10 Ways Nonprofits Can Send Mobile-Friendly Email | npENGAGE

10 Ways Nonprofits Can Send Mobile-Friendlier Email

By on Apr 15, 2013


Does your nonprofit send mobile-friendly email? You’ve likely heard about the importance of being mobile-friendly to engage constituents. Maybe even that:

But if you’re not yet sending responsive design emails, what can you do right now to be mobile-friendly?

Here are 10 ways your nonprofit can immediately improve the mobile email experience:

  1. Decrease your email’s width

    iPhones resize your email to fit within its screen. So the wider the email is, the smaller the text will become (and the harder to read). Shrinking your email even from 600px to 500px width can make text easier to read:
    Nonprofit mobile email - 600px     Nonprofit mobile email - 500px

    Conversely, Android phones often cutoff the right part of your email, depending on the width. Readers have to scroll horizontally to read your message. So, a narrower width means less distance your constituents have to scroll back-and-forth.

  2. Include better photos

    Photos can immediately engage your constituents. The good news for nonprofits is that iPhones and iPads automatically download images by default (unlike most other email clients). So as mobile usage increases, your photos have a better chance of being seen. Make the most of them.

  3. Keep emails under 102KB

    Gmail only displays the first 102KB of your message. Some of your content and links, including (gulp) your opt-out link, might not be displayed if it’s over that size.
    Nonprofit mobile email - keep under 102KB

  4. Shorten your subject lines

    Shorter subject lines are mobile-friendly for a couple reasons. First, recipients will see less of your subject line in the mobile inbox, so engage them in fewer words. Second, the longer your subject line, the more your message may be pushed down. See how the first example shows more of the initial message than the second one?
    Nonprofit mobile email - short subject line      Nonprofit mobile email - long subject line

  5. Use preheaders to complement your subject line

    Mobile inboxes have a third component: The preheader. Appearing underneath your subject line, preheaders should help persuade constituents to move to the next step, opening your email. Offering a web-based version of your email is a good idea. But it shouldn’t be mentioned in your preheader (first example below). See how the second example uses the preheader to tell us more about Eli?
    Nonprofit mobile email - preheader 2     Nonprofit mobile email - preheader

  6. Keep paragraphs to 1-2 sentences

    You’ve heard many people just skim emails. So imagine how inviting longer paragraphs look when they’re even tougher to read on a mobile device. Keep your paragraphs to 1-2 sentences, like this email:
    Nonprofit mobile email - keep paragraphs short

  7. Reduce content

    Now is a great time to revisit how much content you actually include in email. Less content is visible on mobile devices, which means more scrolling. Consider scaling back.

  8. Increase text size

    Many nonprofits use 12px font size or smaller in their emails. Consider bumping it up to 13-14px. There’s only so much pinching and horizontal scrolling constituents can take.

  9. Give links room to breathe

    Imagine your thumb trying to click on a link in the below email. Chances are you’ll click on the wrong one.
    Nonprofit mobile email - give links room

  10. Understand what your emails look like

    Rather than running around the office and grabbing phones to see how your emails render, use a service like Litmus.com or EmailonAcid.com. For a small monthly fee, you can preview your email on most devices and email clients.

What mobile email tips do you have to share?


Mike Snusz brings 18 years of fundraising experience to his role as a Senior Team Lead on Blackbaud’s Professional Services team. He leads a team of digital consultants and works with nonprofits to improve their digital fundraising, monthly giving, email marketing and peer-to-peer fundraising programs. Prior to Blackbaud, Mike managed the turnaround of the Ride For Roswell from 2003 to 2005 in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. When he’s not contemplating fundraising, Mike enjoys hide and seek, tag, and dance parties with his two kids.

Comments (4)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *