5 Steps to a Successful Nonprofit Email Marketing Campaign for Your Next Event

The caterer, the decorations and the small details are weighing heavy on your mind. And rightfully so with a big fundraising event in the works. But despite the formal invitations that you had delivered to your top constituents, there has to be a way to generate more interest from new potential donors.

And if done correctly, nonprofit email marketing is just the ticket. You may have implemented an email marketing campaign in the past for a fundraising effort or to drive traffic to your nonprofit. While that’s a great start, there are key differences to remember with email marketing for a specific event.

Here are some key differences to help you get the most of your nonprofit email marketing.

1. An Elephant Never Forgets, But Humans Do

It doesn’t matter how great your email campaign is. If the recipients only receive one campaign months before the event, they’re bound to forget about the big day. That’s why refreshing their memory is acceptable in the case of an event.

However, it’s also important that you don’t go overboard with the reminders. There are ways to gently remind constituents of your event without pushing them away. Send creative emails that celebrate the countdown to the event. For example, if there are five days until the event, send a reminder that involves the top five ways your organization provides resources for your mission. You get the idea. Your recipients will be more likely to open the mail if it is mission based and is done creatively.

2. Decisions, Decisions

Most nonprofit email marketing campaigns have the option to opt out, but an event is done differently. You’ll need to provide a place to RSVP—and then respect the answers you receive. Remember that there’s a huge difference between somebody who can’t attend because of a prior engagement and somebody who does not wish to support your organization. Either way, learn to let go of those who can’t come and to focus on the people who are excited about your event.

3. Make it About the Mission

Point cursor, click and delete. It’s as easy as that if you go about your marketing campaign the wrong way. First impressions mean everything, and the first thing your recipients will see is the subject line. Don’t put something as simple as “X Organization Fall Fundraiser.” If people see you asking for money from the get-go, they’re likely to click delete.

Instead, make the subject matter appealing to recipients. They’ll be more likely to click if you can make the subject about your mission instead of money. Try putting a subject line that involves what you’ll be using the donations to do. If you’re helping raise money for cancer research, talk about the people that could be helped. For any organization, find the emotional connection and write from the heart.

4. The More the Merrier

Maximizing the options to share are vital to spread the word about your event and fundraising opportunity. So make it easy on your guests. Make sure to include a link that is easily accessible and reaches all outlets. The important links should be for Facebook and Twitter, but feel free to add other sharing outlets.

5. Brand It

With all of these key points weighing on your mind, it’s easy to forget the small stuff—like branding. Although it’s different than a normal email marketing campaign, it’s still a campaign that should reflect your organization. From the voice of your organization to the logos and color, make sure the email message exudes your organization’s personal touch. That way your event attendees will be able to get a real dose of what your organization is about.

How has your organization effectively utilized nonprofit email marketing for a fundraising event?


Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

February 13, 2013

You May Also Enjoy

Become a Member

Whether you’re with a large team or a solo entrepreneur looking to start the next great cause, we have a membership package that will help you grow your network and your cause.