Donor communications should be intentional. They should validate the donor’s decision to contribute and build inclination for future gifts by demonstrating mission achievement. eNewsletters are a great way to communicate to your donors because they are low cost and are a critical tool in building online giving. There are several important factors that should be considered before sending your first eNewsletter.

1. Identify your audience – Consider who will be receiving your eNewsletter: donors, program participants, volunteers, prospects, etc. Consider targeting your eNewsletter to a specific group or groups in order to focus your message.

2. Pick a tool – MailChimp, Constant Contact, Vertical Response, etc. Create templates that best communicate your message and connect with your intended audience.

3. Frequency – Decide how often you are going to send eNewsletters. Map out your communications for the year. Start conservatively and add in frequency as applicable.

4. Subject line: Tell, don’t sell – According to MailChimp, “the best subject lines TELL what’s inside, and the worst subject lines SELL what’s inside.”

  • Lowest open rates included the words: exciting; state of the art; solution; partner; leading edge; passion; unique; help; reminder; confirm; join, assistance; speaker; press; social; invite
  • Focus on the benefits to your reader
  • Ditch the CAPS and exclamation marks!!!
  • Consider using numbers in your subject line
  • Experiment and test different subject lines with your readers
  • Best practice is to keep your email subjects under 50 characters – “They should not be longer than this sentence”

5. Review and Test – Review your work for grammar and accuracy. Test your eNewsletter on desktops and mobile devices for format. Avoid industry slang or acronyms that the average reader won’t understand.

6. Upload and Share – Upload the content of your eNewsletter to your organization website for archiving and reference. Share your content on social media sites.

7. Track – Track the number of eNewsletters sent and track open, return, click, and forward rates through your distribution site. Take note of which campaigns have better success than others and try to determine why.