If your nonprofit organization isn’t sending automated email campaigns, now is the time to start. Not only does email automation boost open rates by more than 70 percent and click-through rates by 152 percent, but it is also one of the most efficient ways to engage and build relationships with your supporters.

Need to send a “thank you” note to donors? You don’t have to waste valuable time sending it manually. Automated emails or autoresponders are delivered automatically to contacts after they’ve taken an action — like donating to your cause — or based on a pre-defined schedule. In VerticalResponse, just set up the campaign or message once, and your email will go out to your contacts according to the parameters you’ve selected.

Though any brand can experience the time-saving benefits of automation, autoresponders can be especially useful for nonprofits. As your organization works to meet the needs of those you serve, here are five ways that you should be using email automation to support your efforts.

Introduce your organization

Make a positive first impression by greeting new email subscribers with an automated welcome message. You can set up an autoresponder that sends a warm introductory note and “thank you” to anyone who signs up for your email list. Or you could expand the greeting into a welcome series, and share inspiring stories, donor testimonials and educational information as a way of onboarding newcomers. With VerticalResponse’s Email Automation, each message in your email series will be sent out at a time interval of your choosing. Spacing the messages out in this way allows you to introduce your organization without overloading new contacts with information right away. It also keeps your cause top-of-mind in the days or weeks after they’ve signed up for your list.

Stay in touch with recurring donors

Do you want to nurture the relationship you have with your faithful supporters? Provide them with a consistent stream of content about your organization throughout the year. Setting up autoresponders that go out at regular, measured intervals enables you to maintain brand awareness with a minimal investment of time. For instance, keep your audience engaged and active with an automated email series that showcases informative or moving blog posts they may have missed. You could also create an impact report series that details how funds are being used.

Follow up with first-time donors

Re-engage first-time donors while their interest in your organization is still high with a follow-up email that is automatically delivered within a week of their donation. After thanking them for their generous contributions, use this opportunity to reiterate your mission statement and show how that single donation and future donations further your cause. You may also want to include a video or blog post link in the email that illustrates all of the progress you’ve made and what you hope to accomplish. This can also be an opportunity to encourage subscribers to share about their donation with their networks, furthering your reach, and gaining new supporters. It’s common for people to make a one-time donation, but a timely follow-up email that shows donors how vital their ongoing support is can help motivate them to stay connected.

Send an end-of-year donation reminder

Encourage your supporters to help you finish the year strong with one final donation push. Write a message that’s scheduled to be sent before the end of the fiscal year (for many nonprofits this is June 30th). Detail recent achievements, and explain how their donation will help with next year’s goals. This is your chance to remind donors, volunteers and newsletter subscribers that they can make a lasting impact. Scheduling this message ahead of time lightens your load as you tackle all of those other crucial year-end tasks.

Ask inactive supporters for feedback

What better way to encourage inactive supporters to reconnect than by asking them directly for their opinions. Create a survey or a general feedback request message, and use an autoresponder tool to send it to contacts who haven’t interacted with your organization in a while. Ask them about past volunteer experiences, how they view your organization and work, or what you could do to improve their donor experience.

From managing donations and volunteers to planning educational events and fundraisers, running a nonprofit is a balancing act. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Marketing automation helps your marketing and outreach processes run more smoothly and makes it easier to achieve your service goals.

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© 2017 – 2018, Amber Humphrey. All rights reserved.

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