Why charities need to embrace email onboarding

Why charities need to embrace email onboarding

Why charities need to embrace email onboarding

Helping charities deliver great email is one of the best parts of my job. I’ve spoken at conferences about how charities can do great email and I’ve delivered lots of training where I share some great examples too. However, I always struggle to find good examples of email onboarding.

Email onboarding = when a charity sends a sequence of emails to new supporters to welcome them to the charity.

So my heart quite literally sang when I recently signed up to one of my local animal charities’ emails as the whole process was BANG ON.

So many charities don’t bother with an email onboarding process or even send one welcome email and this is such a missed opportunity.


Why bother?

When a person signs up for your email that is the EXACT time you need to engage them. They’ve signed up because something piqued their interest – so give them what they want! Give them information straight away. If they have to wait a few weeks or even a month to get your next monthly newsletter, chances are their interest will have waned. 

Rather than simply shoving your new supporter into your monthly newsletter list – you should introduce yourself, tell them what it is your charity does, why you do it and what impact it has. Make them feel welcome and engaged.

This is exactly what the animal charity Raystede did. Straight away I was sent a welcome email which told me:

  • What Raystede does
  • The impact they have
  • How many animals they care for
  • How I can get involved and other ways I can connect with them

View full welcome email here

This in itself would make a huge difference if most charities were doing it, but Raystede didn’t stop there. The next day they emailed me again. This time telling me about the history of the charity:

View second email in full

They also sent me a link to their annual report. At this point I’m really starting to feel involved and like a supporter – not just someone who receives a couple of emails now and then.

A few days later and Raystede email me again. Now some of you might be feeling a little uncomfortable at this point – three emails in a week? Are they mad? But remember this content is highly relevant, engaging and aims to really pull people in. Which is exactly the effect it has – their content is fantastic! It’s interesting, compelling and I genuinely want to know more.

The third email includes a video of what it’s like to adopt an animal with Raystede – and this time they also make an ask of me – they ask if I’ll share it.

View third email in full

I’m now much more likely to watch and share the video because I’m engaged with this charity. I know about them – I know what they do and what impact they have and I feel involved. It also means I’m much more likely to engage with their emails in the future and more likely to support them financially when they ask.


Do you have a great email onboarding series? Or have you seen a charity that has? Do share your examples with me – especially from smaller charities!

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