Robly Logo

Nonprofit Email Newsletters

Without a doubt, your nonprofit’s email engagement efforts are among the defining factors in your relationships with supporters.

Since email marketing is so targeted these days, your team needs to start thinking of new and improved ways to make your email streams effective. This is especially true when it comes to sending out your nonprofit’s email newsletters.

Email newsletters are a staple engagement tool for nonprofits large and small. Not only do they bring your supporters up-to-date with your latest news, but they also can connect readers with essential fundraising and volunteer opportunities that drive your mission.

Think your nonprofit’s email newsletter could use a boost? Check out our favorite ways to start making meaningful connections with your email newsletter subscriber list:

  1. Grab attention with eye catching subject lines.
  2. Make use of your newsletter’s digital functionality.
  3. Focus on fundraising opportunities.
  4. Reach out to volunteers in your newsletter.
  5. Educate readers on different ways to give back.

Take charge of your email newsletter and start leveraging it as a smarter engagement and fundraising tool.

Let’s dive into these awesome opportunities so your team can get started improving your email newsletter strategy!

Nonprofit Email Newsletters

1. Grab attention with eye catching subject lines.

By far, the most effective way to boost your email open rates is to leverage interesting subject lines to capture the attention of your subscribers.

For many nonprofits, the subject lines for email newsletters fall into the trap of being too bland or formulaic to really draw the eye when individuals are scanning their inbox. This can cause even the most dedicated supporters to automatically trash your latest newsletter.

This issue can dramatically affect newsletters since they’re sent out on a regular schedule. If your subject lines are too similar each time a new edition of the newsletter comes out, subscribers will be even more likely to ignore your messages.

Try out these effective subject line strategies to boost your newsletter email open rates:

  • Make your subject line a powerful call-to-action.

    Directly address your reader in the second person and use commanding language to catch their eye. For example: “Take your volunteer efforts to the next level this August”

  • Offer useful information.

    Your readers may ignore emails if they think they won’t contain relevant or useful information. Use your subject line to draw attention to the newsletter’s main topic. For example: “Learn how to double your donations this holiday season”


Remember: your supporters spend just seconds scanning their email inboxes. Make your email newsletters stand out with eye catching, informative subject lines that make your readers want to check out your updates.

Nonprofit Email Newsletters

2. Make use of your newsletter’s digital functionality.

If your email newsletter is simply leveraged as a tool to update supporters about your nonprofit’s agenda, then you’re seriously missing out on this resource’s functionality.

The fact is that your email newsletters have a wealth of digital capabilities that can boost your fundraising success and streamline the way that you engage with supporters.

However, not every organization understands the ways they can turn email newsletters into dynamic tools.

If your organization wants to start getting more out of your email newsletters, try implementing some of these smart strategies:

  • Link to your online donation forms.

    One of the most basic ways to embrace the digital functionality of email newsletters is to include hyperlinks or buttons that link to your giving forms.

  • Customize your newsletter.

    Include your logo, branded colors, and images to evoke your brand when crafting your email newsletters. Plain text is a huge turnoff!

  • Address your recipient directly.

    Your marketing team can automatically import the names of your email recipients into email templates for a personal touch. If you’re not collecting first names when you get new signups or donations, you should be.

  • Track email marketing metrics.

    Measure data for email open, bounce, and click-through rates, and other relevant metrics to help hone your email newsletter strategy.

  • Segment supporter data.

    As you track metrics, be sure to segment that data by supporter email lists to get a clearer picture of how different demographics respond to your newsletters.

Your nonprofit doesn’t need too be tech-savvy to start making your email newsletters more effective digital tools. By implementing some of these simple strategies, you can take your email newsletters to the next level.

Nonprofit Email Newsletters

3. Focus on fundraising opportunities.

As far as the content of your email newsletters goes, it’s best to think of these messages as direct pathways to giving for your supporters.

In addition to including links to your donation pages, your email newsletters should be designed to focus on important fundraising information that your supporters will find valuable.

This way, the newsletters will push them further and further down the giving pipeline each time they’re read.

Not only that, but learning about fundraising opportunities is one of the core expectations supporters will have when opening your email newsletters. Remember: they’re involved with your organization primarily because they want to give back and be a part of your community.

Consider some of these ways to turn your email newsletters into fundraising tools:

  • Update supporters on campaign progress.

