Marketing Automation for Nonprofits: The Essential Guide


In this ever-growing digital age, consumers are constantly bombarded with information — and with overwhelming force.

This has made designing and launching effective campaigns an arduous task. 

Marketing teams are at their wit’s end trying to create new and brilliant ideas to outperform their competitors, but that is easier said than done. 

They have to deal with daily marketing activities, mundane administrative tasks, and other everyday work that can get in the way of brainstorming for fresh campaign ideas and focusing on the bigger picture. 

Amidst all the chaos lies a clear solution. 

Technology, specifically marketing automation, could be the solution businesses and marketing teams are so desperately looking for. 

What is Marketing Automation? 

Marketing automation is the process of using software to automate repetitive marketing activities. 

A marketing automation software allows you to nurture prospects by targeting them with highly personalized and relevant content, thus converting them into delighted and loyal customers.

It helps you locate potential leads and automatically processes them so that your sales team can approach them directly to nourish a healthy relationship. 

EngageBay’s Marketing automation software platform helps small businesses automate marketing and sales tasks and various workflows to generate leads, close deals, and grow revenue faster.


When it comes to effective marketing campaigns, customers should take center stage. 

Marketing automation does this by utilizing a plethora of tools, including customer relationship management (CRM), to create efficient marketing campaigns and quickly close deals. 

Let’s take an example

During the lead capturing phase, awareness and content broadcasts is an essential task.

A marketing automation platform can help you achieve this by providing relevant data and content to build a strong relationship while creating a quality brand presence. 

This will let your leads warm up to you and help them better understand your products and services.

Using intelligent data analysis, you can know the specific products your leads are leaning towards and then target them with personalized and tailored messages. 

Furthermore, you can classify your leads into groups and target those that could help grow your business.

In the final stage of marketing automation, adequately nurtured and promising leads are automatically assigned to your sales team to help close deals and increase revenue. 

This is what makes marketing automation so valuable. 

Because the software automates a significant portion of the campaign, your marketing team has more time to focus on another crucial part of the marketing success strategy

Moreover, marketing automation can help you obtain a holistic view of your customer’s behavior using various trackers and metrics.

It does this by following your user’s digital footprint as they surf your websites, engage with you on social media, and read your emails. 

Based on these data, you can design a customized follow-up plan. 

Why Is Marketing Automation Valuable for Nonprofits? 

Like other organizations, nonprofits need email and marketing campaigns to improve their outreach. 

Marketing automation for nonprofits can help refine your marketing strategy by helping you plan ahead, trigger automations, enhance lead capturing, and streamline your social media presence. 

Below are some important ways marketing automation can help take your marketing success to the next level. 

Provides foresight

Planning ahead is crucial to the success of any endeavor. 

A marketing automation platform can complement your existing marketing strategy and provide you with the tools to brainstorm, plan, organize, and create effective campaigns. 

A powerful marketing platform like EngageBay can help you even before you start your campaign. Here’s how:

You can segment your donor or receiver audience and build lists based on demographics, networking circles, donor/receiver types, and much more. 

You can quickly create drafts for emails for each list, and save them for later use, thus improving productivity and streamlining your work process. 

With marketing automation for nonprofits, you can personalize your emails by adding names and other personal information.

This will enhance your organization’s perception and show that you care about them.

Marketing automation lets you schedule your emails smartly for the most optimal open times, and consequently, better conversion rates. 

Before launching, you can preview your email templates, and lists to check for errors or omissions and check them for their responsiveness across various devices. 

Using EngageBay’s powerful tools, you can perform the above tasks swiftly.

EngageBay’s CRM lets you store your supporters’ data in one centralized location and segment them based on various factors. 

Triggers sequences based on actions

Email campaigns can help you nudge your supporters and donors in the right direction.

Automatically triggering personalized emails based on your supporters’ actions can help you reduce workload and push them towards a particular goal. 

Imagine that a supporter has subscribed to your newsletter.

Based on this and subsequent actions, you can trigger relevant emails in response to encourage them towards your nonprofit’s goal to gather donations or sign petitions. 

With EngageBay’s smart triggers and sequences, you can build powerful visual workflows and wipe out the mundane, repetitive tasks from your daily routine. 

EngageBay’s email sequences for effective marketing, make following up easier. Turn your warm leads into paying customers now.


