Email Marketing Tools For Nonprofits

Email marketing is one of the best ways to build relationships with current and potential donors. It’s also a great way to get your message out about upcoming events and fundraisers. In order to do this effectively, you’ll need a good email service provider (ESP). But how do you know which ESP is the best for your nonprofit?

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the features you should be looking for when choosing an email service provider and why these are important. We’ll also cover what to avoid in order for your emails not only to reach the inboxes of recipients but stay there and get read on a regular basis.

So let’s dive into some of the most important features of an ESP!

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Email Marketing for Nonprofits - Tips to Get Started

Email Marketing Tools For Nonprofits

Your nonprofit just built three new houses outside of Lima and you send an update email to all 5,000 of your subscribers instantaneously.

Your fundraiser is one week away and you send a reminder email, first to your donors and then to your volunteers.

You’re searching for a new Volunteer Coordinator to join your team and you send an inquiry email to your subscribers and then post the position on social media.

With all the groups, lists, workflows, etc. to keep track of, you can breathe a sigh of relief because your email marketing platform has got you covered. Just compose your email, choose a list, and schedule exactly what you want to do with the email.

Email marketing is a powerful tool that your nonprofit can use to further engage your audience while spending minimal effort online. Through tailored, auto-generated emails, your organization can easily thank your donors, attract more volunteers, and spread your mission to a wider audience. Choosing a solid software in order to maximize your email marketing potential is essential. Here we have put together a list of 9 email marketing tools, some that offer great benefits for nonprofits!

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7 Best Email Marketing Tools

Flodesk logoNonprofits get a 50% discount using Flodesk, which means just $19 a month for unlimited emails, contacts, and features. Flodesk never penalizes you for successfully growing your list. This relatively new platform is aimed at helping small teams create emails that look great effortlessly. The intuitive drag-and-drop email builder allows you to customize emails quickly, while the email and form template gallery offer you a head start. While Flodesk’s curated designs are beautiful, their layout blocks really set them apart. Layouts help you to create custom graphics, design collages, and specialty signatures right within the email builder—no other design software required. Once your email is sent, its layout blocks are responsive, meaning they’ll look great on any device and in any inbox. Flodesk’s workflows and stunning forms (which can even be used without a website) are also top features. Flodesk connects with 3,000+ apps through Zapier to automate tasks. Lastly, you don’t need a credit card for a free 30-day trial.

MailChimp provides nonprofits with a 15% discount, as well as the option to get an additional 10% off if you authorize your account as a means of security. MailChimp boats robust marketing automation which makes sure your emails get to the right people at the right time. Some other features include: being able to target your customers based on behavior, preferences, and more; automatically sending your emails at the same time in different time zones; triggering emails with a single API request; and accessing in-depth reporting insights. MailChimp also allows you to to connect to your online store in order to create hundreds of e-commerce integrations as well as includes a drag-and-drop campaign builder. They even offer you the possibility to grow your audience with Facebook or Instagram ad campaigns. When it comes to mobile options, MailChimp has got your covered. Check out more info about their suite of mobile apps.

Campaign Monitor
Campaign Monitor offers a discount of 15% to nonprofits, with access to all their tools to create your email campaigns. This includes a drag-and-drop email builder and as well as access to hundreds of templates. You can also create personalized customer “journeys,” which allow you to schedule a “trail of emails” and determine what email is sent when depending on what buttons your visitors click on. Campaign Monitor uses personalized data to allow you to customize each email in order to deliver the right information, to the right audience, at the right time. You can also include sign-up pages on your site in order to grow your audience. Through Campaign Monitor analytics, you can see how your emails are performing in real time with interactive data and analytics on your campaign. Also learn how your audience is engaging and sharing, plus learn the effectiveness of your calls to action.

Logo EmailOctopusEmailOctopus allows you to create time-sensitive onboarding and drip emails, plus offers a 20% discount to nonprofits. Their rich library of free email templates make it super fast to create campaigns that are responsive to any device. You can build drip email sequences, import contacts, integrate with forms, and generate customized reports. Their segmentation also allows you to create highly targeted email campaigns based on the contact data that matters most to your organization. You can get started for free, and with pricing of less than $40 per month for 20k contacts, they are more affordable than the other platforms out there offering the same features.

