The Children’s Inn’s email marketing strategy consisted of a monthly newsletter that was blasted to all supporters in the database. In order to build a strategy, I first identified goals and then developed and implemented a strategy. The two agreed upon goals were:

  1. Cultivate new donors and convert to annual supporters
  2. Retain and more deeply engage current donors

The strategy consisted of:


Goal #1: Cultivate new donors to convert to annual supporters

To achieve this goal, we created an automated welcome series that courted new donors and welcomed them to our community of supporters. This was a series of five emails including a special email from our CEO, several mission-driven messages, and ended with a fundraising appeal. These new donors were put into a group and suppressed from all emails until they completed the welcome series.


40% average open rate, 7.3% average click-through rate, and 14% gave a second time over a six-month period from when we received their first gift.

Goal #2: Retain and more deeply engage current donors

Each and every supporter should feel like they are receiving relevant and personalized communications. Email marketing is about reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right message. In order to do this, a few basic changes were made:

List Segmentation – Lists were segmented by demographics, interests, geography, donation level, event attendance, etc. Once the lists are segmented into groups, it’s easier to send targeted emails.

Provide options for preferences – instead of assuming what content supporters were interested in, we allowed individuals to choose their content preferences and updated our unsubscribe page so supporters have the option to choose what they want to and opt-in to or out of. We also launched a survey to better understand our supporters preferences, interests, and to show them we care!

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 1.24.07 PM

Targeted, relevant emails – The Inn’s overall perception of email marketing had to pivot. Gone were the days we could create one email and blast everyone. The team agreed that only relevant emails should be sent to our supporters. For example, if we were marketing an event in the D.C. area, we only sent emails to folks in or near that location.


A 21% increase in open rate and a 9% decrease in unsubscribes.