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6 Nonprofit Email Marketing Stats On How People Engage With Email

When it comes to marketing, email has consistently been a reliable communication tool for nonprofits. With a relatively short time and resource investment, nonprofits can target a specific audience, personalize an email’s content, and schedule it for release.

And while email marketing boasts a high return on investment for the average nonprofit, you should continuously be working to improve your email effectiveness.You want your audience to open and click through your emails, so make sure they do!

Here are 6 nonprofit email marketing stats on how people engage with email that you should keep in mind when creating your own nonprofit email marketing plan.

1) Your Emails May Be Sent To The Spam Folder

What if I told you that you are losing money, and your audience, to spam folders? In fact, a nonprofit loses out on around $14,000 per year because up to 12% of their emails are categorized as spam.

“A nonprofit loses out on around $14,000 per year because up to 12% of their emails are categorized as spam…” tweet this

People can’t engage with you if they don’t even see your email, so here are some tactics that you can incorporate based on these nonprofit email marketing stats to ensure that you pass an inbox spam filter:

    • Ask email recipients to add you to their address book
    • Make sure that your recipients have chosen to opt-in to receive your emails
    • Include a clear unsubscribe link that is active for 30 days or more
    • Use accurate header information, including subject line and sender information
    • Head to a checker like Spam Assasin find out your email’s risk of being classified spam

2) A Quarter Of Recipients Open Your Email

MailChimp found that the average open rate for nonprofit email marketing is 25.96%, compared to the universal email open rate of 6%. And yes, 26% is a lot better than 6%, but it still means that about three quarters of your audience isn’t opening your emails.

“The average open rate for nonprofit emails is 25.96%, compared to the universal email open rate of 6%…”        

Remedy this by incorporating some of these best practices:

  • Write an engaging subject line-questions tend to perform well.
  • Use recognizable senders
  • Send emails at the right time. According to email newsletter service provider Constant Contact, the best time for nonprofits to send a newsletter is on Mondays at 6:00am
  • Keep your frequency consistent (weekly, monthly, quarterly)

3) Social Media Increases Click Through Rates

You have a quarter of email recipients opening your emails, but are they clicking through and reading your content? Not necessarily.

The average click through rate for nonprofits is a dismal 3.05%, but there’s hope. Emails with social sharing buttons increase click through rates by as much as 158%. So don’t hesitate when deciding to add those buttons to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. Social media and email work hand-in-hand to increase your exposure.

“Emails with social sharing buttons increase click through rates by as much as 158%…” tweet this

4) Customization Is Key

While it does take some extra effort to customize emails based on your audience, you’ll reap the rewards of the extra work. Personalized emails increase click through rates by an average of 14% and conversion rates (an action such as a newsletter sign up or donation) by 10%.

“Personalized emails increase click through rates by an average of 14% and conversion rates by 10%…” tweet this

These nonprofit email marketing stats prove that people are more likely to read through your nonprofit’s emails if they notice personalization, such as:

  • Their name in the greeting. Some email marketing software programs like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Salesforce can directly input a recipient’s name.
  • Content chosen based on your contact’s interests. Many nonprofits track data on a donor’s interests for communication purposes.
  • Calls to action that are relevant to them, such as asking a donor to consider an additional gift or offering a long-time volunteer a new opportunity.

5) People Read Your Emails On Mobile Devices

Campaign Monitor found that about 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices, which means that your nonprofit’s emails need to be optimized for mobile.

“53% of emails are opened on mobile devices, which means your nonprofit’s emails need to be optimized for mobile…” tweet this

Chances are, your emails contain links back to your website, and if your readers can’t get the information they’re looking for on your website, they’re bound to stop looking.

Ensure that your email is mobile optimized by doing the following:

  • Use a responsive design that changes based on how the reader is accessing the email. You can create your own, or use a template.
  • Enlarge your links and calls to action to at least 57×57 pixels to fit the average index finger.
  • Reduce the size of your images to fit a mobile screen using a photo resizer such as FastStone.

6) Send Out The Right Number of Emails

In the world of email, there’s a fine line between too little and too many. Who Is Hosting This? found that sending four emails in a month (as opposed to one), increases the number of people opening those emails. MailChimp found similar results.

That doesn’t mean you have to start sending weekly emails, especially if you don’t have the time or content to make the effort worthwhile. With these nonprofit email marketing stats in mind, try testing communication frequency on a sample audience (such as one of your donor segments) and then adjusting the numbers you send out on a monthly basis based on the response.

“Sending four emails in a month (as opposed to one), increases the number of people opening those emails…” tweet this


Now is the time to create an email marketing plan that works for your organization by improving your reach and audience response using some of the nonprofit email marketing stats shown above. After all, email marketing for nonprofits isn’t just about bringing in donations, but educating your contacts and, most importantly, staying connected.

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