Best Email Marketing Software for Nonprofits Tested and Reviewed

Best Email Marketing Software for Nonprofits Tested and Reviewed
19 June, 2023 • ... • 462 views
Irene Dmitrieva
by Irene Dmitrieva

Nonprofit organizations have goals that don’t focus on making money. Still, they need it to achieve their goals. They can get this help by telling the right story. 

Email marketing is a powerful tool for nonprofits to engage with their supporters, spread messages, and drive donations. To make email campaigns effective, nonprofit organizations must pick the right email marketing software that suits their specific needs. 

In this article, we will talk about the important factors when choosing the best email marketing service for nonprofits. We will also review some of the top choices that are currently available.

What to look for in the best email service for nonprofits

Choosing the right email marketing software is an important decision for nonprofit organizations. Here are some key factors to consider when making your choice:

Free trials and fair pricing

Before committing to email marketing software, it’s important to test it out and make sure it meets your organization’s needs. Look for providers that offer free trials or demos, allowing you to explore the software’s features and functionality. Check the price and make sure it fits your nonprofit’s budget. Some software providers may offer discounted or special pricing plans for nonprofits. So it’s worth exploring those options.

Easy setup

Nonprofits have limited time and resources to invest in complex software setups. When it comes to choosing an email service, easy setup refers to the simplicity and convenience of getting started with the service. So it’s important to choose an email marketing software that offers a user-friendly interface. It should offer a streamlined process for creating new email accounts  with a minimal number of steps.

Easy setup often involves smooth integration with the nonprofit’s existing systems. This means that the email service should provide clear instructions or tools for connecting, for example, the CRM to the ESP. If a nonprofit is transitioning from an existing email service to a new one, an easy setup would include tools or support for migrating existing emails, contacts, and settings seamlessly. This ensures a smooth transition without any data loss.

Powerful email builder

An effective email marketing campaign means that it does a good job of reaching its goals. Such a campaign relies on visually appealing and engaging email templates. That is, the templates should be designed to capture the attention of readers and engage them, while simultaneously staying informative. 

The best email marketing software for nonprofits should offer a powerful email builder with a drag-and-drop feature, customizable templates, and a wide range of design options. Such options may include font customization, image galleries, and pre-designed content blocks. This enables nonprofits to create professional-looking emails without any coding or design skills. The ability to add multimedia elements such as videos and GIFs can also enhance the impact of your emails.

For example, the Selzy ESP is a prime example of an email marketing software with rich functionality and a user-friendly interface. It empowers organizations to create visually stunning and compelling email campaigns with ease.

Selzy email builder

Relevant templates

Pre-designed templates save time and effort. Look for software that provides a library of pre-designed templates tailored to nonprofit purposes. They may include fundraising appeals, event invitations, volunteer recruitment, and newsletters. Templates promoting festive charity gatherings, such as those for Juneteenth email marketing, would be helpful. Having access to these relevant templates can save time and effort in designing emails from scratch. 

Even if ESP doesn’t have any templates made for nonprofits, it should still work with templates from other services. For example, you can get a template from Stripo.email and edit it in Selzy.

Nonprofit email template example
Source: Stripо.email

Workflow automation

Automation simplifies the management and sending of emails. It involves setting up automated sequences, triggers, and actions based on specific conditions or events. 

Workflow automation saves time and improves efficiency by automating repetitive tasks. Nonprofits can use automated workflows to send welcome emails, acknowledge donations,  remind about events, or schedule newsletters. This allows staff to focus on strategic activities and reduces the likelihood of errors or delays.

Analytics and reporting features

It’s impossible to measure the impact and make data-driven decisions without tracking the success of email campaigns. Choose email marketing software that provides comprehensive email analytics and reporting features. 

Analytics and reporting help nonprofits keep track of how their emails perform: to see the number of emails sent, delivered, opened, and clicked on, to find out if people like the emails and if they are successful. This information helps nonprofits understand what changes they need to make for their email campaigns to be even better. For example, analyzing email open rates can help nonprofits understand if their subject lines are effective. They can then refine future emails to increase engagement and improve results. 

Customer support

When choosing email services for nonprofits, think about customer support. Nonprofits often rely heavily on email communications for fundraising, donor management, volunteer  coordination, and more. Good customer support is necessary because it helps solve any problems or worries with the email service quickly. This makes sure that important work isn’t interrupted for too long.

Make sure the email service provider has different ways to get help, like email, live chat, or phone. Look for a provider with extended support hours or 24/7 availability. This is especially important if your nonprofit operates across different time zones or during non-standard hours.

