One of the key communication tools within Donor Management is the “email blast,” which gives you the opportunity to send an email to a group of your contacts in bulk.
Email blasts have a wide range of uses, such as sending newsletters to your donors, delivering targeted appeals based on giving history, notifying volunteers of upcoming opportunities, or even sending year-end donation summaries for tax purposes.
Email blasts are customizable and can include images, GIFs, or links to one of your donation pages.
Creating an Email Blast
To create an email blast, you’ll want to click on the option for “Communication” in the left-hand navigation bar, and then select the option for “Email Blasts” from the available drop-down options.
Once the page loads, you should see an orange button in the top right corner labeled “Add Email Blast.”
After clicking the “Add Email Blast” button, you should then see the “Introduction” step of our email building tool.
The first step asks for you to name your email blast. We recommend naming it something relevant and specific to the purpose of your email, such as “September 2023 Newsletter,” or “Spring Gala Reminder.”
On this first step, you can also opt to use a previously sent email or a saved template – you'll simply toggle the gray button at the bottom of the screen so it reflects as orange instead.
Once you’re ready, you can click on the orange “Next” button in the top right corner to proceed.
On the next step, you’ll be asked about the “purpose” for sending this email. There are multiple categories with layout templates to choose from that are designed for some common purposes – but you can also create your own email message by clicking on the orange “skip” link at the bottom of the screen.
If you do select a layout category, you’ll then see a list of recommended layouts you can choose. If you prefer to look at all of your available options, you can click on the “All Layouts” tab and select an option there as well.
Once you’ve selected your layout, you can now add your personalized content and images.
Each section of an email blast can be edited by clicking directly on that section.
Clicking on each section will provide you with editing options on the right-hand side of your screen that are specific to that particular piece of content; for example, clicking on a block of text will open up two bars of text editing tools above the text itself, as well as providing options in regards to spacing and text color on the right side of the screen.
You can also select an entire “row” of content (such as a text block and an image) to edit – such as adding a background color, or adjusting how that row is viewed on a mobile device.
Even if you’ve selected a pre-made layout, you can add additional pieces of content to really personalize your email. You can add additional videos or images, or create dividers within the message to emphasize certain parts of your message.
To add additional content, select the type of content you’d like to add, then click and drag that content block into the email’s body.
The email building tool does automatically save your work as you go, but we recommend periodically pressing the “Save” button as well.
Due to this auto-save capability, it’s also important to note that only one person can actively be editing an email blast at a time. Otherwise, you run the risk of overwriting each other’s work!
When everything looks to your liking, you can click "Save & Next” in the top right corner.
The next step helps set up the specifics of your email, such as what you’d like to display in the subject line. You can also adjust who the email is “from” - the name that displays as having sent the email – as well as what email address will receive any responses to this email blast.
You’ll also be asked if you’d like to share this email blast within the Fundraising Email Gallery. This optional step allows for other nonprofits to view your completed email blast and draw inspiration from your communication creation.
This step also includes several optional settings that can be accessed by clicking the “Optional Settings” link at the bottom of the screen. These optional settings include the “preview text” that your recipients might see, or attachments you’d like to include when sending your message.
On the next screen, you’ll be asked to select your message’s recipients. If you want to send your email blast to everyone, you can click the option for “everyone” and move onto the next step. However, if you’d like to send this message to a specific group of people, you’ll want to click on the option for “Custom List.”
By clicking “Custom List,” you’ll have the option to select recipients from a saved filter, a group, or even add individuals one-by-one. You can select more than one filter, or more than one group – any contacts who might fall into more than one group of recipients should only receive that email blast once.
On the final “review” step, you’ll be able to see a preview of what your email blast looks like, as well as a few key details about the message you’re about to send.
We strongly recommend using our “Send a Test Email” option to send yourself (or a colleague) a test copy of the email, before you send it to your intended audience.
Once you are content with how the test email looks, you can either send your message right away by pressing the “Send Now” button – or you can use the “Schedule Delivery” option to set a specific date and time to send your message.
Understanding Email Blast Results
Once you’ve sent your email, you should see it appear in the list of sent messages under the “Email Blasts” tab within Donor Management. Each email blast listed will also show you the “open rate” and “click rate” of your message at-a-glance.
You can also click on the “View Results” link below the email blast’s open rate to see a more detailed breakdown of your email blast’s statistics.
You can also use the “status” button to narrow down specific results of your email blast – such as which emails were opened, or which ones bounced.
Email Blast Metrics - Key Terms
Open Rate - the percentage of recipients who actually opened your email blast.
Click Rate - the percentage of total recipients who opened your email blast AND clicked a link found within the body of your message.
Bounce Rate - the percentage of emails that weren't able to be delivered on the first attempt. (This percentage includes both "hard" and "soft" bounces, which are further explained below.)
"Hard" Bounce - an email that was not delivered, due to the email no longer accepting messages or being typed incorrectly.
"Soft" Bounce - an email that was not delivered, due to the recipient's inbox being full, or the recipient receiving a high volume of emails at once. Donor Management will attempt to send an email that has "soft bounced" three times before considering the email a "hard bounce."
Using Metrics to Re-Target Individual Inboxes
Some fundraising campaigns might require you to send more than one email to the same large group of donors - while simultaneously suppressing those follow-up emails to anyone who may have already opened or responded to the first message.
For example, you might want to reach donors a second time during specific giving days, like Giving Tuesday; you might also want to send an end-of-year email ask on the last day of your fiscal year.
The video below gives a step=by-step walkthrough of exactly how to further segment your recipients to help send that second email to a specific audience.