We know that using AdWords and Google Search are great ways to bring in new donors, especially those that aren’t familiar with your organization. But, what about engaging people already in your network?

Email donations made up 35% of online giving in 2011, according to the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study by M+R Strategic Services and Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN). In the same study, we also saw the typical non-profit email list grew by 16% from 2010 to 2011. To help you make the most of this growth, we’ve shared a few tips to create more effective donation emails.

1. Tell Your Story: Like we discussed earlier this week, donors want to know their money isn’t being wasted, so show them how you’re using it! Include photos and videos illustrating the impact you in order to engage users.

Gmail allows you insert images inline with your text. Follow these quick steps to add images to your email and showcase the change you’re making.

Or you can link a YouTube video to your email. By using our hyperlink feature in Gmail, you can make your text connect to a web address. In this case, you would connect to one of your YouTube video or channel URLs.

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out our Visual Storytelling series, where we highlighted non-profits using photos, videos and more.

2. Be Social: Individual donors trust their friends and family for information on nonprofits, according to Hope Consulting’s Money For Good II Report. Make sure that you not only have your email list recipients  send emails to their friends and family, but also include hyperlinks to Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to build your community.

Next week, we’ll focus on ways to stay organized using Google tools, how to make the most of the donor information you have and share our bundle of Google Docs templates created specifically for non-profits.

Posted by Katie Kellogg, Google for Nonprofits team