NPO Email Open, Click-Through Rates Dropping

December 14, 2015       Andy Segedin      

Organizations’ utilization of email in advocacy, fundraising and other efforts continued during the 2015 fiscal year, with organizations upping the number of emails they send annually by 2.92 percent. A conversion rate of just .04 percent, an 11.11 percent decline compared to 2014 illustrates that organizations have had to send more emails to keep pace with past success.

The data is from Blackbaud’s 2015 Luminate Online Report, based on aggregated data of 685 organizations collected from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. Other key findings in the report include:

  • Hospital staff sent out the largest spike in emails, up 14.74 percent as compared to 2014. Emails sent from food banks increased by 11.99 percent. Hospital foundation emails dropped 16.36 percent. The next largest decline was seen among associations and membership organizations, 7.69 percent;
  • Donation-related emails had the greatest increase in send-outs, 17.62 percent. Advocacy followed with an increase of 17.24 percent as compared to 2014;
  • Donation-related emails also experienced the largest drop in open rate, down 2.25 percent to 15.34 percent. Newsletters had a 2015 open rate of 16.39 percent, down 0.46 percent. Open rates among advocacy emails remained flat at 16.58 percent; and,
  • Advocacy emails had the largest decrease in click-through, down 12.45 percent to 2 percent. The overall percentage still dwarfs that of all other types of emails sent. Newsletters own a click-through rate of 1.54 percent, down 7.92 percent from last year. Emails regarding donations received the lowest rate of clicks, 0.61 percent, down 8.41 percent from 2014.

Advocacy emails’ relative popularity might be a key to unlocking donors. “Advocacy-focused emails outperformed all other email types in (open and click-through rates), indicated a considerably higher level of engagement among advocates,” according to the report’s authors. “With only 6.5 percent of advocates donating, it appears to be an under-exploited conversion opportunity to drive giving and overall engagement when they’re all mixed together as part of a complete communication strategy.”