10 best email marketing software for nonprofits

Check out our list of 10 email service providers (ESP), including some that are particularly beneficial for nonprofits:

  1. Selzy
  2. Mailchimp 
  3. Campaign Monitor
  4. Benchmark 
  5. SendGrid
  6. Brevo 
  7. AWeber
  8. ActiveCampaign
  9. GetResponse 
  10. Constant Contact

Selzy – empowering nonprofits with effective email marketing

Selzy email service provider main page

Selzy email service provider is a top choice for nonprofits seeking email marketing software. It offers comprehensive features and is affordable, making it ideal for nonprofit organizations.  

Pricing: One of the primary reasons why Selzy is ideal for nonprofits is its affordability. Selzy offers a free plan that provides a solid foundation for small nonprofits with modest requirements. With this plan, organizations can manage up to 100 contacts and send up to 1,500 emails per month which is often enough for very small and aspiring organizations to reach their target audience and test the efficiency of emails.

Discount: Nonprofits can take advantage of discounted rates in the paid plan up to 50%. This lets them save money and use it to do more of the things they care about.

Features: Selzy ESP’s feature set is extensive and designed to enhance the effectiveness of nonprofit email campaigns. It offers a user-friendly interface that allows even beginners to create professional-looking emails. With its intuitive drag-and-drop email builder, nonprofits can design engaging email campaigns that captivate their audience and drive action.

A standout feature of Selzy ESP is its robust segmentation and personalization capabilities. Nonprofits can segment their email lists based on various criteria such as donor history, interests, or engagement levels. This helps them send specific messages to each group. It makes sure the emails connect with the recipients and increases the chances of getting a positive response or action.

Key features of Selzy include: 

  • Flexible pricing plans
  • Discounts for nonprofit organizations
  • Drag-and-drop editor for creating visually appealing emails
  • Automation and segmentation tools
  • Comprehensive analytics and reporting tools
  • Round-the-clock support even on the free plan

Mailchimp – ideal for small nonprofits with modest requirements

Mailchimp email service provider main page
Source: Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a suitable option for small nonprofits with limited needs. 

Pricing: Its free forever plan covers up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 emails per month, which is typically sufficient for small organizations. 

Discount: Nonprofits receive only a 15% discount, which is less than other available discounts from competing platforms. Considering the higher costs and limited features, alternatives like ActiveCampaign or GetResponse may be better choices for automation and A/B testing tools respectively. For nonprofits with an e-commerce aspect, Mailchimp offers a free plan designed for that purpose. 

Features: The Free plan provides the essential tools you need to begin marketing and experiment with a few of Mailchimp’s features: an inbuilt shopping cart, payment processing, and a system for managing orders. This allows you to experience the value of email marketing and e-commerce without spending any funding.

Mailchimp does provide campaign analytics as part of its email marketing platform, including in its free plan. While it may not be as comprehensive as some other providers, it is easy to understand, especially for beginners. It provides insights into subscriber interactions, open rates by country, and a click map for visualizing user engagement with campaign links.

Mailchimp imposes different prices depending on the number of contacts, emails sent and features used. This can be an issue for nonprofits who have a limited budget as they may need to purchase additional features such as social ad campaign management, website builder or physical postcards. Moreover, the contact limit and email send limit also increase the cost of subscription plans.

Key features of Mailchimp include: 

  • A user-friendly analytics dashboard
  • A decent free plan with generous email and contact limits
  • An intuitive drag-and-drop builder
  • An email preview tool to ensure compatibility across various devices and platforms

Campaign Monitor – best for nonprofits seeking robust email solutions

Campaign Monitor email service provider main page
Source: Campaign Monitor by Marigold

This email marketing platform is well-regarded by nonprofits, providing services to noteworthy organizations such as Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and Unicef. 

Pricing: Although Campaign Monitor is not free, it offers a free trial. You can sign up for an account without providing payment details and test the service by sending multiple trial campaigns to five people or less. 

Discount: It offers a discount of up to 15% for nonprofits, making it more affordable. 

Features: The platform provides access to a range of tools to create impactful email campaigns, including a user-friendly drag-and-drop email builder and a wide selection of templates.

Campaign Monitor makes it easy to create a tailored experience for your customers. You can plan out a sequence of emails and select which message to send depending on how the recipient interacts with your website. By collecting data from subscribers, you can create customized emails tailored to their individual preferences and interests. 

Campaign Monitor also offers robust analytics capabilities. While not as comprehensive as some other providers, such as Benchmark, the analytics dashboard is easy to navigate, particularly for beginners. It provides valuable insights into subscriber interactions, open rates by country, and a click map that visualizes user engagement with campaign links. 

