How to Build an Email List

How to Build an Email List for your Nonprofit

Building an email list is critical for the success of any organization.  Why? Because reaching people in their inbox is an incredibly effective way to ask them to support your cause, sign your petition or donate. Even though getting an email address doesn’t mean that person will absolutely take the action you desire, it’s an incredibly important first step in building a relationship with your community of supporters. So how do you build an email list for your organization? Here’s a few simple strategies on how to build an email list for your nonprofit.

Make it Easy.

It takes time to fill out an online form and people are busy. If you are asking them to submit their street address, phone number, zip code, who told them about your organization and a host of other things for them to sign up for your email list it’s likely that potential subscribers are abandoning your form in the process. Take a step back and decide how to make your opt-in form as short as possible. You may find that all you really need is a person’s email address.  Once you have that, you can always email them and ask for more information to complete their profile.

Make it Obvious.

If you are trying to build an email list for your nonprofit make sure that it’s obvious to a website visitor how they can join your list. Keep signups above the fold, use slide in forms or lightboxes to draw your users attention to the sign-up.

How to Build an Email List

Give Something in Return.

If you want to supercharge your email list building effort, give people who sign up for your list something in return for their email address.  People already get a lot of emails, you need to give them a good reason to sign-up by offering them something they can’t get anywhere else. Whether it’s your one-of-a-kind industry research, or just valuable insight into your organizations progress, you need to provide value. 

Set Expectations. (and live up to them)

When people sign up, let them know how often you are going to be emailing them. If you send an email every Wednesday at 4pm then tell your new subscribers. They will appreciate it and show you that they do by opening your emails.  Additionally, make sure you send an email to new subscribers right away, welcome campaigns set the tone of your entire email relationship. If you aren’t emailing subscribers as soon as possible, they may forget that they had given you their email address in the first place.

Let the experts at Media Cause supercharge your email list building effort. Email us at to learn more.