In Part 1 of this series, I reiterated what most of us think to ourselves at least a few times a week – nobody likes spam. Then I offered how your nonprofit should consider text to image ration when designing emails. In Part 2 of the series, I emphasized. In this blog, I offer additional considerations to note so that your supporters (and their email servers) don’t see your fundraising emails as spam.

Critical Issues

Unsubscribe: It is worth reiterating that your unsubscribe link must be included and should be easy for readers to find. It is common practice to place this link in or just below the footer at the end of the email. In most cases this link does not need to be particularly emphasized, but it should be styled so that it is clearly a clickable link and so that it is not too small or hidden.

Sender IDs: If using a platform like Blackbaud, one way to further protect your sends from spam filtering is by configuring the proper Sender IDs. Sender ID and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) are email authentication systems that allow you to authorize servers to send email in your name. Many spam-filtering systems take these standards into consideration, so it is well worth it to set this up for your organization.

See Blackbaud’s information on Sender IDs.


Other Considerations

There are many other simple things to help improve the deliverability of your emails, both from the standpoint of avoiding spam filters as well as general user-friendliness.

Below are a few of the top, most basic practices you should observe:

  • As mentioned at the beginning of this document, avoid spam-inducing phrasing
  • Include your organization’s physical address and contact information
  • Clean up inactive or stale mailing lists; your service provider is likelier to rate your emails as spam if your sends result in a large number of bounced emails
  • Personalize your emails as much as your service provider allows, including the recipient’s name in the “to” field (not just their email address), subject line and greeting
  • Keep your subject line brief and compelling – shorter than 35 characters is an optimal length
  • Include snippet text at the top of your email giving an overview of the content; this will display as a preview below the subject line for unopened messages in many email clients
  • Limit snippet length to 85-100 characters
  • If you don’t include the snippet, make sure the first sentence in your email is impactful since its the first thing to show up after the subject line
  • Include the “View Online” link in the bottom portion of your email stationery
  • Include a single, clear call to action
  • Design in a single column layout – this is much more mobile device friendly
  • Minimize use of CSS for formatting, and only use inline CSS when using it at all