Why mobile responsive emails are critical for nonprofit fundraising

Nonprofit fundraising strategies should adjust to fit mobile email habits.
Date Published
05/22/2014

Email has been a well-established resource for many organizations during nonprofit fundraising campaigns. The trouble is that email habits have rapidly changed while many nonprofit groups continue to employ the same strategies. What’s the driver behind that shift? Mobile technology has made it easy for donors and volunteers to check their email from virtually any location with a wireless Internet connection or using 3G and 4G technology.

Mobile is a primary mode of communication
Recent research conducted by the email marketing analytics firm Campaign Monitor found the vast majority of email marketing messages are opened using a mobile device. The company analyzed data comprised of roughly 6 million email marketing campaigns – equating to more than 1.8 billion opens – in 2013.

The study indicated 41 percent of email opens occurred on a mobile device, while 28 percent of emails were accessed on a desktop computer. In just two years, there has been a 30 percent increase in using tablets or smartphones to open marketing emails, suggesting many individuals have moved away from using their desktop as their primary mode of access to email.

How can nonprofits adjust their strategies?

This can fundamentally change the way nonprofit organizations reach out to donors during fundraising campaigns. However, a mobile responsive email strategy requires substantial planning. Here are a few ways that Nonprofit Technology Network suggested philanthropic groups can ensure their fundraising and marketing emails reach their target:

1. Be concise
Similar to optimizing a website donation page for mobile devices, the same advice holds true with emails. There’s not a lot of screen space that fundraisers have to work with, even on some of the largest tablets. Accordingly, make sure the messaging goes straight to the heart of the matter. A single sentence can appear as if it were a paragraph, so avoid writing extensive articles within a given mobile-focused email.

2. Make calls to action prominent
As with any marketing email, the nonprofit will have a specific goal in mind. For instance, many organizations send emails encouraging donors to participate in an event or, obviously, contribute to a campaign. These kinds of calls to action should be easy and simple for recipients to identify and follow.

3. Keep external links to a minimum
As NTEN recommended, don’t distract donors with too much extra information or activities that detract from the central message. This includes links. While an organization can briefly highlight its social network connections at the bottom of the email to make the content sharable, too many external links can drag donors away from the email’s focus.

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