joanna-kosinska-129039Nearly 60% of professionals find email marketing is their most successful channel to generate revenue. It’s also estimated that email is nearly 40 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter campaigns when it comes to recruiting new supporters of both for-profit and not-for-profit brands. Email is also the third most trusted, and influential source of information, just behind recommendations made by trusted personal connections and endorsements made by key influencers.

Successful fundraising campaigns are typically built around email and online newsletters. Unfortunately, poor design and other flaws mean that many nonprofits are missing out on their best opportunity to connect with their supporters and keep them informed about their cause.

The following tips can help you design a better newsletter for your nonprofit, and it increase the odds that it will be received, opened and read.

Optimise for Mobile

More of us are reading and replying to our emails, and completing related tasks while we are on the go. If your emails, newsletters and website aren’t optimised for mobile users, they may be slow to load, difficult to navigate and hard to read. Make sure that all your messaging and content use a format that’s easy for mobile users to access to improve their online experience and encourage them to open, and consume, your newsletters and other content.

Avoid Being Mislabelled a Spammer

Some statistics show that about 1 out of every 8 emails that we receive gets blocked by various spam filters. It’s also been estimated that making an effort to reduce being labelled as a spammer could increase your online fundraising results by nearly 15%. Since more than third of all donations are made online, this represents a great opportunity to significantly improve the effectiveness of your fundraising campaigns.

Investing in a hosted email service can help NFPs avoid being mislabeled a spammer because they typically offer a vast array of useful analytic data, such as open, click-through rate. Using this information can help your NFP to improve messaging and results.

Subscribers that use an email service also no longer must send newsletters via the BCC designation with PDF attachments. This out-of-date technique can trigger the spam filters of most ISPs.

Many of these providers allow subscribers to segment their lists, target and personalise their messaging, schedule content publication, and make it easy for readers to subscribe and unsubscribe, automating list management.

You can also decrease the chances that you will be marked as spam by automatically sending a welcome email to your new subscribers that informs them of what types of content they can expect to receive, along with expected publication frequency.

Ask new subscribers to confirm that they want to remain on your list, and include easy to follow instructions on how to unsubscribe at any time at the bottom of your emails and in the footer of your newsletters. Remove subscribers that have multiple bounce backs, and reach out to readers that haven’t opened your newsletters or other emails in several weeks.

Use Good Design Elements

Some caveats to keep in mind when creating your NFP’s newsletters are that you want your content to inform your readers, and, it should be visually appealing in such a way that it encourages your supporters to want to open and read it.

Build your brand by using the colours found in your logo in your headlines and titles. Avoid wearing out your readers and crowding in content. Keep titles, and the length of your articles, short and to the point. Use blank space to separate information and make it easier for the human eye to scan and understand. Utilise photos and other images to add depth and interest to your newsletter.

Encourage Action

Many individuals don’t actually read their emails and newsletters—they merely skim over it before moving on to the next email in their inbox.

Make it easy for your subscribers to take action by including buttons that allow them to do so with just one tap or click. Place buttons to donate, share, volunteer, and advocate at the top of your newsletter, either in the headline or very close to the header.

Make it Easy to Opt-In

Make it fast, and easy, for readers to subscribe to your newsletters. Prominently place a link for readers to sign up for your newsletters on your website, at the bottom of every email, and on your social media accounts. Consider offering a small treat for subscribers that successfully encourage their friends and family members to opt-in to your newsletters and email list.