If you’re running a nonprofit, you probably already know how important it is to stay connected with your donors. And email can be a great tool for doing that.

However, it can be tricky to know where to start if you’ve never done email marketing for your nonprofit before (or maybe you have, and you’re just looking for ways to improve.) Check out our top 5 tips for effective email marketing for your nonprofit!

1. Keep it short

Believe it or not, it can be harder to write one sentence than it is to write a whole paragraph. Although it might be difficult to focus your messaging, it’s important because most people only spend about 30 seconds “reading” an email (more likely, they’re just skimming it.) If you can keep your emails short and sweet (think no more than a few paragraphs), you’ll have a much better chance of engaging your readers and converting them into donors.

2. Have a snappy subject line

Here’s the thing about email marketing: you’re constantly competing for the attention span of your recipients. They might have gotten 20 emails in their inbox this morning. How can you make sure that yours stands out among the noise? That’s right— the subject line.

Depending on what email marketing tool you’re using, you might have the option of personalizing your subject line. This is called a “personalization token”. For instance, instead of saying, “Exciting news! Our Annual Gala is approaching!”, your subject might say, “[NAME], Exciting news! Our Annual Gala is approaching!” Personalizing your content to your contacts can help greatly in improving your email open rates.

3. Tell stories of impact

If there was a nonprofit “buzzword” of the year, it would probably be “storytelling”. Think of what motivates you when you scroll through Instagram or your email inbox. Is it really the “Sign up Today!” button or the “Don’t miss out on….” subject line? No. It’s the stories. It’s that picture of a little kid learning how to read, or the quote from a man who is saving the lives of animals. Those stories are what speak to people.

Stuck on what story to tell? Well, presumably, you started a nonprofit for a reason. There was some sort of cause in your life that spoke to you so much that you started a whole organization about it. Tell that story of Why. Tell the stories of the people you’ve helped so far.

4. Don’t email just for the sake of emailing

People open and read emails that they think are valuable. So before you hit “send”, make sure you have something important to say.

Also, here’s a tip: don’t forget to break your email up (visually speaking). There’s a reason email marketers love bullet points. Remember, most people aren’t going to read your entire email. Make it easy for them to extract the main points and key messages by setting them apart visually. You can accomplish this in a lot of different ways, such as with bullet points, bold fonts, or paragraph spacing. But whatever method you choose, make sure it’s easy to read!

5. Have a clear Call to Action (CTA)

What is the point of this email? Do you want people to donate to your End of Year Giving campaign? Register for a fundraising event? Maybe you just want them to read some great content (example: if your nonprofit is an animal rescue center, you could share an article about how to start fostering dogs.) Whatever it is, make sure you’re clear about what you’re asking.

Hopefully these tips have given you some inspiration for your next nonprofit email marketing campaign! Stay tuned for more articles on running an effective nonprofit.