Using Freemiums to Build Your Nonprofit’s Email List

digital marketing donor attraction email marketing Mar 26, 2018


We all know the power of email in keeping our nonprofits afloat. Whether it’s raising awareness, soliciting donations, looking for volunteers or asking for advocacy, emails are the lifeblood of heart-centered organizations.

But how can you keep your email list robust with new recruits who will support your mission?

Let’s face it – it can be hard to get people to sign up for emails. We all know about overstuffed digital inboxes and the hesitancy to sign up for anything that results in more emails to read. When asked to provide a name and email address, even the most generous, obliging souls might ask themselves:

What am I getting out of this?

Which is why freemiums are a great way to overcome this natural ambivalence about signing up for more communication with a nonprofit.

They are a way of providing valuable information to someone who is interested in a particular subject, issue or concern that aligns with your mission. And it gives you a chance to softly introduce your organization and its role in addressing the topic.

Freemiums are more successful in getting people to give you their name and email than other more passive methods. Yes, you can have a “join our community” or “get our newsletter here” button on your website, but they will convert better (get more people to sign up) if they come with the promise of providing something of value and interest right away.  

And you, through the leadership, marketing and communications of your nonprofit, have that information of immediate value and interest. 

You are an expert in your mission. You know a great deal about the issue your organization is addressing. You know the what, why and how of things that need to be done to serve those most in need or your services.

It’s just a matter of taking that important information and communicating the need in a way that frames your mission.

But, one important thing to remember – the freemium shouldn’t be about you or your nonprofit specifically. Instead it is that more general information about the realm in which you are working. For example:

  1.  If your cause is preventing childhood obesity, you could create a freemium about free or low-cost sports and fitness opportunities for children in your area with information about how it addresses this issue.

  2. Promoting environmentalism? A great freemium would be a guide on how to make your home more sustainable.

  3. An organization focused on animal adoptions could provide a guide on healthy pet treats or schedules for vaccinations for puppies and kittens.

The important thing is that the freemium is your introduction, your first impression with a potential supporter that again, provides them with something of value and interest relative to the focus of your organization. And they’ll know that the first time you asked them for anything (that is, their name and email) you gave them something in return.

And that can be the start of a beautiful relationship, one that you will nurture with your follow up introductory emails, your newsletter and your appeals.

For my step-by-step guide to creating a freemium, more examples of freemiums that have worked for my clients and what to do with your freemium once it’s ready to go, get my guide below.

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It will inspire you to take advantage of your unique knowledge and transform it into relevant content that will bring new supporters into your network of people who are interested in the work of your organization, and increase engagement with your nonprofit.