8 Quick Ideas to Build Your E-mail List

Marketing and Social Media

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Ah, e-mails. Every fundraiser has a love/ hate relationship with them. Coming up with newsletter content, writing efficient calls to action, and writing good fundraising appeals are important undertakings! The best e-mails ever written wouldn’t be effective, though, if people never saw them. So how do you build your e-mail lists to make sure your hard work is seen by plenty of people?

1. Include an e-mail signup on your website

Don’t make your fans hunt around your webpage to find the e-mail signup! Consider including a sign-up option in your site’s sidebar or somewhere visible on each page. There are lot of different ways to work in a quick field asking for an e-mail address for future updates. Get creative!

2. Add an opt-in on your donation page

If someone is making a donation to your nonprofit, they’re already emotionally connected to your mission. Take advantage of their enthusiasm! If your donation form already collects donors’ e-mail addresses, they can opt into getting e-mails with just one click. We don’t recommend auto-enrolling donors in your e-mail lists, though. Let them make that decision!

3. Promote your newsletter

Do your donors know that you send out newsletters? They should! Let them know that they can stay connected to your organization by signing up for updates, and make sure you link them to an opt-in form. You can spread the word through friends, at speaking engagements, on your social media channels, or any other time you’re connecting to your supporters.

4. Use a call to action

Just talking about your newsletter isn’t enough to get people involved. People often need a direct invitation or call to action to get them involved. Don’t promote your newsletter without explicitly asking people to get involved. Using strong calls to action can mean the difference between a donor scrolling past your promotion and actually adding an e-mail address to your list.

5. Make e-mail content shareable

Writing compelling content is a great way to get donors passionate about your work. It’s also a great way to spread the word about your mission! If your newsletters and appeals are full of wonderful stories, powerful pictures, and effective calls to action, your supporters are more likely to share that content with their friends and family members. Give people something to talk about!

6. Have a sign-up list at events

Setting up a table at a local event? Offer interested passers-by the opportunity to sign up for e-mail updates right then and there. This is especially useful if you focus on building an emotional bond between your audience and your organization right off the bat. Don’t wait to share your photos and stories in e-mails; give attendees a reason to sign up right away!

7. Include an opt-in in your direct mailings

Direct mail campaigns are still a popular fundraising method. Try including an opt-in form that allows donors to mail in their e-mail addresses. Two tips: don’t stop direct mail campaigns if they’re still working, even if your donors receive e-mails, too, and make sure you don’t send them the same information in an e-mail that they received in the mail!

8. Run a contest

There are lots of upsides to running a contest. It helps your donors connect with you, it can help you spread the word about your organization and attract new donors, it can help you build and solidify your brand… and it can help you grow your e-mail list! Collecting participants’ e-mail addresses can help you keep in touch long after the contest is over.

Building your e-mail lists takes a bit of strategy and lots of hard work, but the payoff is worth it. There are endless ways to grow your list — these are just a few ideas! You’re only limited by your creativity.


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