Whether it’s a donor, a volunteer, or just a new signup on your website that subscribed to your newsletter, you should ALWAYS have an automated welcome email.

Think of your website as your home. A friend just walked up to your front door, you stood there chatting for a while until you said, “would you like to stay for coffee?”

This is what an email subscription form is like. So just imagine if you asked them in for coffee, let them in, then you walked straight out the back door and didn’t come back for 4 hours. This is exactly what it’s like when you neglect to have a welcome email for your new subscribers and don’t send them anything until your next quarterly nonprofit newsletter.

I did a little experiment, and by going through a directory of nonprofits, it took me 49 organizations to find only 12 of them that had subscription forms, and only 1 of those actually had an automatic response email. And trust me, it was nothing special either.

It’s really not that hard to set up your automated welcome email in MailChimp. Here are the steps.

5 Easy Steps to Setting Up an Automated Welcome Email in Mailchimp

Step 1: Create Your Campaign

From the main screen simply click “Create Campaign”, then select “Automated” and choose the first option, “Welcome New Subscribers”.

Step 2: Enter the Name and Choose List

Name your campaign and the choose which list you want to send it to. Don’t worry, this name will not be seen by anyone except those in the backend of MailChimp.

Step 3: Edit Your Trigger

The trigger is how you tell MailChimp when to send the campaign. For our purposes, we want to make sure the campaign is sent “Immediately” after someone subscribes.

There is an alternate box for when people are imported. Depending on how you are adding people to your MailChimp list you might want to check this option as well. Just be careful that it doesn’t conflict with any other communications that you’re already sending.

Step 4: Add Email Info

Click the “Design Email” button on the right and it will get you to the next screen. Here you can enter the basic information about your email such as the subject line, the sender, and the preheader text.

Preheader text allows you to customize the preview snippet that people see in their inbox if left blank it will default to using the first sentence or two from the opening of your inbox.

Step 5: Select a Template

While yes you can get fancy here. You can put images, a logo, and separate columns. However, there is a lot to be said for a personal message from your executive director or another key figure in your nonprofit. This can look a little bit more like a letter and a little less like a branded newsletter. It’s also a lot simpler to put together. For this, I recommend the “Simple Text” template.

Step 6: Customize the Content

If you’re going the personal message route, which I recommend, be sure to make your content sound personal. A little less formal can go a long way for welcoming someone into your house for coffee.

Step 7: Confirm and Turn on!

You’re all set, just hit go and your new subscribers will immediately be sent your welcome email. Now they won’t be hit with silence after subscribers. And then worse, receive a newsletter a month later after they’ve already forgotten about you!

You always want to consider the recipient’s experience, not just what you want to gain out of it. Give people a good experience, a reason to trust and get involved with your organization and you will create lifelong supporters, not just one-time donors.


New Subscriber Gift: 38+ Resources to Help Create Stunning Emails

New Subscriber Gift: 38+ Resources to Help Create Stunning Emails

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