With advanced and live metrics, you can gauge your email campaigns’ success rates and tweak them accordingly. 

Streamlines lead capturing

Building a carefully curated list of supporters is crucial to any nonprofit’s success. 

However, manually going through the motions can take up vast amounts of time and resources.

A marketing automation software can help you capture leads automatically and build a helpful supporter database. 

You can capture leads and collect information when a donor or supporter performs the following:

  • Signs a petition online for your organization’s cause
  • Subscribes for your email subscription
  • Provides their email to acquire a downloadable resource. 

This data can help you create supporter profiles in your CRM and help build an ongoing relationship with them.

As you begin to interact more and more, you can capture and add more information to their profiles. 

Over time, these leads may eventually become regular donors and avid supporters of your organization. 

With EngageBay’s smart lead capture tool, you can populate your CRM with relevant information and strengthen your relationship with your community. 

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Enhances supporter actions

With social media marketing, you can constantly engage with your supporters and convert them into loyal ambassadors and mouthpieces of your cause. 

Schedule posts, answer queries and launch social media outreach programs to enhance supporter actions. 

EngageBay’s social suite and powerful automation features can help you do just that.

Expand your social media presence with EngageBay’s social suite.


You can organize your accounts and post information from within the application. 

With smart scheduling, you can schedule your posts so that they reach the widest audience.

Read also: 7 Powerful eCommerce Marketing Automation Strategies + Tools

Benefits of Marketing Automation Integration With CRM System for Nonprofits

Integrating marketing automation with a CRM system is highly beneficial for nonprofits. 

It enhances their ability to reach donors, supporters, and volunteers. 

Here are four ways marketing automation integration with CRM can help nonprofits

Create rapport with donors and supporters

Marketing automation for nonprofits is an incredible way to send personalized messages to your donors on their birthdays automatically. 

Moreover, by inviting them to your nonprofit’s events, you can get them genuinely engaged with you, paving the way for solid, lifelong relationships. 

To do this, you need to understand your donors, supporters, and volunteers very well.

Marketing automation can help you do this by monitoring their web activities, tracking their weblink clickthroughs and email opens, and enhancing your content consumption. 

This will help you get a holistic view of your support base. 

Devise successful email campaigns

To raise funds and awareness about your nonprofit, you need to constantly and relentlessly market your ideas to potential donors. 

With marketing automation, you can send emails to the right people at the right time.

You can combine your CRM database, email builder, and automation tools to create a powerful campaign that can amplify fundraiser turnouts, bring in more volunteers, and increase donor support. 

Engage with segmented contacts

One of the game-changing features of marketing automation is segmentation

You can segment your contacts into various buckets, and filter out high-value leads to target them with personalized messages to pique their interest in your cause. 

With the right tools, you can successfully invite them to fundraising events. 

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Personalize your marketing campaigns

Imagine sending out messages with a generic ‘Hey there!’.

Now imaging sending out personalized messages with your supporters’ names manually. 

These are not efficient or successful ways to engage with a community. 

With marketing automation for nonprofits, you can send personalized emails, engage with your audience through social media, and publish targeted newsletters quickly and effectively. 

👉Are you using these 7 marketing automation strategies for your eCommerce business? Find out how they can transform your success!

Considerations When Choosing a Marketing Automation Tool for Your Nonprofit

For nonprofits, choosing the right marketing automation tool is crucial.

Though all marketing platforms provide similar basic features, certain extra features can make all the difference.

Here are some tips to help you invest in the right platform: 

  • Built-in CRM: Your email marketing tool and CRM should go hand in hand. This is why it is advisable to choose a platform with a built-in CRM. You don’t want to switch between two applications and manually transfer your donor database information, as this is highly time-consuming. If you already have a CRM, make sure your marketing automation tool integrates seamlessly. 
  • Ease of use: The learning curve should not be too steep, and your team should be able to get the job done without technical skills, like coding. A drag-and-drop email and form builder can help you achieve just that. Play around with the platform’s building tools before making a decision. 
  • Metrics: Valuable data is indispensable to your marketing success. The platform you choose should be able to track open rates, clickthroughs, subscribe/unsubscribe rates, and other vital metrics. This can help you analyze what works and what doesn’t.
  • Personalization: To build a strong relationship with your donors and community, you should engage with them on a personal level. With a good marketing tool, you can automatically add donor names and titles, wish them on their birthdays, and target them with hyper-personalized content. Amazingly, personalized emails can increase donation amounts by up to six times compared to non-personalized emails. 
  • Segmentation: Segmentation can help you organize your supporters based on their behavior and demographics. This can help you build lists and engage with them in a suitable and personalized way. Using tags, you can discover dormant contacts and reengage or remove them — thus maintaining an up-to-date and valuable database. 
  • Pricing: For many, this is the deciding factor when choosing a suitable marketing automation software. 

