has access to contact management and live chat capabilities. These tools allow you to optimize the experience for each subscriber. There are also traffic and conversion analytics capabilities for campaign optimization.

2. Sender

Want to reach lots of people with beautiful, personalized emails? Sender could be just right for you. This program has extensive HTML editing and personalization capabilities. Sender also has impressive analytics capabilities that allow you to track the delivery and opening of individual emails. You’ll also be able to build individual recipient profiles to further optimize your strategy.

3. Sendinblue

If you’re looking for variety in your emails, Sendinblue has you covered. This program includes over 70 responsive templates for emails that can be designed for any screen. The free version gives you the ability to send 300 emails a day.

You also have the ability to use A/B testing to find email content that works and segmenting options to make sure the right person receives your message.

4. SendGrid

SendGrid specializes in email campaigns that are tailored to individual preferences. Its free version gives you access to a wide range of personalization tools, including APIs, Webhooks, and STMP Relay.

You’ll also have granular control over who receives your emails with a wide range of delivery optimization tools. Plus, you can access sophisticated email editing and analytics tools that allow you to optimize sends for your target audience.

Start Today

You don’t need to be a professional marketer to get professional results from email marketing. However, you do need to set some time aside to get started.

Remember, email marketing when done thoughtfully, can have a big payoff. Get started today if you haven’t already, and you could generate more buzz for your organization than ever before!

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]



YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples


With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).


YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists



Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.


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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots



A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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