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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

Use These Data-Backed Best Practices to Nail Your GivingTuesday and Year-End Goals

When you look at email performance on these extremely important fundraising days, what can you take from it? How can you use this information to improve your fundraising this year?

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    More Is Not Automatically Better

    Don’t feel pressured to plan dozens of email campaigns for your GivingTuesday and end-of-year campaigns. Gone are the days where sending three appeals and four updates was an exciting new way to engage donors: Sending one or two appeals to any one set of donors is adequate, and you’ll save yourself time and energy.

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    Small Lists Are Valuable …

    Sure, everyone wants to grow their email lists. But don’t skip sending an email campaign for your GivingTuesday or end-of-year campaign just because you have a small audience. Organizations with small lists outperformed their larger counterparts in a number of important ways: Their email engagement rates were higher, and they raised much more per email contact. The people on your lists are there because they believe in your work. Invite them to get involved!

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    … And So Are Large Lists

    It isn’t surprising that large lists raised more money overall despite having lower engagement rates. As your list grows, it’s likely that it will include people who won’t read your message or interact with you. That’s okay! A large list, even when it includes unengaged contacts, also represents a large pool of potential donors … and that means more money raised overall.

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    Start Experimenting on GivingTuesday …

    You may want to take different approaches to GivingTuesday and the last three days of the year. There are enough differences in the ways that small and large lists perform that nonprofits—particularly small ones—can likely be more experimental on GivingTuesday. GivingTuesday campaigns typically rely heavily on digital channels like email and social media, and nonprofits are regularly trying new tactics to reach, inspire, and activate their donors. That leaves plenty of room for you to try new things, too.

  • Icon of a pile of books with a pair of spectacles on it

    … But Stick To More Traditional Methods For End-Of-Year

    Everyone loves a good experiment. But experimenting on GivingTuesday, when nonprofits are regularly pushing the envelope with new ways of reaching their supporters, is one thing. Trying novel tactics in the last days of the year when you’re pushing to reach your annual goals is something else entirely. If a new tactic you tried on GivingTuesday went over really well with your audience, you can consider trying it for your year-end campaign, too. But there’s nothing wrong with playing it safe on the three biggest fundraising days of the year.

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