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The Nonprofit Email Report: Data-Backed Insights for Better Engagement

Browse The Report

  1. Introduction
    1. A Note from Neon One
    2. Who’s Represented In This Report?
    3. Why Is Email So Important?
    4. Anatomy of an Email
  2. Nonprofit Email Deliverability & Engagement Benchmarks
    1. Introduction
    2. Nonprofit List Sizes
    3. Ask The Expert: Is List Segmentation Really That Important?
    4. Nonprofit Email Bounce Rates
    5. Nonprofit Email Open Rates
    6. Nonprofit Email Unsubscribe Rates
    7. Nonprofit Email Click-Through Rates
    8. Nonprofit Email Fundraising Performance
    9. Nonprofit Email Performance by Date & Time
    10. Email Sender Superlatives
  3. A Data-Driven Approach to Subject Lines & Preview Text
    1. Introduction
    2. Convey Positive Emotions in Subject Lines
    3. Ask the Expert: How Did You Use AI for Subject Line Sentiment Analysis?
    4. Words to Include (or Avoid) in Your Subject Lines
    5. Experiment with Emojis in Subject Lines
    6. Write Compelling Preview Text
    7. Words to Include (or Avoid) in Your Preview Text
    8. Put It All Together — Performance Benchmarks & Word Usage
  4. Creating Effective Emails
    1. Introduction
    2. Ask the Expert: What Should I Keep In Mind When Creating Compelling Emails?
    3. Tip #1 — Include Imagery in Your Emails
    4. Tip #2 — Pay Attention to Salutations
    5. Ask The Expert: Do Salutations Really Make a Difference?
    6. Tip #3 — Use the Word "You"
    7. Tip #4 — Make Your Message Scannable
    8. Ask The Expert: How Do I Create a Great Call to Action?
    9. Tip #5 — Include Great Calls to Action
    10. Put It All Together - Build Clear, Compelling Emails
  5. Lessons from the Most Engaging Email of 2022
    1. Introduction
    2. Top Engagement Email Dissection
    3. Go Build More Engaging Emails
  6. Data-Backed Insights for GivingTuesday and Year-End
    1. Introduction
    2. Who’s Included In This Data?
    3. GivingTuesday Fundraising Totals
    4. GivingTuesday Email Data
    5. End of Year Fundraising Totals
    6. End-of-Year Email Data
    7. Use These Data-Backed Best Practices to Nail Your GivingTuesday and Year-End Goals
    8. Now Get Out There And Write Some Emails
  7. Methodology & Appendix
    1. Methodology
    2. The Dataset
    3. Terminology and Definitions
    4. Metrics Definitions
    5. Analysis by Mission & Organization Income
    6. Analysis by Time & Date Sent
    7. Analysis by Content Sentiment
    8. Data Privacy & Security
  8. About Neon One
    1. Learn more about Neon One

A Note from Neon One

How do you evaluate your email campaigns?

If you’re like many people, you start by comparing your email performance to industry benchmarks. But, if you’re a nonprofit organization—especially one that doesn’t raise tens of millions every year—you may have a hard time finding benchmarks from organizations like yours. Many of the available email performance benchmarks come from either very large organizations or from for-profit companies.

Illustration of Una, from the One Bunch, sitting down with her laptop to discover what CRM solutions fit her best.

Not any more!

This report summarizes key email performance metrics from 1,495 nonprofit organizations of all sizes and missions. We evaluated 37,472 email campaigns (that’s 157,048,634 individual emails) that were sent during 2022, then broke down important benchmarks by list size. This gave us detailed insight into how email works for organizations of different sizes. In this report, you’ll discover overall benchmarks that include all 1,495 nonprofits, plus benchmarks broken down by “small nonprofits,” with list sizes between 250 and 999 contacts, and “large nonprofits” with lists that include more than 1,000 contacts.

As you read through this report, you’ll find statistics and data points from Neon One’s own research, data from other industry sources, and email strategies and takeaways informed by that data. If you ever wonder which statistics come from Neon One and which come from third parties, just look for the citations—anything not accompanied by a formal citation comes from our own data.

Understanding industry benchmarks can give you invaluable insight into how you can improve your own email campaigns’ performance. Whether you’re a large nonprofit with thousands of email subscribers or a smaller organization with an audience in the hundreds, the statistics and data-informed strategies in this report will help you identify ways to improve your communications and engage your audience.

Happy reading!
The Neon One Team