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Donor Participation Project

Automate Donor Outreach with Email Marketing

Nonprofits can automate personalized email outreach to donors using tools like Zapier and Google Sheets. By connecting your donor database to an email service like Gmail, you can automatically send customized emails to new donors, recent donors, and more.

  • To get started, export your donor data from your CRM into a Google Sheet. Include key details like first name, last name, email address, gift amount, and gift date. This will serve as the basis for your email personalization.
  • Next, connect Google Sheets and Gmail using the automation tool Zapier. Set up a “zap” that detects when new rows are added to your Google Sheet. When a new donor’s information is added, it will automatically generate an email draft in Gmail with content you customize.
  • In the Gmail draft, include variable fields that pull from the Google Sheet data. For example, use your donor’s first name in the greeting and email body. You can also reference gift amounts and dates to personalize the message. Choose a subject line and email signature to complete the draft.
  • Review the drafts before sending or choose to have them go out automatically. Either way, your donors will receive prompt, customized outreach from your nonprofit.

With this basic setup, you can reach new donors, send annual renewal notices, say thank you for recent gifts, and more—all on autopilot. The possibilities for automated, data-driven email marketing for nonprofits are endless.

Start with a simple but impactful project like onboarding new donors or stewarding mid-level donors. Review open and click rates to optimize your content and timing. Then scale up to more advanced segmentation and personalization.

Automated email is a donor-centric way to scale your fundraising and build lasting relationships. Let marketing automation handle the details so you can focus on the human connections that matter most. With a little setup, you’ll gain efficiencies and improve your donor experience through more thoughtful outreach.

View the full recording of this session in our Resource Library.

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