Nonprofits Stack Up Well In Email

Nonprofits enjoyed higher-than-average email open rates last year compared with other industries but were in line with other email metrics, according to a survey of millions of campaigns in 2018.

Campaign Monitor analyzed more than 30 billion emails sent across 4.2 million campaigns in 2018, breaking out specific industry averages overall as well as by day of the week, as part of its “Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2019: By Industry& Day.”

Nonprofit was one of only two industries among the 22 in the study that had open rates of better than 20 percent. The other was agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting (20.13 percent). The lowest open rate (14.53 percent) was found among consumer packaged goods.

The best day for open rates among nonprofits was Sunday, nearly 23 percent (22.9 percent), followed by Monday at 22.5 percent. Every other day of the week eclipsed 20 percent, the only industry in the study to do so:

  • Tuesday, 20.4 percent
  • Saturday, 20.4 percent
  • Friday, 20.2 percent
  • Thursday, 20.1 percent
  • Wednesday, 20 percent

Click-through rates (CTR) for nonprofits averaged 2.66 percent, which was below the overall average of 2.69 percent and ranked 13th among the 22 industries. The highest CTR for nonprofits during the week occurred on Tuesday and Saturday, slightly below the overall averages for those days (in parentheses):

  • Tuesday, 2.70 percent (2.73)
  • Saturday, 2.70 percent (2.71)
  • Wednesday, 2.69 percent (2.71)
  • Sunday, 2.67 percent (2.59)
  • Friday, 2.66 percent (2.7)
  • Thursday, 2.62 percent (2.7)
  • Monday, 2.35 percent (2.66)

Unsubscribe rates among all 22 industries were bunched between 0.16 percent and 0.18 percent overall but among the industries varied by day of the week, with extremes of 0.08 percent and 0.37 percent. Nonprofits were very much aligned with overall averages at 0.17 percent overall and varying only slightly throughout the week:

  • Monday, 0.15 percent (0.16 percent)
  • Tuesday, 0.17 percent (0.17 percent)
  • Wednesday, 0.17 percent (0.18 percent)
  • Thursday, 0.17 percent (0.17 percent)
  • Friday, 0.18 percent (0.17 percent)
  • Saturday, 0.17 percent (0.17 percent)
  • Sunday, 0.16 percent (0.16 percent)

For click-to-open rates, nonprofits (12.99 percent) were a tick below the overall average (14.1 percent) , regardless of day of the week.

  • Monday, 10.17 percent
  • Tuesday, 13.24 percent
  • Wednesday, 13.45 percent
  • Thursday, 13.04 percent
  • Friday, 13.00 percent
  • Saturday, 13.32 percent
  • Sunday, 11.36 percent

All industries averaged better than 14 percent for each day but Monday (13.48 percent).

Average nonprofit bounce rates (1.09 percent) were slightly higher than the overall average (1.06 percent), dropping below 1 percent on two days, just as the overall averages did: 

  • Monday, 0.79 percent
  • Tuesday, 1.12 percent
  • Wednesday, 1.16 percent
  • Thursday, 1.09 percent
  • Friday, 1.09 percent
  • Saturday, 1.09 percent
  • Sunday, 0.86 percent

Nashville, Tenn.-based Campaign Monitor is part of the CM Group family of brands, which also includes Emma, Delivra, LiveClicker, SailThru and Vuture.