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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

GivingTuesday Email Data

Donors’ willingness to engage with emails on GivingTuesday has been a source of lively debate. Let’s take a look at what our data reveals about how donors interact with GivingTuesday emails, including how many emails to send and what kind of engagement to expect from your audience.

Email Frequency

On GivingTuesday 2021, both large and small nonprofits sent around two email campaigns on GivingTuesday. In 2022, large organizations sent only one GivingTuesday email, while their smaller counterparts still sent two. Some nonprofits sent more—the highest number sent by a single organization on GivingTuesday was six—but those were generally sent to very specific segments of the organization’s audience.

Number of GivingTuesday Email Campaigns Sent 2021 2022
Average Nonprofit 2 1
Small Nonprofit 2 2
Large Nonprofit 2 1


Does this mean you should send more GivingTuesday email campaigns to stand out from organizations who send one or two? Not necessarily! The most successful campaigns included no more than two fundraising emails. Nonprofits who sent one email campaign raised, on average, $6,326. Those who sent two or more emails raised an average of $5,245.90.

The exception is for organizations that segment their lists. It’s appropriate to send unique campaigns to many different segments. But stick to sending one or two emails to any group of donors—sending any more will take up your time and resources with minimal returns.

Average Email Performance Benchmarks

Are donors more or less likely to engage with your emails on GivingTuesday than on other days of the year? Let’s see what the data shows! Here are overall performance metrics for all nonprofits regardless of size.

All Year GivingTuesday Difference
Open Rate 28.59% 28.71% +0.12%
Unsubscribe Rate 0.19% 0.23% +0.04%
Click-Through Rate 3.29% 1.63% -1.66%


First things first: Audiences are willing to engage with GivingTuesday emails. Open rates stay relatively flat, which means your readers are generally as likely to open your GivingTuesday emails as they are any other email campaign, and sending these emails doesn’t typically result in higher unsubscribe rates.

Click-through rates are slightly lower on GivingTuesday than they are the rest of the year, but only by a small percentage. If you’ve read The Nonprofit Email Report: Data-Backed Insights for Better Engagement, you may remember that we looked at all email campaigns sent during 2022, including newsletters, impact updates, and other campaigns that typically include lots of links. Appeals sent on GivingTuesday typically include fewer links. That click-through rates for emails sent on GivingTuesday are only 1.66% lower than the rest of the year—despite including fewer opportunities to engage—is encouraging. Your audiences are interested in giving!

Email Performance Benchmarks for Small Nonprofits

But what about small nonprofits? How do audiences on these lists engage with GivingTuesday emails?

All Year GivingTuesday Difference
Open Rate 45.70% 36.70% -9%
Unsubscribe Rate 0.16% 0.16% 0%
Click-Through Rate 10.24% 3.85% -6.39%


If you’re at a small nonprofit and see engagement drop a little on GivingTuesday, you’re not alone! Despite those lower numbers, your donors tend to give more generously than donors to your larger counterparts. The good news is that lower engagement rates mean you have lots of opportunities to experiment with your campaigns. Try changing up when you send your emails, your subject lines and preview text, your content and calls to action, and the buttons and links to your donation form that are included in your campaign.

Email Performance Benchmarks for Large Nonprofits

If your email list contains 1,000 or more people, these benchmarks are for you. Here’s how large organizations performed on GivingTuesday 2022.

All Year GivingTuesday Difference
Open Rate 27.65% 28.43% +0.78%
Unsubscribe Rate 0.20% 0.23% +0.03%
Click-Through Rate 2.91% 1.56% -1.35%


Audiences on larger lists are more likely to engage with your GivingTuesday emails than with campaigns sent at other points in the year. If you’re looking for ways to improve your campaigns this year, spend some time crafting your calls to action and making sure it’s easy for your supporters to donate. Asking for specific amounts, prioritizing relating donors’ potential impact, and ensuring your GivingTuesday donation form is well optimized can all help you tap into (and facilitate!) your donors’ generosity.