Successful Nonprofit Email Marketing… On a Budget

Don’t call it a comeback.

Email marketing has been here for years.

(If you got that reference, let’s be friends, yes?)

I firmly believe that email marketing is an area where you can make a small investment and get a big return on behalf of your cause or community.

Below are my best tips on email marketing to get you started down the right path (or improve the path you’re already on!)

successful nonprofit email marketing on a budget

Start with the Right Tool

The only one I recommend: MailChimp*

It has all the features that I want for your organization:

  • Free to start!
  • Once your list reaches more than 2,000 subscribers, you can upgrade your account for as little as $10/mo
  • Simple interface for creating and sending email messages
  • Tons of awesome advanced features, such as an automated “welcome” series
  • Painless integrations with software you already use, such as WordPress, Salesforce and Google Analytics

There are tons of other email marketing tools out there. You might love the one you currently use.

But if you’re just starting with email marketing or you’d like to vastly improve your existing email marketing, then I recommend MailChimp*.

Follow Up with the Right Strategies

Regardless of what tool you use, here are the four principles of email marketing that will ensure your success.


Your first challenge is to convince people to subscribe to your email list.

More people will subscribe if you keep your sign up form brief: first name and email address.

The more fields you add to your signup form, the fewer people you will have on your list.

Does it make you itchy to imagine an email signup form with just two fields? Try it for just one month. Then tweet me with your awesome results.


Your potential subscribers need to trust your organization before they will share personal information such as their email address. An easy way to build (or lose!) trust is with your email signup form. A form that seamlessly integrates into your webpages will reassure website visitors that your organization is thorough and trustworthy.

Invest the time and budget to embed the email signup form right into your webpage and have it formatted to match the look and feel of the site.


Consistency is key to successful email marketing. Whether you send your enewsletter once a week, once every two weeks or once a month, the frequency isn’t as important as the consistency.

Choose a schedule that makes sense for your workload and your organization’s calendar – and then stick with it!


The majority of email messages are opened on mobile devices. That means your supporters are reading your enewsletter in between the rest of their activities: on the elevator ride up to the office, on their evening commute home or (in my case) at 11pm while they nurse a newborn.

Make your life easier and keep your enewsletter relevant by focusing on just one story per issue.

Want more ways to make your job easier?

Scroll down and subscribe to SmartCause Digital email updates. You’ll receive a helpful website resource every two weeks.

* This is an affiliate link. My love for MailChimp runs strong and deep. I would, and do, happily recommend them at every chance I get.

yesenia sotelo

About Yesenia Sotelo

Yesenia Sotelo is a digital skills teacher and web developer.

She elevates ambitious nonprofit professionals by teaching them how to use the technology tools of modern marketing.

Yesenia can teach you how to use website analytics or improve your online marketing results.

Her SmartCause Method for building websites is especially designed for the way nonprofits collaborate, make decisions and grow.

She won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) for her work teaching digital skills to nonprofit professionals.