Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

What is email marketing automation?

What is email marketing automation?

In this blog, Joanne Warner Director of International Business Development at Engaging Networks will explore how charities and nonprofits can use the power of email marketing automation to build deeper relationships with supporters and ultimately raise more money.

What is email marketing automation?

Have you ever booked a flight and then got an email asking if you want to upgrade or book a seat or add hold luggage? That’s going to be email marketing automation.

Have you ever got halfway through an online check out process and stopped only to receive an email from the same company a few hours later asking if there’s something they can help you with? That’s going to be email marketing automation.

Have you ever got an email from your favourite restaurant a week before your birthday offering a free drink to celebrate? That’s going to be email marketing automation.

These are all activities personalised to you and designed to give you a great experience. That’s email marketing automation.

A chart showing an example of email marketing automation

An example of email marketing automation


Why do we need email marketing automation?

Automated emails have a 70.5% higher open rate and a 152% higher click-through rate than standard messages. (Epsilon)

44% of donors told Accenture in 2017 that they would be willing to donate up to 10% more for a personalised experience.

It’s no understatement to say it’s tough times for fundraisers. However, technology, specifically email marketing automation can help you deepen your engagement with supporters and ultimately raise more money.

With the right email marketing automation technology you can:

Plan your campaigns

Imagine knowing how many people you have in each list, having email templates set up, the ability to preview your email, run tests and schedule emails to go at a specific time or for a specific reason. And, more importantly, imagine having this planned in advance so it runs seamlessly. Your job becomes about ongoing optimisation and not slow and manual processes.

Segment your list

You can segment on criteria like user data, question responses, participation in advocacy actions or submitted fundraising pages. We know that people often support our cause in different ways. We need a way to prioritise their needs. The right technology puts the tools directly in your hands.

Segmenting your list using Engaging Networks

Segmenting your list


Trigger email series

It’s your supporter’s birthday, or they’ve just given for the first time, or their credit card is about to expire. Imagine having the ability to get in touch with your supporters at the right time without needing to take any action.

Convert leads to donors

To raise more money your database needs to be continuously growing and you need to have plans of how to convert those people to financial support. We know it can feel overwhelming but marketing automation can help you define journeys and workflows.

Engage with your supporters in a relevant way

Persona worksheet from Engaging Networks

A sample persona worksheet

It’s all about collecting the right data from your supporters in the right way. Do you know why they joined your list? What they are interested in hearing about from you? Consider, can you ask them to take further actions or complete surveys to help you gain insight and understanding? Your technology should help you get a better understanding of your supporters and their needs.

Analyse and optimise your journeys

A chart showing how to analyse and optimise your supporters' journeys

Analyse and optimise your journeys

You need to know what’s working and what’s not. You’ll want to split test your content, test your subject lines, change your priorities. You may want to amend content for seasonal activities.

Ensure you are constantly reviewing and powering up when something’s working and dialling down when it’s not. The right technology will give you the insight you need.



Free email marketing automation resources

Sign up today for Engaging Networks twelve-week programme on email marketing automation. It’s packed with worksheets, templates, checklists and tips designed to help you deepen relationships with supporters and ultimately raise more money.

You will receive:
🥳  Goal setting worksheet
🗺️ Email planning template
🎭 Persona worksheet
📥 Blog: Email preference centres for more effective email marketing
🎓 Segmentation generator
👯‍♀️ Blog: 10 tips to help you get personal with donors
👑 Blog: 10 tips for writing awesome fundraising email
🚀 Blog: Five essential marketing automations for non-profits.


Cover of 10 tips to help you get personal with donors


About Joanne Warner

Joanne started her charity career at Cancer Research UK and used her experience in income generation to ensure the charity maximised the use of online giving products to raise over £200 million. Since then Joanne established the Fundraising Strategy & Resources team at Diabetes UK and more recently worked at Asthma UK helping the organisation adjust to a changing environment and leading the development of new digital products and income streams. Joanne is a qualified yoga teacher and is at her happiest when outdoors cycling or kayaking.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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