Nonprofits Set Email Marketing Benchmarks
Nonprofit organizations are achieving average click-through rates of 11.1 percent and are using email to build donor relationships, according to a recent study from online solutions-provider Kintera. "Email Benchmarks in the Nonprofit Sector" also reveals that nonprofits frequently achieve click-through rates of 10 percent and higher for large email campaigns, while smaller email campaigns typically achieve higher rates. Ten percent of smaller email campaigns achieve click-through rates of 20 percent or higher, because the information is more relevant.
Using data from more than 37,000 emailings comprising more than 142 million recipient emails, the study indicates that nonprofit organizations are taking advantage of email campaigns to build affinity among supporters. According to Ephraim Feig, Kintera's CTO and author of the report, a perfect example is how many nonprofit groups use bulk email to send thank-you notes or reminders about a particular event. Advocacy groups use email extensively to elicit a specific action, such as faxing or email messaging a political leader in support or opposition of an issue.
The study also found that emails containing multiple links, even if the links all point to a single URL, typically increase click-through rates. However, in certain cases, according to Feig, email campaigns with only a few links per email achieve more total clicks than similar campaigns using many links per email over extended periods of time. This demonstrates the value of building higher affinity with more targeted content. "Nonprofits are using email in advanced ways that allow them to provide relevant content aimed at specific supporter segments," he says. "This personalized and targeted approach allows an organization to build long-term relationships with a supporter. Although for most organizations, use of advanced email technology is critically important for raising funds to support their causes, the vast majority of email campaigns are sent with a primary intent other than immediate solicitation."
Nonprofits also can take advantage of relevant and similar information, and build their campaigns around them, according to Feig. They often send emails as part of a sequenced, multimessage campaigns all regarding the same issue. It is common to send out an email, get responses, then modify the message slightly and send it out again to either the same set of receivers or to partition that first set to subsets and send slightly different messages. This process can be repeated two or more times, Feig says. "People motivated by emotional issues do not seem to be offended by such barrages of calls to action," Feig says. "On the contrary, they are often inspired by it. [Nonprofits are] taking advantage of well targeted and sequenced email campaigns."
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