Email marketing is one of the most direct and cost-effective ways to market your nonprofit.
Sometimes, nonprofit marketers get so flooded with other work that they overlook the use of a little creativity in their nonprofit marketing methods. That’s important because your followers may receive over one hundred emails a day, many of which are marketing emails from brands they use and nonprofits they support. It’s beneficial to use more creativity to stand out.
Creative Email Marketing Tips for Nonprofits
1. Identify your brand style and voice
Building a brand image makes it easier for people to recognize your organization in a crowded social feed or email inbox. Sometimes, nonprofit managers can think of branding as gimmicky. But constructive branding should be authentic to your organization’s mission, style, and approach.
Dabbling with a coordinated color palette, fonts, and image style frees you to be creative without having to worry about confusing your audience.
2. Consider using emojis 🌟
Depending on your audience, using a few carefully-selected emojis can add a touch of color, personality, and whimsy to your content.
While you probably wouldn’t use an emoji in a grant proposal or formal document, they work well within informal communication materials like social media and email copy.
3. Use media to tell your story
Your email messages don’t have to be simple text. Consider adopting a multimedia strategy by including short videos, audio recordings, photographs, or tasteful meme placement in your marketing communications. If your message includes a success story from one of your teammates, try making a short video of that teammate for the audience.
Also, your videos do not need to be Oscar-worthy, but be careful to keep them reasonably professional. Using your phone to shoot the video is appropriate for email, but make sure the lighting is bright enough and that the camera is steady. A tripod is ideal especially in lower light to avoid shakiness.
4. Consider GIFs and memes
You may have noticed that influencers and on-trend brands use GIFs and memes to add levity to their messaging. This is an option for nonprofits, too. The challenge can be finding GIFs and memes that fit your mission and values. Think about relatable everyday challenges or victories that you, your service users, and your supporters may have in common.
5. Encourage supporters to create content
User-generated content can be an excellent way to inject creativity and authenticity into your content. If events are part of your organization’s fundraising or outreach efforts, this tactic is especially effective. Encourage attendees to create their videos or posts about their experience with your organization. Use some of the best in your email campaigns (with permission of course!)
Some nonprofits find that running a contest is a great way to get their supporters to create content for them. Another option is a challenge campaign like the viral “Ice Bucket” challenge of 2014.
6. Try adding narrative storytelling
People connect with stories; it’s just part of human nature. While remaining authentic, tell a story or share an anecdote within some of your messages.
If your audience or field is inclusive and multicultural, find ways to do so without violating your service user’s confidentiality. Sometimes, a composite story or even a semi-fictional example works well. Just be careful not to mislead your advocates and disclose it is a fictional example based on what your team has seen and heard.
7. Personalize your messages and speak directly to the reader
Many email marketing platforms offer the opportunity to personalize messages for each recipient. Creatively using that as well as a more personal feeling second-person voice makes your reader part of the conversation.
You can even take it a step further with one-page surveys, by asking questions with prompts and specific “calls to action.” That’s the beautiful thing about email; it’s a personalized medium that allows for engagement and interaction.
It is easier to get creative with your email when you use a nonprofit productivity suite like UncommonGood.