Sending emails to your nonprofit’s mailing list is an important part of communicating with donors, volunteers, supporters and other constituents. If you’re just getting started with an email marketing service, or maybe considering a switch from your current provider, we recommend Mailchimp for nonprofits. It’s a user-friendly platform with important functionality at an affordable price.
There are other options out there that you may know of or currently use, like Constant Contact or Vertical Response. And if you’re still sending email campaigns using a personal email account, really anything is better than your current system. (Seriously, don’t do this.)
However, we’ve seen again and again that Mailchimp allows our clients to produce professional and well-designed emails that produce results — from raising money to driving membership. So, while we don’t have any special arrangement with Mailchimp to say any of this, we wanted to let you know why we think their services are a great choice for organizations of all sizes and budgets.
We used the following criteria to land on Mailchimp as the best email marketing service for nonprofits and charities:
- Does it integrate with WordPress to easily collect website signups? Yes.
- Does it give you actionable data and reports? Yes.
- Can you make emails and add content without knowing code? Yes.
- Does it cost extra to use modern and responsive designs? Nope.
- Can you schedule emails to go out at a later time and date? You betcha.
- Is there an extra fee for email automation, like a welcome series? Not anymore!
- Can you set it up to send emails via RSS when you publish a new blog post? Yes.
- What about A/B testing my content, images or subject lines? It’s included.
- Is it easy to organize and keep your subscriber list clean? Yes.
- Can you organize your list in different groups or segments? Yes, and you should!
- Can you preview, test and get feedback from people before sending emails? Yes.
- Is there a nonprofit discount? Yes, in addition to a free plan. See more below!
- How’s the customer support? Not great for free users but lots of self-service resources.
Compare Email Marketing Platforms
Wondering how Mailchimp compares to other options? Here’s what our research dug up.
|Mailchimp||constant contact||vertical response|
|performance data, reports||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|html skills||None Required||None Required||Helpful for customization|
|Modern and responsive design||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Email Automation||Free||Cost Extra||Only Paid Plans|
|A/B Testing||Free||Manual||Only Subject Lines|
|Testing and Previews||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Nonprofit Discounts||Free up to 12,000 emails/month then 15% off||30% off when you prepay at least 6 months||Free up to 10,000 emails/month then 15%|
|customer Support||Limited for free plans; Great for paid||Available by phone, online chat and email||Available by phone, online chat and email|
|Monthly Cost||Free plan or starts at $25 up to 2,000 subscribers||Starts at $16 when you pay 6 months in advance for up to 500 subscribers||Free plan or starts at $9 up to 500 subscribers|
Like any new purchase for your nonprofit, we understand that cost is a driving factor in the decision process. (More on that next!) But don’t forget to consider the time and maintenance cost of selecting a service that isn’t quite right or doesn’t have the features and integrations you need right from the start. It really is possible to send email campaigns without endless spreadsheets, manual sorting and lots of headaches!
Rates and Nonprofit Discount
If you’re interested in free email marketing for nonprofits that looks and acts professional, Mailchimp is a no-brainer. While there isn’t any chat or email support for this option, you can have a list of up to 2,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails per month.
If you plan to send multiple emails within a short time, such as reminders about a time-sensitive fundraising campaign, keep in mind that the free plan puts a cap on your account so that you aren’t able to send more than 2,000 emails in a 24 hour period.
For organizations that want to send more emails to a larger list, you can use a monthly plan that charges you a rate based on your total number of subscribers. Paid plans also have some extra features like chat support (which we’ve found to be excellent) as well as custom forms.
With a list of 2,000-2,500 subscribers, the paid rate is $30/month BEFORE Mailchimp nonprofit pricing. You can score 15% off your monthly bill just for being a nonprofit. There’s also a 10% discount when you make your account super secure with two-factor identification, which really just means that you’ll take an extra step in the login process.
Mailchimp for Nonprofits
Being able to quickly and strategically send compelling emails to your subscribers is a crucial part of any communications plan. Using Mailchimp for nonprofit email marketing gives you access to a wide range of options that can grow with you over time.
Have you made the switch to or from Mailchimp at your nonprofit? Or are you stuck in the decision-making process? Please share your situation in the comments.