AWeber Communications offers a discount of 25% to nonprofits, in addition to three complimentary months to start. You get access to their full range of tools, including powerful autoresponders which automate your email campaigns and help you stay in touch with your subscribers. You’ll also have a wide variety of email templates at your disposal, so you can choose one that best represents your organization. AWeber Communications’ reporting tool enables you to view the success of your emails in terms of how many have been opened and clicked through.

Benchmark Email offers a 25% discount for nonprofit organizations. You can choose from a variety of email templates and, if you don’t see one you like, you can always design your own. Benchmark Email also has excellent autoresponder capabilities to help streamline your email campaigns, leaving you time to focus on other tasks. You won’t be able to perform split testing, but you can still monitor the success of your campaigns with detailed reports on how your subscribers responded.

Get Response
GetResponse offers nonprofit organizations an astounding 50% off their purchase. This discount enables you to keep your costs very low while sending out a high volume of emails. You’ll have access to hundreds of templates, making it easy to design a professional-looking email that fits well with your organization’s style. If you have a substantial contacts list, you can upload them directly to GetResponse, which saves you quite a bit of time. GetResponse also integrates with popular social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so you can easily share your messages across those platforms.

VerticalResponse offers a whopping 10,000 free emails per month for nonprofits, along with several other discounts. Depending on how many emails you send per month, you may be able to enjoy VerticalResponse’s email marketing absolutely free. Nonprofits also receive discounted rates of up to 15% on emails in excess of 10,000. Other discounts are available for creating surveys, and you can enjoy 15% off events planned through VerticalResponse. For an event, you create a website, send out email invitations, and even promote it through your linked social media accounts. Not many other email marketing software programs provide services like this, so if you’re interested, it’s probably a good idea to take a look at what VerticalResponse has to offer.


Drip is unique in that they deliberately do not offer a drag and drop template builder because they claim that customers have a higher conversion rate using the HTML plain text template. It does, however, offer different templates with which you can customize your emails. With Drip, you can apply tags and send one-off emails or entire campaign sequences, all by using their automation system. Automations can be used to move subscribers in and out of campaigns, apply tags, record conversions, send them to an another application (like a CRM system), and more. Some other features include custom fields, lead tracking, email blasts for a specific purpose, split testing, and performance tracking.

Salsa Labs
Salsa’s email marketing tool, Engage, offers organizations like yours online marketing solutions tailor-made for nonprofit needs. With the platform’s robust email builder, your nonprofit can expertly craft email campaigns. Drag and drop text boxes, images, buttons, and more to customize the layout of your emails. You can even insert merge fields to tailor the text of your emails to their recipients. Once you’ve designed your email template, you’ll be able to preview it as a mobile, tablet, or desktop user to ensure it’s optimized for all of your supporters no matter how they access it. Your team can create custom email segments for your different campaigns based on factors like donor type, interaction history, campaign, giving recency, donation frequency, and more. Not only that, but when your nonprofit uses Salsa Engage, you’ll also have access to Salsa Engage’s online fundraising, online advocacy, and peer-to-peer fundraising software.

These are just a few of the many companies out there that offer solid email marketing software so that you can focus more time on spreading your mission and less on online engagement. If you would like to share your own personal experiences with email marketing, please comment below or feel free to reach out to us at Elevation. We’d love to hear from you!

best email marketing software for nonprofits

What to look for in a great nonprofit email marketing tool
Nonprofits have specific needs when it comes to email marketing tools, which is why there are a number of factors to consider when choosing a solution.

Pricing discount
A lot of email marketing platforms offer a pricing discount specifically for nonprofits.

Mailchimp email software has special 15% off pricing discount for nonprofits and charities. They also offer 10% off for implementing two-factor authentication.
Mailchimp’s pricing page includes details of its 15% discount for nonprofits.

These discounts are normally specified on the software’s public-facing pricing page, but sometimes you have to ask for details. Some vendors prefer to work it out on a case-by-case basis.

This offer is normally a percentage discount on your bill and varies by software vendor.

Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor offer a 15% discount, while Benchmark Email provides a 25% discount. It will be calculated after sign-up when you provide the software company with the details of your organization.

Relevant templates
People who are responsible for nonprofit email marketing are often pushed for time and need software that automates processes, but in a way that is relevant to their tasks.