Fortunately, many vendors provide nonprofit discounts, so be sure to enquire about this. 

As your organization grows, you may need to upgrade your plans.

Take this into consideration as upgrading can get quite expensive. You do not want to change vendors every time because of budget constraints. 

5 Best Marketing Automation Platforms for Nonprofits

Let’s check out the five best marketing automation tools to meet the specific needs of your nonprofit organization.

1. EngageBay


Let’s start with EngageBay

EngageBay is the most affordable all-in-one marketing, sales, and service platform with a free built-in CRM system.

Trusted by over 32,000 paying customers, the platform offers all the tools you need for effective marketing from one easy-to-understand dashboard. 

More importantly, EngageBay’s nonprofit CRM is entirely free.

Even if you do not use other tools, you can use the CRM indefinitely for free. 

EngageBay’s intelligent lead scoring system can identify your hot leads from your cold ones, based on how your contacts are responding to your marketing campaigns.

EngageBay’s advanced CRM telephony lets you derive contextual data using your contact’s past interactions with your team. 

With personalization and segmentation, you can target your messaging for the right leads. 

With A/B testing and advanced reports, you can gauge the success of your campaigns and hone in on areas that need changes. 

This Youtube video walks you through EngageBay’s marketing automation tools to get a feel for our platform.

Furthermore, you can let your donors choose a convenient time slot for appointments with smart scheduling.

With EngageBay’s social suite, you can engage with your audience and create a positive impact — thus influencing them to help you meet your organization’s goals. 

2. Mailchimp


Mailchimp is another well-known marketing tool for nonprofits

With a wide range of tools, including templates, custom domains, and segmentation, you can create personalized and visually stunning campaigns to attract donors and supporters to help your organization meet its goals. 

With a plethora of integrations available, you can connect with your favorite applications to increase productivity.

Mailchimp’s advanced automation features let you launch campaigns, create newsletters, and send welcome emails swiftly. 

For nonprofits, Mailchimp offers a 15% discount on paid plans. 

3. ConstantContact


One of the oldest email marketing software, ConstantContact offers a vast collection of templates to choose from to design your newsletters and emails.

Its high deliverability rates mean that your emails don’t go to the spam folder. 

ConstantContact also lets you manage events, registrations, and tickets in-house, so you don’t need a third-party application — a boon for nonprofits. 

Nonprofits get a 20% and 30% discount on their 6-month and 12-month plans, respectively. 

4. ActiveCampaign


ActiveCampaign is another highly recommended marketing tool for nonprofits.

The platform’s lead capturing and scoring features, email notifications, advanced task assignment tools, and CRM can help nonprofits reach their marketing goals successfully. 

You can see key metrics and performance issues in an intuitive and easy-to-grasp report format with detailed analysis. 

ActiveCampaign’s segmentation tools let you segregate your donors into buckets and target those most willing to help your organization. 

With four plans to choose from, ActiveCampaign is suitable for nonprofits of all shapes and sizes. 

5. Keela


The last marketing platform on our list is Keela.

Its unique donor management tools and free nonprofit CRM lets you manage campaigns and get your organization’s goals to the people effectively. 

Keela’s AI-powered features like Intelligent Contact Insights let you know what time of the year a specific donor is most likely to donate.

You can then target them with personalized messages at the right time. 


A marketing automation tool can help nonprofits plan ahead by creating drafts and templates, segmenting contacts, filtering out high-value leads, and automating multichannel communications.

These tools can help your nonprofit gain momentum quickly and reach relevant audiences. 

By choosing any one of the five best marketing automation tools from our list, you can quickly achieve your nonprofit’s milestones. 

That said, you need to have a sound strategy in place before delving into these powerful tools.

These marketing automation tools will help you enhance your marketing strategy, but you must have one first.

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