Romance. It’s been a lost art for many a nonprofit, but email marketing can fan the flames of your constituent’s hearts.


According to The Forrester Wave™: Email Marketing Vendors, Q1 2012 report, 93% of survey respondents are running a welcome email series on a monthly basis. So if your nonprofit isn’t running a welcome email, here are some of the benefits and key implementation strategies to get started.

Benefits: We all know that good relationships are built on trust, even those between a constituent and a nonprofit. I’ve referenced this report before, but according to ‘Understanding Giving: Beliefs & Behaviors of Colorado’s Donors‘, 83 % of survey respondents cite trusting an organization as a “very important” factor when donating.

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation for a nonprofit without a welcome email series:

Sharon signs up to receive email messages from you. Most likely Sharon doesn’t know very much about your organization but at this moment is invigorated by your organization and your mission. She’s crushing on you a little bit. So you send her an automated thank you message for signing up. Then she waits. If you only send a monthly newsletter…she waits some more. Then finally your newsletter arrives, but by then she’s lost that loving feeling and the relationship moves forward in slow motion. She can still be won over but the time of courtship is prolonged.

What if instead, you roll out the red carpet for Sharon? With a Welcome Email Series, she can get to know you. While her interest is still piqued, she can learn what you care about, what makes you tick, and if you are a good fit together. If you’re going to start going steady, she needs to know what kind of nonprofit you are. Instead of this process taking months, it can happen in weeks.

Implementation tips:

  • The Look: Indicate that this is a special communication from you. Having a separate email template or a special banner lets your beloved know that this is in addition to the regular email you’ll send. Additionally, it’s best to indicate that this is say, email 2 out of 4 in the Welcome Email Series.
  • The Content: You might have got them in the door with your looks but what about your brains? Like a good first date, what does someone need to know in order to get to know you? It’s good to talk about your nonprofit’s accomplishments – just don’t get too braggy (nobody likes a braggart). What are the types of things that you can do together? It’s always good to have shared interests.
  • Frequency/Duration: The general norm seems to be a series of four emails, spaced about a week apart. Feel free to play around with this though.

Following these tips, you can grow that budding interest into a deep, meaningful relationship with your supporters.

Does your nonprofit send out welcome emails? What suggestions would you add to this list?