That’s why you should look for email marketing software that has email templates suitable for nonprofits. This could be fundraising event templates or campaign update templates.

Using a template helps you make an email newsletter tailored to your purpose, and templates also take less time to put together.

Free plans or free trials
Budget is always going to be an issue when it comes to choosing email marketing services for nonprofits. That’s why it’s important to be sure that the tool you’re choosing is right for your organization.

Many email marketing tools offer free plans, while others provide free trials ranging from 14 days to a month. Make sure to try out the features and the usability before making a decision.

The 10 best email marketing services for your nonprofit
We’ve put together a list of the best email marketing software for nonprofits, all of which have functionality that can help you with specific tasks such as growing your donor email list, promoting fundraising events, and engaging customers to increase donations.

  1. Zoho Campaigns
    It’s important to get to know your donor base, to ensure you have up-to-date details so you can contact them in a timely fashion, and to make sure all interactions are stored in one place.

That way, you can make sure only one person is reaching out to your donors, that you’ve recorded their contact preferences (such as whether they prefer you to reach out via email or phone), and that you have all relevant previous interactions on hand in order to provide better service.

Zoho Campaigns contact management dashboard with subscriber information including contact information, location, custom fields, and associated lists.
Zoho Campaigns centralizes all donor information and interactions.

Zoho Campaigns has a set of contact management features that make it suitable for nonprofits. You can add custom fields to your sign-up forms and your contact management functionality to make sure you record the specific information relevant to managing your donors.

This email marketing software also brings together all donor information and interactions with your brand into one place.

The information you can add to this contact management hub is entirely customizable, but some useful details include:

Email segments and lists on which they are included
Campaigns they’ve been sent
Updates to their contact details
Social media activity

  1. Mailchimp
    Using autoresponders — automated series of emails triggered by customer behavior — can not only save you time, but they also increase response rates and overall engagement, such as clicks, forwards, and newsletter shares on social media.

There are a number of different campaigns you can automate, such as welcome series for when people first sign up to your mailing list, thank-you emails for when someone donates, and reengagement emails when someone hasn’t interacted with your brand for a set period of time.

Mailchimp automation screen with options including thank you responders, retargeting emails, abandoned cart emails, and purchase follow-ups.
Mailchimp provides autoresponder templates for specific types of campaigns.

Setting up these autoresponders yourself and knowing which emails to add next in the sequence can be challenging.

Mailchimp provides autoresponder templates for campaigns such as welcome series so you don’t have to set up those steps yourself. All you have to do is either create the emails or edit the email templates for your purpose.

  1. Campaign Monitor
    It’s important to keep track of how your email campaigns perform so you know which ones are effective, which ones you need to improve, and which aspects you can optimize to improve ROI.

When you’re running email marketing campaigns at nonprofits, this ROI often relates to donations rather than purchases. That’s why it’s key to have the tools in place to monitor which campaigns have led to donations.

Campaign Monitor and Salesforce integration screen tracking leads, deals, revenue, engagement, and campaigns in a dashboard view.
Campaign Monitor’s integration with apps such as Salesforce allows you to track campaign metrics, such as donations.

Campaign Monitor’s App Store allows you to download add-ons that you can then use to extend the email marketing solution’s capabilities to track donations through customer relationship management solutions, such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This allows you to see which email campaigns have led to donations.

  1. MailerLite
    While you may think it’s OK to send most emails to all subscribers as the end goal is the same — to get them to donate — that’s not a good approach if you want your donors to feel appreciated and to trust your organization.

Imagine if you received an email thanking you for attending an event you definitely didn’t go to. Would you trust that organization with your money? That’s why it’s important to segment your customers.

Mailerlite advanced recipients screen showing a dropdown with different segmentation options, such as location, time zone, sign up date, and inactivity.
MailerLite lets you create segments based on a wide range of criteria.

MailerLite lets you segment email lists based on more than one condition and according to a wide range of criteria.

For example, you can create a segment for people who attended a fundraising event for the first time who have never donated. Then you can send them very relevant emails that are tailored to their specific circumstances and past behavior.

  1. SendGrid
    If you want your recipients to feel like you care about them and you aren’t just after their money, you need to treat them like humans, not numbers on a list.

Automation is great for saving time, but you need to use it hand in hand with personalization to ensure your donors get the best service.