Although Campaign Monitor’s paid plans have limited features (for instance, the limit on the automated emails and triggers you can use in the basic plan), the discounted pricing for nonprofits makes it an attractive option.

Key features of Campaign Monitor include:  

  • A user-friendly interface
  • Discounted pricing
  • Powerful analytics
  • The ability to create personalized customer journeys

Benchmark – ideal for small nonprofits with limited budgets

Benchmark email service provider main page
Source: Benchmark Internet Group

Pricing: Benchmark is a beginner-friendly email service provider that offers a free forever plan, making it an excellent choice for nonprofits with limited budgets. Although the free plan has a limitation of 3500 emails per month, it can still be sufficient for smaller nonprofits or for sending updates to a small group of funders. It also includes free features like basic segmentation, basic automation and 4 nonprofit email templates. 

Discount: Additionally, Benchmark provides a 25% nonprofit discount on paid plans.

Features: Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor is user-friendly, even for those without email experience. It also offers advanced features like A/B testing and complex segmentation in its Pro plan. In case you need help, Benchmark provides a comprehensive knowledge base, including videos and webinars, and offers support through live chat and phone for paid accounts.

Key features of Benchmark include: 

  • Detailed analytics with easy-to-read overviews
  • The support of RTL (right-to-left) languages like Hebrew and Arabic, allowing to reach a global audience
  • A contact cleanup tool to maintain a clean and engaged contact list

SendGrid – an ESP with flexible pricing plans

SendGrid email service provider main page
Source: SendGrid

With SendGrid, nonprofits can easily manage their mailing lists and execute effective marketing campaigns without technical complexities. 

Discount: Charities and organizations that help people can get a special discount from SendGrid. They will save 25% on their purchase.

Pricing: SendGrid’s free tier provides 2,000 contacts and 6,000 emails per month, surpassing similar services in terms of value for money. The drag-and-drop email design tool and simple list management lets nonprofits create engaging campaigns and maintain control over their email contacts. It provides free, ready-made templates that are ideal for nonprofit organizations advertising upcoming volunteer events and fundraising activities.

Features: SendGrid’s Suppression Management is an invaluable tool that can help nonprofits reduce their email bounce rate and unsubscribe rates. This tool allows you to divide your emails into distinct categories according to the type of content they contain. This way, recipients can choose which messages they want to receive and which ones they don’t by opting out of specific groups. This helps improve your overall reputation as a sender.

Key features of SendGrid include:

  • Free plan with 2,000 contacts and 6,000 emails per month
  • One-click list management for easy control of email contacts
  • User-friendly drag-and-drop email builder
  • Ability to have multiple unsubscribe groups

Brevo (Sendinblue) – effortless and effective email marketing

Sendinblue (Brevo) email service provider main page
Source: Brevo

Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) is a simple and effective email marketing service that is particularly beginner-friendly. It has a clean interface and an extensive knowledge base for assistance.

Pricing: To test Brevo, it is recommended to use the free plan extensively before committing. The free plan offers generous features, including up to 300 emails per day and no contact limit.

Discount: Unfortunately, Brevo only provides a 15% discount for nonprofits, and it applies only to their Enterprise plan, making it less accessible for smaller organizations.

Features: The platform offers customizable templates designed for nonprofits that are modern and mobile-friendly. The drag-and-drop editor allows you to preview emails on desktop, tablet, and mobile, including support for tablets, which is often overlooked.

The support for custom domains on landing pages may be useful for nonprofits. Nonprofits often rely on building trust and credibility with their audience. By using custom domains, nonprofits can reinforce their brand identity and create a consistent experience across their website, emails, and landing pages. This helps to establish recognition and trust among supporters and donors.

Key features of Brevo include:

  • A wide selection of mobile-friendly templates
  • A generous free plan for nonprofits with no budget
  • Conditional display for personalized emails
  • Support for custom domains on landing pages

AWeber  – a good choice for tailored donor campaigns

AWeber email service provider main page
Source: AWeber Communications

Pricing and: AWeber is an established email service provider with a generous free plan. 

Discount: While the free plan doesn’t include AWeber’s custom segmentation feature, nonprofits can qualify for three months of free access to the Pro plan and receive a 25% discount thereafter. Yet, obtaining a refund from AWeber can be challenging, so it’s crucial to ensure satisfaction with the free plan before upgrading.

Features: A notable feature is AWeber’s custom segmentation, which allows you to segment contacts using sign-up forms and apply tags based on their subscription details. Additionally, you can save custom search segments to optimize donor campaigns.

