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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

Email Sender Superlatives

What types of nonprofits have the highest-performing emails? The answers might surprise you!

Bounce Rate by NTEE Classification

(Lower is Better)

Classification Bounce Rate
Arts, Culture, & Humanities 1.82%
Education Institutions 3.24%
Health & Human Services 2.25%
Recreation, Sports, & Leisure 1.01%
Religious Institutions 1.20%
Community Capacity 1.11%
Environment & Animal-Related 1.36%
Hospitals & Care Organizations 1.29%
Philanthropy 3.22%
Science, Technology, & Social Sciences 1.68%
Youth Development 2.42%
Professional Associations 1.79%
International 2.75%

Open Rate by NTEE Classification

(Higher is Better)

Classification Open Rate
Arts, Culture, & Humanities 26%
Education Institutions 26.69%
Health & Human Services 28.93%
Recreation, Sports, & Leisure 32.06%
Religious Institutions 21.21%
Community Capacity 26.76%
Environment & Animal-Related 32.77%
Hospitals & Care Organizations 37.39%
Philanthropy 27.76%
Science, Technology, & Social Sciences 30.37%
Youth Development 35%
Professional Associations 38.31%
International 24.57%


Unsubscribe Rate by NTEE Classification

(Lower is Better)

Classification Unsubscribe Rate
Arts, Culture, & Humanities 0.19%
Education Institutions 0.17%
Health & Human Services 0.20%
Recreation, Sports, & Leisure 0.16%
Religious Institutions 0.17%
Community Capacity 0.14%
Environment & Animal-Related 0.20%
Hospitals & Care Organizations 0.16%
Philanthropy 0.31%
Science, Technology, & Social Sciences 0.14%
Youth Development 0.16%
Professional Associations 0.07%
International 0.29%

Click-Through Rate by NTEE Classification

(Higher is Better)

Classification Click-Through Rate
Arts, Culture, & Humanities 2.66%
Education Institutions 4.50%
Health & Human Services 4.66%
Recreation, Sports, & Leisure 3.98%
Religious Institutions 2.50%
Community Capacity 1.88%
Environment & Animal-Related 3.25%
Hospitals & Care Organizations 5.57%
Philanthropy 2.97%
Science, Technology, & Social Sciences 9.81%
Youth Development 5.48%
Professional Associations 7.46%
International 1.61%


Here’s a cool takeaway from these superlatives: Professional associations had both the highest open rate and the lowest unsubscribe rate. Why might that be the case?

Professional associations tend to have audiences who all have common professions or interests. Our jobs are a major part of how we identify ourselves: Communications from these organizations speak directly to their recipients’ identities, which means they’re especially compelling. Association members may also be paying dues, which may make them more invested in those emails.

If you want to improve your engagement rates, try to connect with your contacts’ identities. Your donors may not have paid dues to your organization, but they’ve still invested in your cause. They support your cause for personal reasons instead of professional ones. If you can tap into those motivations and appeal to their identities as generous individuals, passionate advocates, or cause champions, you’ll keep them more engaged.