People instead of profits: E-Mail marketing for nonprofits

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Nonprofit groups and associations face an uphill climb when launching an e-mail marketing campaign to their potential members: selling an idea rather than a product on a limited budget.
Many of the same techniques of conventional online marketing translate, but there are major differences in assessing your audience, copywriting and the use of the group's Web site. It is important to tailor your e-mail campaign to the demographic whose time and money you hope to win.
Assessing your audience. When assessing the target prospects for nonprofit organizations, it is essential to consider their profession and how they might relate to your organization.
Although education is often touted as an all-encompassing benefit, the main attraction for members who join associations is networking. Building work relationships through common organizations helps people learn more about the industry through mentors and provides connections to help further their careers. 
People can also relate to your organization independently of their profession. Charitable giving continues to steadily increase around 2 percent every year, according to recent reports. While corporate clients are restricted to appealing to the prospect's business interest, some nonprofit organizations are able to tap into personal connections or special interests.
Connecting to the content. The language of the e-mail must speak directly to the person whose inbox you have infiltrated. Keep subject lines brief and try asking a question that is specific to his or her interests: "Looking for networking opportunities in your field?"
The benefits of joining the organization should always be front and center.
For example, in an e-mail announcing the organization's annual conference, the educational theme must be prominently displayed and supported with details to hook the prospect personally to the event. Buzzwords like "trends" and "future" can be used to show timeliness, persuading the prospective member to attend in order to stay up to date on their field.
Instant information from Web sites. One of the nonprofit's major goals is to increase traffic to the Web site. Nonprofit organizations have benefited tremendously from the convenience of the Internet. By linking from the e-mail to the Web site, prospects can instantly act on their impulse to find out more and can quickly gain access to online registration and event information.
Plus, most marketing companies can interpret the return on investment by analyzing the number of views the Web site receives. Databases that accurately track leads and store information are used to predict the e-mail's success.
A nonprofit e-mail campaign that considers all of these factors is sure to increase membership and therefore drive revenue. Paying extra attention to how your prospect will connect with the organization's goals and keeping key information readily accessible will help keep your e-mail from hitting the trash bin.

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