    Use your email newsletters as a fundraising motivator by updating readers on the progress of your campaigns. You can even add fundraising thermometer graphics to help them visualize your progress.

  • Tell subscribers about upcoming opportunities.

    Every time you send out your email newsletter, include information on new fundraising opportunities. Announce upcoming campaigns or spotlight new peer-to-peer fundraising pages.

  • Feature events in your newsletters.

    Be sure that your email newsletters contain a running calendar of your upcoming events. Depending on the frequency of your newsletters, you might include a list of the next week’s events or a calendar of the next season’s event schedule.

By focusing on fundraising opportunities rather than general updates on your organization, you can directly connect supporters to the resources and information they care about most. Think of your email newsletters as tools first and foremost, rather than opportunities to socialize.

Bonus! When supporters land on your fundraising pages, you’ll want them to come across effective and inspiring giving tools. Check out Donately’s donation pages to see how your nonprofit can be getting more from your fundraising forms.

Nonprofit Email Newsletters

4. Reach out to volunteers in your newsletter.

Now, this isn’t to say that your email newsletters should only include fundraising opportunities. They can also offer value by showing supporters ways to give back as a volunteer.

The truth is that not all of your supporters will be able to give to every campaign. Instead of letting those individuals fall by the wayside, your email newsletter presents the perfect opportunity to steer those individuals toward volunteering for your cause.

Not only does this help preserve your relationships with supporters, but it also shows them that your organization is appreciative of any help they can offer. Down the line, this can play a big role in whether or not they make a gift once they have the capacity.

Take a look at some of these smart email newsletter strategies to engage with volunteers:

  • Create email segments for volunteers.

    When individuals sign up for volunteer opportunities, collect their email addresses for your CRM. Then, build segmented lists for just volunteers. You can tailor anything from the content of the email to the subject line to address these supporters.

  • Shine a spotlight on high-achievers.

    In your email newsletter, include a brief section where you highlight achievements of stand-out volunteers. This way, your entire community sees what value your organization places on volunteering.

  • Link to your volunteer sign-up forms.

    Just as you steer readers toward your fundraising forms, so too should your email newsletters link to your volunteer sign-up pages. By connecting readers with these forms, you increase the likelihood of them actually signing up.

The more opportunities to show support you present readers with, the more likely it is they’ll remain active members of your community. As a supplement to your fundraising content, be sure that your email newsletters position volunteer opportunities prominently.

Bonus! Want to find out more ways to boost volunteerism at your organization? Check out Double the Donation’s extensive guide to volunteer management to get the ball rolling.

Nonprofit Email Newsletters

5. Educate readers on different ways to give back.

Finally, another effective way to maintain connections with supporters through your email newsletter is to use it as a way to promote alternatives to donation.

Much like how you can promote volunteering through your newsletters, you can also educate your supporters about different ways to help your team reach its fundraising goals.

These opportunities might help supporters maximize the impact of gifts they’ve already made or offer them a chance to raise money for your organization without donating directly.

Try shining a spotlight on some of these fundraising alternatives in your newsletters:

  • Peer-to-peer fundraising.

    With peer-to-peer fundraising, your supporters can still help you reach your goals even if they can’t make a gift. Explain the process of setting up a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign and encourage supporters to promote their pages.

  • Matching gifts.

    Many of your supporters don’t know about matching gifts programs, let alone whether or not they’re eligible for a matched gift. Link to your preferred matching gifts database and direct them to research their eligibility.

The most effective email newsletters offer readers helpful information that keeps them engaged with your organization in the long term. By sharing ways to give back beyond donating, your readers will come across the information they want to learn and remain active members of your community.

In Conclusion

Your email newsletters are a dynamic resource. Use them to strengthen relationships and maximize the ways supporters engage with your cause.

Now that we’ve reviewed these effective strategies, your team can get started sharing smarter newsletters with your community!

Andrew Berry is the head of marketing and customer success for Donately. After getting involved with nonprofits at a young age, he discovered a passion for helping the organizations that are making the world a better place. Knowing how vital online fundraising has become, his goal is to help nonprofits raise more money online each year. In his spare time, you will find him cooking up dinner, playing with his dog or cheering on Boston sports teams.

Table of Contents

Start a free trial

See why thousands of small businesses, charities and non-profits trust Robly with their email marketing needs.