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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

Write Compelling Preview Text

Preview text is a snippet of copy that briefly informs people what is in your email and why they should read it. This copy appears alongside your email’s subject line in the list view your readers see of their inbox, and it’s generally used to give people a summary of what the email contains. Since this is so prominently displayed in inboxes, your preview text can impact your audiences’ willingness to open and read your email.

Why Is This Important?

After your subject line, your preview text is the most immediately visible part of your email when it hits your contacts’ inboxes. Readers will frequently scan your preview text to get a feel for what your message contains, why it might be valuable to them, and whether or not they want to read your email. It’s easy to forget to include preview text when you’re building your email, and it’s even easier to hastily write your preview text before moving onto the body of your email. Should you spend time on preview text? Will it help improve your performance?

Let’s find out.

Preview Text & Nonprofit Email Performance

  • Illustrated icon of a chat bubble to signify preview textEmails that included preview text raised 53.85 MORE than those that did not
  • Illustration of an orange envelope that is open to signify open rates29.55% Open rate for emails that included preview text
  • Icon of an orange envelope that is closed27.29% Open rate for emails that did not include preview text
  • An icon of a cursor with lines protruding from it to signify clicking3.04% Click-through rate on emails that included preview text
  • Icon of a blue cursor3.63% Click-through rate on emails that did not include preview text

What This Means for You

The impact of preview text on fundraising emails is pretty clear-cut: Emails that included preview text raised almost 54% more than emails that didn’t. When you’re sending a fundraising email, try to include some preview text.

You may be wondering about the lower click-through rates for emails that contained preview text, especially since preview text had a positive impact on open rates. There are a few elements to consider here. The first is that some emails that contained preview text may not have included many opportunities to click from the message to another page. The second is that there’s only a 0.59% discrepancy between the click-through rates for emails, which means there’s lots of room for experimentation here.

To mitigate the minor risk of readers not clicking on links included in an email that also includes preview text, make sure your CTAs are clearly written and easy to act upon. You may even want to experiment with linking to a form or other page more than once: Koshy noted that more links to a form resulted in a higher click rate for the form. You can find his analysis of this trend in Section 4-9