Email marketing for nonprofits benchmarks and takeaways for 2019

With low click-through and click-to-open rates, how can charities improve their use of email marketing?

David Howell | 31st Oct 19
mobile phone communicated with via email marketing

According to the latest benchmarking survey from Campaign Monitor, email marketing continues to be an effective marketing method for non-profits and charities.

The 2019 survey reveals the average non-profit opening rate is 20.39%. However, with simple changes to email format and content, opening and click-through rates can be improved.

Tips to improve email opening rates:

  • Try out new copy tactics in your subject lines.
  • Test subject, line length, tone, and content.
  • Optimise for previews with preheader text.

Average click-through rates were 2.66% which is around the industry average. Click-through rates can be a good indicator of where email campaigns are weakest and where improvements can be made.

Tips to improve click-through rates:

  • Create stronger segments, so you always send the most relevant content.
  • Maintain your brand voice throughout your messaging.
  • Improve your calls-to-action through clear copy and better design.

The click-to-open rates are often used to measure the overall success or failure of an email campaign. This year’s survey discovered average click-to-open rates is 12.99%

> See also: 9 ways your charity can spam-proof its email marketing

Tips to improve click-to-open rates:

  • Make sure your email renders well across devices (i.e. test thoroughly before sending).
  • Collect the right data to segment and personalise your content.
  • Optimise your email design and copy to inspire your specific audience.

Other benchmark results non-profits and charities should pay attention to include: The unsubscribe rate which this year was 0.17% Email bounce rates the benchmark found was 1.09% on average, and spam rates remained at zero, which is encouraging for all charities and non-profits.

Lastly, the benchmark survey looked closely at the best days to send email to ensure they have high engagement rates:

  • Highest email open rates: Sunday
  • Highest click-through rates: Tuesday and Saturday
  • Highest click-to-open rates: Wednesday
  • Lowest bounce rates: Monday
  • Lowest unsubscribe rates: Monday

Personalisation and segmentation continue to be critical components of successful email marketing campaigns. Sending emails to support events, surveys and the publication of annual reports, are also effective to keep communications open with subscribers.