A new report released today by EveryAction suggests you might be leaving substantial online fundraising revenue on the table (or should I say in the ether?) if your nonprofit is not attending properly to email deliverability issues.

Their report — 2017 Nonprofit Email Deliverability Study — looked at data from 55 leading US nonprofits to determine the impact of spam and poor deliverability practices. The nonprofits selected represent a variety of ESPs (email service providers) and email list sizes to ensure the results illustrate trends across of the nonprofit community at-large.

Their conclusion: “…diminished engagement and soaring spam rates are significantly weighing down nonprofit fundraising potential.”

For the organizations studied, an average of 18.2% of emails were delivered to spam folders. The best performer had 8.6% delivered to spam. Open rates stayed stable from 2015 at 15.5%, but click-through rates fell 14%.

Spam rates increased substantially in the last week of the calendar year, both in terms of the year-long average and in terms of week 52 in 2015 versus week 52 in 2016 (rising from 8.6% in 2015 to 23.6% in 2016).

Agitator readers who recall my views on #GivingTuesday, note this: “…the spam figures revealed something shocking: the rate at which fundraising emails were rerouted to junk folders nearly quadrupled. In 2016, for the 55 organizations studied, #GivingTuesday saw an average of 36.68% of fundraising messages go to spam, up from 9.27% in the year prior.” I’ll say no more.

The leading reasons your emails wind up in spam …

  • Making unsubscribing difficult.
  • Using an out-of-date email list.
  • Sending irrelevant email.
  • High complaints.

More advice on improving email deliverability in the report.

The gain from getting it right? About 22% in email fundraising revenue. Their average nonprofit lost $24,552 last year.

Perhaps that’s enough to encourage you to read the study.


P.S. EveryAction is conducting a webinar on their findings and recommendations on May 31. Details here.


This article was posted in: Online fundraising and marketing.
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