Key features of AWeber include: 

  • Complex custom segmentation for targeting VIP donors and specific supporter groups
  • A substantial non-profit discount offering an extended free trial
  • A decent free plan with 3,000 monthly email sends
  • Support for RTL languages like Hebrew and Arabic

Active Campaign – best for powerful email automation

Active Campaign email service provider main page
Source: Active Campaign

ActiveCampaign is a user-friendly email marketing service with a clean interface and plenty of learning resources. 

Pricing: While ActiveCampaign offers a 14-day free trial, it’s recommended to sign up for a monthly plan after the trial to have more flexibility. 

Discount: Nonprofits can benefit from a 20% discount.

Features: Its standout feature is the automation builder, offering over 400 templates for creating custom workflows.

Nonprofits can take advantage of the Conditional Content tool to provide more personalized interactions with their donors. This feature allows them to set rules for displaying different types of content in an email, such as based on location, donation history, or interests. With this powerful technology, nonprofits can deliver relevant and meaningful experiences that will keep donors engaged and passionate about their cause.

Key features of ActiveCampaign include:

  • Complex automation with 400+ templates
  • Conditional content display for personalized emails
  • The option to purchase a dedicated IP address
  • A variety of email and landing page templates

GetResponse – empowering nonprofits with advanced A/B testing

GetResponse email service provider main page
Source: GetResponse

GetResponse is a powerful email marketing service for nonprofits with an intuitive interface and drag-and-drop builders. 

Pricing: The GetResponse platform has a Free account that allows you to access all its features on a trial basis for the first 30 days of use.

Discount: The platform offers generous discounts of 30% or 50% for nonprofits, with the 50% discount available by displaying the GetResponse logo on your website. Nonprofits also gain free admission to educational webinars, making it a valuable deal.

Features: It stands out for its impressive A/B testing capabilities, allowing you to test various elements of your emails.

However, GetResponse’s analytics are basic, providing only fundamental insights such as open rates, clicks, unsubscribes, and bounces. For more detailed analytics, Benchmark is recommended, as it offers geolocation and hourly insights.

Key features of GetResponse include:

  • A/B testing for subject lines and email content
  • A highly personalized email builder
  • 24/7 live chat customer support
  • A generous nonprofit discount with the option for a 50% discount

Constant Contact – the versatile choice with an exceptional free trial

Constant Contact email service provider main page
Source: Constant Contact, Inc

Constant Contact for nonprofits is a versatile tool designed to simplify the process of keeping in touch with donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders. 

Pricing: For those residing in the United States, Constant Contact offers a complimentary 60-day trial without any credit card information needed. Those located outside of the US can get one month free if they provide payment details at the start.

Discount: For nonprofits, Constant Contact offers discounts of 20% off a 6-month plan or 30% off a 12-month plan if you pay upfront. This can result in significant savings, especially for organizations with large email lists.

Features: It provides an easy-to-use interface that makes it simple for nonprofit organizations to send email newsletters. Nonprofits can take advantage of pre-made fundraising email templates. This allows them to create attractive emails without the need for any visual design or programming skills 

The service provides a great budgeting option, as it won’t automatically upgrade you to the next plan once your contact limit is reached. This thoughtful feature allows customers to plan and manage their spending more easily. 

Constant Contact has a user-friendly knowledge base with downloadable PDF guides and video guides to help users with account administration, campaign analytics, and more. They also provide product release notes and information on new features and integrations.

However, Constant Contact falls short in some areas. A/B testing is limited to subject lines, and there are no custom automation workflows.

Key features of Constant Contact include: 

  • A massive knowledge base with downloadable guides
  • Over 3,300 integrations with platforms like DonorPerfect, Shopify, and Zapier
  • Event management tools for tracking guests, accepting payments, running webinars, and sending event reminders

Final thoughts

Nonprofits require financial support to realize their objectives. And email marketing is a powerful tool for engaging supporters and driving donations. The important elements to look for in the best email service for nonprofits include:

  1. Easy setup. Choose software with a user-friendly interface and streamlined setup process.
  2. Powerful email builder. Look for drag-and-drop functionality, customizable templates, and multimedia options to create compelling nonprofit email examples for your campaign.
  3. Relevant templates. Save time with pre-designed templates tailored to nonprofit purposes.
  4. Workflow automation. Engage supporters with automated personalized messages and reminders.
  5. Analytics and reporting features. Measure the impact of email campaigns and make data-driven decisions.
  6. Customer support. Ensure reliable and responsive support channels.
  7. Free trials and fair pricing. Test software through free trials and consider discounted plans for nonprofits.
Article by
Irene Dmitrieva
As a marketing copywriter, I have experience creating compelling content for websites and social media posts. My background in market research helps me ensure that my copy is both on-brand and data-driven. I am excited to bring my skills and experience to Selzy team and help drive success for this company.
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