The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

5 Mobile Email Tips from Successful Nonprofits

The inbox has changed, along with the way potential donors, supporters, and volunteers read and interact with your emails.

Failing to make the change to a more “mobile friendly” email experience could result in missed opportunities to grow your organization.

We recently talked to five nonprofits that are already using mobile-friendly emails and seeing some impressive results.

Here are 5 tips from successful nonprofits:

1. Use a single-column template

Pajama Program Email

With so much going on in and around your organization, you may feel that you need as much real estate as possible to keep your audience informed and up-to-date.

But here’s the thing: the multiple-column templates that make your emails look organized on a desktop or laptop, really have the opposite effect on a mobile device. While you may have been able to get away with squeezing schedules, links, and other pieces of content into an email sidebar in the past, on mobile, that content will be difficult to read and act on.

A single-column template, like the one used by Pajama Program saves your readers from having to pinch to zoom in order to read an update or click a link and, overall, gives them a much more enjoyable experience on a mobile device.


2. Provide a Clear Call to Action

Alex's Lemonade Stand

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re making it easy for people to take action is by providing a single, clear call to action.

Before sending an email, ask yourself: What is the number one action I want my reader to take? Do you want them to donate to your cause? Register for an event? Volunteer to help out? Let them know!

Like the above email from Alex’s Lemonade Stand, you can make your message clear by using mobile-friendly email buttons, which are great for grabbing attention. Even if you are working with different types of content —text, video, or an image — all your content should map to a single, clear call to action.


3. Create a Clean Design

Strong Women Strong Girls Email

If you’ve been using email marketing for your nonprofit, you already know that you only have a short window of time to engage someone after they open your email.

People are even more likely to scan through email while on the go and using a mobile device. That’s why it’s increasingly important to make your emails clear, readable, and easy to navigate.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind from Strong Women, Strong Girls:

    • Use plenty of white space: Don’t blind people with huge blocks of text. Instead, use bullets and shorter paragraphs to break up text.
    • Avoid tiny fonts: Make sure your text is easy to read. Use a minimum 11pt font for body text and 22pt font for headlines.
    • Take it easy on images: Avoid the temptation to pack your email with tons of images from your fundraisers or volunteer events. Many mobile platforms turn images off by default. If your email has a bunch of images in it, they might display as chunks of white space.



4. Choose Your Words Carefully

AAIT Email

Being passionate about your nonprofit means you probably have a lot to say about it. It’s important to find the balance between sharing your passion and understanding your readers.

Try to cut down to the essential. That way you can get your point across without overwhelming your readers.

Amanda Williams, website and communications chair of the Atlanta Association of Interpreters and Translators says it best: “As people who are constantly working with languages, we tend to get a bit wordy…We’ve changed the aesthetic of our emails and have streamlined our information as much as possible. We’ve tried to keep it relatively simple, and now they look much more modern than they did when we started.”


5. Use Mobile-Friendly Links

APAC Email

When it comes to mobile, a finger is the new mouse. A link that may be easy to click on a desktop can seem nearly impossible to click with the tip of your finger. If your readers can’t click your links, they’ll be far less likely to take action.

Here are a few ways you can make links more mobile-friendly from Astoria Performing Arts Center:

  • Make images clickable: By uploading a photo of their staff and including a call to action that asked readers to click the photo, APAC was able to not only make their emails more visually appealing to their audience, but was also able to offer a more convenient experience to their entire audience.
  • Put your most important link front-and-center: Remember, people will be scanning your emails on a phone or tablet. Make sure your link can be found right away.
  • Use buttons: Instead of making readers pinch to zoom in on a text link, use a button to make your links easier to click on.

Try these tips out on your next email campaign!

As Constant Contact’s Content Developer, Ryan Pinkham helps small businesses and nonprofits recognize their full potential through marketing and social media.

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About This Blog

Connie Poulos
Senior Associate, Copywriter

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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