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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

End of Year Fundraising Totals

GivingTuesday is the unofficial start to the year-end fundraising season. The last three days of December are when the majority of nonprofits raise a significant portion of their annual revenue. Let’s take a look at how donors supported their favorite causes during those days last year.

Amount Raised Overall 2021 2022 Change
Average Nonprofit $7,318.95 $6,277.35 -14.23%
Small Nonprofit $4,463.68 $3,627.55 -18.73%
Large Nonprofit $8,307.31 $7,139.65 -14.06%


And, in keeping with industry-wide trends, the dip in end-of-year giving was accompanied by a dip in individual gift sizes, too:


Amount Raised Per Email Contact 2021 2022 Change
Average Nonprofit $1.42 $1.10 -22.54%
Small Nonprofit $7.05 $6.24 -11.49%
Large Nonprofit $1.22 $0.95 -22.13%

What Does This Mean?

A common point of concern for some fundraisers is that running a GivingTuesday campaign will result in fewer gifts at the end of the year. That doesn’t seem to be the case!

  • Overall, the dip in end-of-year giving was less pronounced than the dip in GivingTuesday donations. People across the board continued to prioritize giving during December 29 to 31.
  • Small nonprofits saw a greater decrease during the end of the year than they did on GivingTuesday. That said, they experienced less of a decrease in end-of-year giving than their larger counterparts.
  • Large organizations saw a similar pattern. The decrease in end-of-year giving was less pronounced than the decrease in GivingTuesday donations.

Despite these differences in both GivingTuesday and end-of-year performance, organizations who ran both campaigns saw an overall lift in their fundraising. 24% of Neon CRM clients ran both types of campaigns in 2022. If you haven’t tried running both a GivingTuesday and end-of-year campaign, you may want to consider doing both!

What Do I Do With This Information?

Planning both a GivingTuesday campaign and an end-of-year campaign will benefit your organization. Email audiences are very likely to support small nonprofits’ GivingTuesday campaigns. If your organization has experienced this trend of a greater decline at the end of the year than you did on GivingTuesday, take some time this year to evaluate your year-end appeal. What made your last GivingTuesday campaign so successful? How can you emulate that appeal at the end of December?

If you’re a large organization and have noticed your GivingTuesday campaigns have performed less effectively than your year-end campaigns, you can try the reverse. Read over the end-of-year campaign you sent last year: What about it was compelling to your donors? Can you apply those elements to this year’s GivingTuesday campaign? Since your donors seem more likely to give to your year-end campaign, you have lots of opportunities to experiment and try new things on GivingTuesday itself. Get creative!

Here’s one tip that might help get you started: Avoid using the phrase “GivingTuesday” or “GivingTuesday” in your subject line. This might seem silly, but emails that included the word “Tuesday” in their subject lines had lower open rates, click-through rates, and total dollars raised than those that didn’t:

Included “Tuesday” Did Not Include “Tuesday” Difference
Open Rate 28.33% 29.23% +0.9%
Click-Through Rate 1.40% 2.01% +0.61%
Amount Raised $5,489.05 $7,031.39 +$1,542.34


Here’s a fun, weird fact for you: If you’ve read The Nonprofit Email Report: Data-Backed Insights for Better Engagement, you may remember that the word “Tuesday” had a positive impact on email engagement… but only during the other parts of the year, not on GivingTuesday itself. Who knew so many people were sending emails with the word “Tuesday” in the subject line?