SendGrid email editor with drag and drop features to add personalization.
SendGrid lets you add tags to your email to personalize the message.

SendGrid’s email editor makes it easier to personalize emails by letting you add any information you collect on your donors to your message.

For example, you can choose to add simple demographic data such as name, age, and location, or custom fields such as which causes they like to donate to or events they’re interested in. SendGrid automatically pulls in this data from your contact list so you don’t have to manually add it yourself for each recipient.

  1. Sendinblue
    Tailoring the content of your email to different stages of the donation lifecycle process is another key way you can personalize content and send your subscribers more relevant content.

This means instead of creating multiple emails for different target audiences, you can create one email and customize it according to past behavior.

Sendinblue email editor with drag-and-drop feature to add design and content elements such as text, headers, buttons, etc.
Sendinblue’s email editor allows you to display different content blocks to different recipients.

Sendinblue’s email editor includes dynamic content functionality whereby different content blocks in an email are shown to different users depending on certain conditions. This can include demographic data, such as location, or past user behavior, such as whether they’ve donated before.

  1. Benchmark Email
    It’s important to send a variety of content to your subscribers instead of always asking them for donations or sharing recent news. You could share case studies of how donations have helped charitable causes or create informative videos about work other nonprofits do to help their cause.

Benchmark Email template editor with drag and drop style elements for image, text, video, divider, and more.
Benchmark Email’s templates are all fully customizable.

To create these emails, it’s useful to have access to a lot of different types of templates, and to be able to tailor each one to your specific purpose. Benchmark Email provides a wide range of templates organized by industry and occasion.

You can fully customize each template, deleting, editing, and moving existing content blocks, or adding new content such as images, videos, buttons, navigation bars, and email permission reminders.

  1. SendPulse
    If you want to reach your ultimate goal of generating more donations from your email marketing campaigns, you need to continually grow your list. One of the best ways to do that is to create sign-up forms for your website so that people who are browsing your site can easily give you their details.

SendPulse subscription form with options to select forms such as embedded, popup, floating, or fixed
SendPulse lets you choose the type of sign-up form you want to create.

When creating these forms, it’s important to think about layout and page placement so that you can generate sign-ups that don’t disturbing visitors’ flow.

SendPulse lets you choose the type of form you want to create, for example:

You can choose either a vertical or horizontal layout for the form, and you can also edit the notification text the person receives after sign-up.

SendPulse also lets you track the success of the form in generating sign-ups using either Google Analytics or Yandex.Metrica.

  1. ActiveCampaign
    Email marketing works best when it’s integrated with all of your other marketing channels. That’s one of the principle email and digital marketing tips you’ll read in any Marketing 101 tips.

For example, you could use social media to generate more sign-ups for your email newsletter.

Or you could use SMS marketing and push notifications to quickly let customers know about new campaigns or urgent appeals that need their attention.

ActiveCampaign window to create an SMS message with information on sending credits, recipient, message, and scheduling.
ActiveCampaign lets you communicate with donors in different ways from the same place.

As ActiveCampaign is an all-in-one marketing suite, it provides this functionality in one channel. By integrating multiple channels in one platform, you can communicate with your donors in different ways from the same place.

For example, if they have signed up for a fundraising event, you can schedule an SMS to be sent the morning of the event to remind them.

  1. GetResponse
    People are busy, and they receive tons of emails every day.

It doesn’t matter that you work for a nonprofit organization, you still need to create engaging content that will cut through the noise. It’s not an easy task, but there are a couple of ways you can make your life easier.

First of all, the subject line is crucial. You need to personalize the subject line and make it interesting enough to entice people to open your newsletter. Secondly, you need to test different elements to see what resonates with your subscribers.

Every organization is different, so what works for one nonprofit might not work for another.

GetResponse A/B test function with 5 different subject line options
GetResponse lets you test different email options to see what works.

GetResponse provides a wide variety of options for A/B testing your campaigns, including subject line, delivery time, the from field, and content. It lets you test five different subject lines for each message and personalize each one.

Email marketing is essential for nonprofits
With the right email marketing software, you can save a ton of time and money by automating manual processes while improving the effectiveness of your campaigns in engaging subscribers and getting donations.

Email marketing for nonprofits is essential in the smooth running of your operations, and it frees up your time to focus on ensuring that your organization continues to do its important work in the most effective way.


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