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Nonprofit Email Open Rates Rise Nearly 5% In 2019: Report

16 Jan 2020 5:00 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

Nonprofits’ email open rates rose nearly 5% in 2019, a stark contrast to a slight decrease in worldwide email open rates, according to a new study.

With an average open rate of 25.20%, nonprofits trailed only government organisations (30.50%) in a benchmark report released by email marketing software provider Campaign Monitor.

The average email open rate across the 20 measured industries for 2019 was 17.80% — a 0.12% dip from the same report in 2018, in which nonprofits led the field with a 20.39% open rate.

Campaign Monitor found that, for nonprofits, Wednesday (26.20%) was the highest-performing day; in the 2018 report, Sunday (22.9%) had been the No. 1 day for nonprofit emails.

While nonprofits exceeded the average for open rates, the average click-through rate for nonprofits settled at 2.60%, matching the global average for 2019. Nonprofit open rates lagged slightly from 2018, when they were measured at 2.66%.

Certain other industries also saw stark improvements: government open rates improved by a stunning 10.71% (from 19.79% to 30.5%), while education open rates improved by 4.5% (from 18.9% to 23.4%).

Mondays and Wednesdays rated the best for nonprofit click-through rates, at 2.70%; Sunday, Thursday and Friday trailed at 2.50%. Overall, Tuesdays were the best day for email open rates across industries, at 18.30%.

Nonprofit emails also slightly exceeded the global averages in bounce rate (1.00% to 0.7%), and unsubscribe rate (0.2% to 0.1%).

Campaign Monitor said in a press release that the report was developed after analyzing billions of emails sent globally using its platform.

“Marketing has evolved to become a data-driven discipline, and marketers need to actively measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and programs,” said Lane Harbin, director of marketing at Campaign Monitor, which boasts more than 250,000 customers worldwide. “Savvy marketers can use this information to quickly double down on areas where they are excelling and determine where they need to make improvements in 2020.”

For nonprofits, the latest findings reinforce an industry-wide trend toward email marketing. Another 2019 report from CampaignMonitor and QGiv found that a plurality of donors – 42% – say they prefer to hear from a nonprofit via email.

Chris Strub Contributor 

CMO Network I highlight successful social media strategies from savvy nonprofits.


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