enewblogMy e-newsletter is by far the driving force behind Nonprofit Tech 2.0. Those 27,000+ subscribers produce more return on investment (ROI) in terms of bringing in new clients and webinar attendees than my 600,000+ Twitter followers and 40,000+ Facebook fans combined. And even though a recent report pointed out that email open and donor response are dropping in the nonprofit sector, I can’t help but wonder if current (yet old) e-newsletter design trends have a lot to do with the results. Most e-newsletters today seem to be stuck in the design best practices of 2006 and take little account for the rapid rise of social media and the fact that the number one activity on smartphones today is reading email. On average 43% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, thus nonprofits need to be sending out e-newsletters that make it easy to take action and donate on mobile devices i.e, integration of social media, mobile-optimized donate pages, text-to-give donate pages, and the ability to donate via mobile wallets. The problem of lower donor response rates via email could be attributed to that fact that most nonprofits and email service providers are not evolving quickly enough or taking into account that most email will likely be read on smartphones and tablets by the end of the year.

There’s a lot more I could say about e-newsletter design best practices for 2013 (and do so in my online fundraising and e-newsletter webinar), but below I wanted to hone in on three examples of successful integration of social media, “Donate Now” technology, and mobile communications into e-newsletters because shockingly most nonprofits do not integrate social media, a “Donate Now” button, or their mobile campaigns into every issue of their e-newsletter – at least that’s the case with the 100+ nonprofit e-newsletters that I am subscribed to. :)

1. Human Rights Watch e-Newsletter :: Subscribe

Top of e-Newsletter:
1. Orange “Donate Today” button in every issue.
2. Pitch to “Follow” on social networking sites in every issue.

HRW1

Middle of e-Newsletter:
News content that can be shared on Facebook and Twitter.

HRW2

Bottom of e-Newsletter:
1. Link to video on the HRW YouTube Channel.
2. Orange “Donate Today” button in every issue.
3. Pitch to “Follow” on social networking sites in every issue.

HRW3


2. Mercy Corps e-Newsletter :: Subscribe

Top of e-Newsletter:
1. Capability to share the e-newsletter on social networks in every issue.
2. Green “Donate” button in every issue.
3. Mercy Corp’s website is responsively designed thus every website link posted in their e-newsletter is mobile compatible including the “Donate” link.

MC1

Middle of e-Newsletter:
1. Integration of blog content.
2. Link to YouTube video embedded on the Mercy Corps website.

MC2

Bottom of e-Newsletter:
1. Integration of Instagram photos.
2. Pitch to “Follow” on social networking sites in every issue.

MC3


3. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals :: Subscribe

Top of e-Newsletter:
1. Capability to share the e-newsletter on social networks in every issue.
2. “Donate Now” button in every issue.

Peta1

Middle of e-Newsletter:
1. Link to an online petition that can be shared on social networks.
2. Link to Vimeo video embedded on the Peta website.

Peta2

Bottom of e-Newsletter:
1. Integration of  Peta products that can be pinned on Pinterest.
2. Pitch to “Follow” on social networking sites in every issue.
3. Pitch to subscribe to mobile alerts in every issue.

Peta3

Related Links:
Live Webinar: Online Fundraising and e-Newsletters for Nonprofits
On-Demand Webinar: Online Fundraising and e-Newsletters for Nonprofits