One of the important tasks of a volunteer management leader is communicating with volunteers. Not only is it necessary to ensure that all volunteers are on the same page and aware of what the different opportunities require, but how you communicate will affect how you recruit prospective volunteers.
That is why creating a dedicated and comprehensive email marketing strategy is so crucial. Even with the prevalence of text messaging and social media, email is still one of the best ways to reach your volunteers and prospects. In fact, according to Statista, email usage is actually predicted to increase by 2-3% each year from 2018 to 2023.
In the past decade, email marketing has evolved beyond a mass text communication to your entire audience. With novel marketing tools and software solutions, you can create emails with high-quality graphics and interactive content, as well as develop a strategy for more targeted and personalized communications.
That being said, meeting prospective and high-qualified volunteers isn’t always easy, but your email tool can help your volunteer management efforts. Let’s explore the following email marketing tips to help set your volunteer program up for success and reach top prospects:
- Craft the right message
- Segment your email recipients
- Automate personal details
- Be creative with email design
Email marketing strategies thrive when the content is personalized and provides the recipient with genuinely valuable information. Keep this in mind as you rethink your own email marketing outreach efforts. Ready to begin? Let’s jump in.
1. Craft The Right Message
In any volunteer recruitment effort, you’ll need to think carefully in order to craft the right message. Whether you’re putting out social media blasts or distributing actual recruitment posters, the right message will capture your audience’s attention and engage them. The same goes for your email marketing efforts.
To create the perfect email that aligns with and supports your volunteer recruitment efforts, consider taking some insights from this article on recruitment best practices from Galaxy Digital, a volunteer management software provider. In short, you should follow these steps:
- Evaluate your organization’s image. Take a moment to reflect on your organization’s current standing and how potential volunteers will view your successes, goals, and mission. Once you have a better understanding of your organization, it can be easier to target the right volunteers and craft the right message.
- Draft your message. Your email should aim to recruit volunteers in a positive way. Make sure to focus on why volunteers are needed and the exact roles you’re looking for. This is also a great place to describe how the opportunity can benefit the volunteer.
- Create a call to action. Once you draft the email describing your need and the volunteer positions you’re seeking, you need to also include a clear call to action that leads readers to your volunteer website. This can be a simple link to your volunteer registration page with the text: “Help us do more for our community and volunteer today!”
You need to compose an email that effectively represents your organization’s brand, describes the volunteer opportunity and why it’s important, and pushes prospects to visit your volunteer site. Consider creating a template for easy email completion in the future!
2. Segment Your Email Recipients
Often, your volunteer opportunities might require specific skill sets or other traits. Or, you might know that some of your existing volunteers only sign up for certain experiences and tend to avoid others. This is why email segmentation is so important.
Email segmentation is a marketing strategy that can help create more targeted content for your supporters. This is a common tactic for nonprofit organizations when talking to donors. In fact, according to this article, “To strengthen communication and development strategies, nonprofits of all sizes organize their overall donor populations into smaller groups, or segments, that have common characteristics.”
In order to segment your email audience, you’ll need a volunteer management tool that can serve the purpose. This way, your organization can:
- Send targeted volunteer opportunities to those with the needed skills. Segment your volunteers and volunteer prospects by particular skills like construction or medical experience. Then, when you send out volunteer recruitment emails you know that the people who are receiving them are qualified for the job.
- Only offer the volunteer opportunities that actually interest the recipient. Segment your volunteers by their interests and goals, so you have a sense of which prospects will likely sign up for which opportunity. When volunteers only receive recruitment emails for experiences that they’ll enjoy, it also increases the chance that they’ll keep supporting your cause.
- Create a specific email chain for those who have never volunteered before. If you know that a supporter hasn’t actually volunteered before, your emails to them might require additional information beyond what the opportunity consists of. Compose an email that also talks about previous volunteer impacts and your mission statement that is only sent to new volunteers. After all, your regular volunteers don’t need an update on what your organization does— they already know!
With email segmentation, you can rest assured knowing that your recipients are receiving targeted and valuable content. This can increase conversion rates and the number of volunteers joining your organization!
3. Automate the personal details
Along with more targeted email content, your email marketing strategy should also consider the best ways to personalize its messages. With American workers receiving an average of 126 emails a day, it’s worth it to optimize your content in order to make your email stand out.
Simply adding the recipient’s name and other volunteer history details can show prospects that they’re more than just one of many in a database. In fact, emails with personalized subject lines to the reader are 26% more likely to be opened. However, it’s not very cost and time effective to manually personalize each of your email marketing content to volunteers.
Instead, look to your volunteer management solution and fundraising software and see if you can automate personal data within your emails.
Currently, your organization should be recording key details anyway. According to this DNL OmniMedia article on data management strategies, you should be collecting data like:
- Demographic and contact information
- Donation records
- Engagement histories like volunteer records and program attendance
- Employer and other professional affiliations
- Interests, skills, or philanthropic affinities
The data points above can be a great way to upgrade your email marketing content. For instance, let’s say you’re sending out volunteer recruitment emails to a group of prospects that have participated in a similar experience before. Besides their name, make sure to automate details such as the exact opportunity they’ve volunteered in before and its impact. This way they’re reminded of their past support and know that it made a genuine difference, motivating them to sign up again!
4. Be Creative With Email Design
The last tip we’ll be talking about is how to be creative with your email content design. Defaulting to a purely text email is an easy way to send recruitment appeals to prospects, but might not be the most engaging way to reach out.
Consider instead incorporating fun graphics or even photos from past volunteer events. This is a great way to capture readers’ attention and offer a representation of what the prospect will do for the volunteer experience. Graphics are also a convenient and intuitive way to display information on your volunteer opportunity. Hiring a skilled HTML email developer would be a great bet here.
On this same train of thought, interactive emails have risen in popularity due to how engaging they are. In fact, 81% of marketers have noticed that interactive content performs more effectively than static content.
Interactivity in your recruitment emails encourages active engagement instead of passive reading. For instance, consider including quizzes, polls, or surveys in your emails. These could be about the volunteer opportunity at hand or even on the volunteer’s current relationship with your organization. This is also a great way to gain some genuine feedback from volunteers.
For more help on how you can bring your email marketing content to the next level, consider working with a specialist. An email marketing expert can help you develop content that accurately represents your organization and volunteer experience, effectively engages recipients, and ultimately leads them to your volunteer site.
Email is a great tool to connect with and recruit volunteers for your organization. However, developing a qualified and successful email marketing strategy requires more than just writing an appeal and sending it off. Hopefully, the above tips can set you on the right path to creating personalized and targeted content that effectively engages your audience. Good luck!