April 25, 2019
Nonprofit Email Use is Rising, But so Are Spam Rates

August 19, 2018 — With nonprofits relying heavily on email to reach donors, rising spam rates, despite increased and better targeted messaging, are leading to loss of potential income, a recently completed study has found.

According to the 2018 Nonprofit Email Deliverability Study, developed by EveryAction, an advisor to nonprofits, "every percentage of email going to spam annually results in a loss of $1,225.73 (per 100,000 email addresses). This startling figure only reinforces the point that every undelivered email is lost opportunity for supporters to take action, raise their voices, volunteer their time, and, most critically, donate to your cause."

The study found that despite increasing sends and open rates in the last two years, growing spam rates are cutting significantly into the fundraising potential of many nonprofits. For example:
  • A nonprofit with a list of 100,000, which sent an average of 3.29 emails on #GivingTuesday in 2016, lost the potential to raise $3,116.41 as a result of spam.

  • A spam rate of 21.36% at end-of-year fundraising caused nonprofits with a list of 100,000 to leave a potential of $3,239.97 unrealized.
"Organizations that send a significant volume of email around these days typically have a higher donation per email amount during that campaign, and could be losing even more money than they realize from spam rates," according to EveryAction.

The report recommends specific actions nonprofits can take to improve email deliverability. They include:
  • Opt-in and confirm. Ask individuals to opt-in to your email list and send a follow up email to confirm their address is correct. By opting-in addresses and confirming them, you ensure the person on the other end absolutely wants to hear from you.

  • Ramp up your messaging with a welcome series. A welcome series will tell you what to expect from your subscribers in the future, since , according to a study by Return Path3, “People who read all three messages [in a welcome series] read 69% of the brands’ email going forward."

  • Look beyond opens and clicks. Nonprofits should focus more on how individuals react, testing engagement with subject lines and content, and looking at how various segments perform.

  • Focus on bounces. Explore why bounces are occurring, and what you can do to remedy them. If they happen more than two or three times, remove them.

  • Pay attention to inactives. Inactive email addresses are individuals who have not opened or clicked an email in some time. Individuals who drop off in interaction, or don’t interact at all, should be messaged differently, focusing on getting them to re-engage with a win back series.

  • Check your HTML. Some email providers look at how “clean” your HTML is and that things are coded properly. With enough issues in your coding, you could wind up having problems getting your email to the inbox.

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