Nonprofit Marketing – 3 Easy Ways to Grow Your Email List

Guest post by Rich Dietz

add email addresses

Do you want to do more email marketing for your nonprofit organization? Even if you have a small email list, I still recommend email marketing. The folks on your list may be your best supporters – the ones who take action on items you send out. 

That said, let’s grow your email list to have an even bigger impact! Here are 3 easy ways to get started without spamming or buying lists.

1) Use a sign-up form on all pages of your website

Your sign-up form has the potential to make the greatest impact on growing your list. While many nonprofits have a sign-up form, it is often buried on an internal page. You don’t want your donors and prospects to have to hunt for this, so put the sign-up form on all pages of your site.

You can add it to the sidebar of the site, like Kathie has done here (look to the top right on all of the pages of this site –> ). I have also seen sites that put the opt-in box in the header section of the site above the top navigation. Either way, you want the form on all pages because you don’t know which page or article is going to be the one that inspires website visitors to sign up.

2) Use your email signature

This is one of the easiest methods that you can start using today in about 5 minutes. Think about how many emails you send from your Outlook or Gmail account on a daily basis… 100′s? So what is in your email signature right now? Probably just your name, title, organization and maybe phone number, right?

Why not add a simple link in your signature to invite folks to sign up for your email list. Simply go into the settings of your email program, edit your signature and add in the link to your sign up page. If you don’t currently use a signature in your outgoing email then start doing it today, with a link to the email sign-up of course.


Everyone in your organization can add this sign-up link to their signatures – not just the development folks! You can see an example here in Kathie’s email signature.

3) Run a contest

This one requires a little bit more planning and time, but it is so much fun. It can also generate quite a bit of buzz depending on the prizes and how much you can convince your supporters to spread the word. I have recently started doing this on a more regular basis and have seen some very encouraging results.

There are tons of different products and services out there that can help you run an online contest, but don’t get overwhelmed with the choices. You could very easily say that the winner will be selected at random from all of your current email subscribers. This method is very simple and you just use your current opt-in process and do the drawing from your entire list.


The other option is to use a product or service, which gives you the ability to add in more interactivity, features and the potential for your contest to go viral. The service I am using now, and very happy with, is called RaffleCopter. If we are currently running a contest you can see it in action right here – Nonprofit R+D Contest Page.

What I like about RaffleCopter (besides it being free) is that you can allow folks to enter the contest in multiple ways – sign up for your email newsletter, tweet about the contest, like you page on Facebook, etc. It’s a great way to encourage folks to spread the word about your organization and increase your email list at the same time…now that is what I call “easy.”

Rich Dietz has spent the last 20 years working both in and with a variety of nonprofit, political, and government organizations as well as technology companies focused on the nonprofit sector, including Convio, KIMBIA and Abila. Rich’s unique background allows him to better understand and assist nonprofit organizations with their technology needs. You can learn more about Rich and his work at

Do you have other tips to grow your nonprofit email list? Let us know in the Comments box below.

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