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How to Efficiently Manage Your Nonprofit’s Emails

Is managing your nonprofit’s a bit of a challenge? Do you feel like you spend too much time reading, replying, and sending emails?

Why not do some spring cleaning and organize your inbox! It is April, after all. 

Did you know that emailing actually has negative effects on our environment? More than 10 billion emails are sent every hour worldwide. The amount of energy it takes to power all these messages is enormous!

Here are some ways  you can effectively manage your nonprofits email and become more sustainable:

Is email something that will become a thing of the past? Let’s take a look at:

We know emailing isn’t going away any time soon!
In case you are not ready to say goodbye to email, so  here are some tips to help you manage your inbox effectively and sustainably:

Let’s jump into how you can improve your productivity, save time, and how to work together on our environmental footprint!

If you are interested in learning how to improve your nonprofit's newsletter, check out this article


Will Email Become a Thing of the Past?

We think it is important to discuss the harmful effects of emailing and what you can do to become more sustainable!

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

How does emailing have a negative impact on the environment ? It is an intangible thing that doesn’t release anything toxic, right? Correct, but it is actually a huge contributor to global warming.

Remember how we said 10 billion emails are sent every hour? The amount of energy that takes is huge, and it all has to come from somewhere. 

Huge data centers are working 24/7 to provide us with all the energy it takes to send emails. Within these data centers are machines that store your data, and guess what? They are powered by coal-fired power plants.

It is therefore necessary that we take action! Nonprofits know better than anyone how important it is to do your part.

It is important to reduce consumption, not only on a personal level but on an organizational level as well.

Why not use this time to apply some new methods to your nonprofit emailing to help out?

Some Alternative Solutions for Communicating with Your Team

Let's start with the heart of your nonprofit: your team.

It is true that sending emails is one of the preferred methods of communication in the U.S., but now that we know the harmful effects emails can have, we can look into some great alternatives.

There are plenty of free tools available that allow you to communicate in real time without using your email inbox.

One of the biggest (and best!) alternatives you will find is Slack, a kind of professional chat-room for your whole company. Slack of course is not a magical tool with no carbon footprint, but it pollutes significantly less than traditional inboxes.

Slack was designed to replace emailing within companies. You can share data with your colleagues in the same space and therefore in a single copy, which considerably reduces storage space used. 

At AssoConnect, we use Slack company-wide and on a daily basis. It has allowed us to reduce the number of emails we send by at least 30% (!) and has helped us improve internal communication.

Slack offers a free version, we highly recommend you give it a try!

nonprofit-email-management-teamCorinne is excited to mange her nonprofit email and help save the planet at the same time!

How to Desaturate Your Inbox

There are also solutions to help lighten up your inbox. Attachments can be very heavy. Things like a database on excel, a video presentation, or a photo album of your last event, are huge and can be complicated to send- not to mention energy consuming! 

Fortunately, thanks to the Cloud, you can now work online and collaborate with your team in a faster and more sustainable way. You can use things like: 

Google Drive: Tool to create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations with your team in real time. Everything is automatically saved and stored.

Dropbox: A storage and file sharing service for your nonprofit.


Obviously, we cannot snap our fingers and expect emailing to disappear. Therefore, here are...

Tips to Sustainably and Effectively Manage Your Inbox 

Sort and Filter Your Inbox

A great way to manage your inbox is to set up automatic sorting and filters in your inbox. All email providers have them!

Maybe you receive emails regularly from Michelle, your treasurer. You can create a special folder named “treasury” or “Michelle” and her emails will automatically be sent there! The same idea applies to newsletters, advertisements, etc.

You can also automatically send a message with these tools. Pretty convenient, isn’t it?

Generally speaking, for the sake of efficiency, classifying or deleting your emails as soon as you receive them is ideal. It can also be useful to create folders like:

"To be read today", "To be read within a week",

"To do", "To read again" (for emails requiring a little more attention).

The more organized your inbox, the better!

Be Realistic!

Having no unread emails at the end of every work day is a bit of a stretch. We of course understand that we need to stay realistic!

Our tip for doing your best is to set yourself small goals. For example: set some time at the end of your week to get through all important messages, and stick to it!

Another tip we find to be useful for nonprofits is to create newsletters for your community! This is a great way to send a message to several people at once rather than sending the same email multiple times. 

We suggest that you share your documents and reports in an alternative way. Instead of “cc” multiple people, share your documents with one of the tools we chatted about earlier, like Google Drive. Save time and energy!

Tips for Saving Time

Most of the time, not all emails need to be read immediately. There are few times where a message is so urgent that it cannot wait. 

To be more efficient with your email management, we suggest carving out a part of your day to solely dedicate to going through your emails. You can process more this way and remain focused on your other tasks!

Try not to work with your inbox open! Shut off notifications, close the tab, do whatever you need to do to focus on the task at hand and not any messages that might pop up. 

We have found that this allows you to focus entirely on your task at hand, which is a big time saver!

Do Some Spring Cleaning

The average number of emails in an inbox is 3,495. That is a huge number! Most people do not take the time to delete or archive unnecessary emails.

So why not do a little tidying up?

Start by taking the time you have given yourself to focus only on your emails. After you have gone through and read your most recent emails, why not take some time to delete old ones?

If you notice a newsletters or emails you are no longer interested in or never really reading, go ahead and unsubscribe! This will clear up a huge part of your inbox and slow the flow of emails you are receiving.

When you are all done, maybe set yourself a little reminder to do it again in a few weeks. It is a great habit!nonprofit-email-clean-inbox

Sonia is ready to make new habits to help her nonprofit keep a clean inbox!

Some Great Tools to Help You Sort Your Emails

There are helpful tools out there that are built to help you sort through your emails. Here are just a few that we recommend: 

Cleanfox: A free tool whose mission is to reduce your carbon footprint! It automatically sorts all of your newsletters, allowing you to unsubscribe in just a few clicks! A great way to streamline your inbox.

Mailstrom: An email cleaning platform that connects to your mailbox to scan message subjects, senders, and objects. Automatically sorts all your mail by category, which makes it very simple to decide what is important and what you want to delete.

Spark: An application that prioritizes your inbox and helps reduce notifications. See your most important messages first!


There you have it! All of our tips for a spotless inbox. 

Do not hesitate to share these tips with your team! We are all working towards a more sustainable future, and these are some great new practices  to help us get there. 

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