Posted by Jay Wilkinson

Mistake #1: Not Using an Email Service Provider

Email marketing remains an effective and engaging way to stay in touch with constituents and others associated with your nonprofit, so don’t believe the naysayers who say otherwise. However, not all email messages are created equal. Your marketing efforts are only going to be as effective as the email messages that you and your staff create.

Because e-newsletters are a typical form of email communication in the nonprofit sector, I want to talk a little about what makes a good newsletter—or, rather on the flip side, what makes an ineffective one. Over the next few posts, let’s look at six common mistakes nonprofits make with their newsletters so you’ll know what to avoid as you plan your communications strategy.

To begin, one of the most common mistakes nonprofits use is not using an email service provider.

If you want to make a polished, professional impression on your subscribers, sending your nonprofit’s emails via Gmail (or a similar email client) is not the way go do it. A few years ago, I received an email from a nonprofit executive along with 300 to 400 other email recipients. How do I know this? Because all their names and email addresses were on the email message she sent out from her Gmail account.

What’s the problem with this? Well, with one click of a button, there was my email address along with several hundred others, right there for all the world to steal. It was blatant violation of my (and hundreds of others’) privacy.

It can be very frustrating for people to feel violated in this way. Once an email goes out like that, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it, but all of the sudden hundreds of people I don’t know have my email address without my permission.

Instead of sending your organization’s emails through Gmail, Yahoo! or whatever personal email program you use, it’s important to use an email service provider tool that’s set up to send professional-quality emails that don’t compromise your subscribers’ privacy.

Want to know more? Make sure you don’t miss the other parts of the “6 E-Newsletter Mistakes to Avoid" series:
Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, and Part Six