A Fourth Of Nonprofit Emails Ended Up As Spam In 2017: Study

Almost a quarter of fund-raising emails landed in spam folders last year, lowering the average take by $29,613.59, according to the 2018 Nonprofit Email Deliverability Study, a report by EveryAction.

Each spam percentage point resulted in a loss of $1,225.73 per 100,000 email addresses, the study says.

EveryAction studied deliverability data for 55 national nonprofit organizations and matched them against industry benchmarks.

It found that the 24.16% spam rate was nearly 6% higher than that of 2016, and 17% more than the 2015 percentage.

However, spam placement fell on major fund-raising days, hitting a below-average rate of 20.34% on Giving Tuesday and 21.36% on EOY. The highest spam rate (32.64%) occurred in April, and the lowest (16.35%) occurred in October.

Nonprofits sent an average of 21 fund-raising emails per month, one more than in 2016 but three less than 2015.

The major causes of being flagged as spam were:

  • Making unsubscribes difficult
  • Sending irrelevant email
  • Using an out-of-date email list.



To illustrate the point, EveryAction offered these metrics for a perfect deliverability spam rate: 

  • 2.4 million emails arrive in inboxes
  • 360,000 are opened
  • 10,080 pages are clicked
  • 1612.8 pages are completed
  • $122,572.80 is raised 

In contrast, a 1% spam rate would reduce all the metrics as follows:

  • 2.37 million emails arrive in inboxes
  • 356,400 emails are opened
  • 9,979 pages are clicked
  • 1596.672 pages are complete
  • $121,347. Is raised

An average deliverability rate would produce the following results:

  • 1.82 million emails arrive in inboxes
  • 273,024 emails are opened
  • 7,654 pages are clicked
  • 1223.14752 pages are completed
  • $92,959.12 is raised

EveryAction concludes that, “despite expanding email programs and list sizes, diminished engagement and soaring spam rate are significantly weighing down nonprofit fundraising potential.”


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