The Ultimate Guide To Nonprofit Email Marketing Benchmarks

Improve your Email Marketing Strategy for your Nonprofit.

GlobalOwls individuals

Campaign Monitor recently released a guide of email marketing benchmarks across a wide variety of industries. To get these benchmarks, more than 30 billion 2018 emails (from over twenty industries) were analyzed.

One of the industries of focus was nonprofit.

First this: Grow faster than ever before!

Seamlessly blend creativity and technology. See how you can start with AI Marketing and reach your goals faster than ever before. Check out the Tips, Strategies, AI Tools, Masterclass, Courses, and Community. Unleash the true potential of your brand with the help of AI.

Start with AI Marketing Today

In this article

Read on to learn everything you need to know about nonprofit email marketing benchmarks for 2019 and how you can use different metrics to improve your own email campaigns.

Nonprofit email marketing benchmarks

  • Open rate: The open rate for nonprofit organizations 20.39%. This is the highest among all industries included in the study.
  • Unsubscribe rate: The unsubscribe rate for nonprofit organizations is very low. The average for 2018 sits at only 0.17%.
  • Click-to-open rate: The email click-to-open for nonprofit organizations is relatively high. In 2018, the average was 12.99%.
  • Bounce rate: According to data, the average bounce rate for nonprofit emails is only 1.09%.
  • Spam rate: It seems that nonprofit organizations don’t have to worry about their emails getting marked as spam. The spam rate in 2018 for nonprofits is 0%.

Analyzing email marketing metrics to improve performance

1. Email open rate

This represents the percentage of subscribers who opened your email campaign, out of the total number of subscribers you sent the email to.

Here are the email elements you should optimize to increase your open rates.

  • Subject line

Leverage words that are proven to increase email opens. These include words like important, breaking, voluntary, and content.

In addition to using the right words, you should also test the length of your email subject lines. Experiment with both short and long subject lines to see which is better for your organization.

Related: How to Write Better Headlines [Guide]

  • Preheader text

Craft preheader text to be between 40 and 50 characters long so that they can be previewed in full, even on mobile devices.

  • Sender name and email address

Use an email that contains the name of an actual person within your organization (e.g. This makes your email more personal and helps build trust.

  • Send time and day

Test sending your emails on different days to see which day has the highest open rate. According to Campaign Monitor’s data, the day with the highest email open rate for nonprofits—which is 22.90%—is Sunday. You might want to take that into consideration.

  • Content

Segment your list so that you can easily send relevant and highly personalized content.

Create better Email Subject Lines with the help of AI

Let AI help you create better email subject lines and improve your open rates. Simply enter the topic of your email in the AI Tool and get ideas in seconds. Here’s what it looks like if we wanted to create an email about ‘The importance of email benchmarks’

Nonprofit Email Marketing Benchmarks - AI Email Subject Line Generator Example

AI Email Subject Line Generator Examples:

  •  Adding Email Success to Your Business
  • Achieving Optimal Email Performance With Benchmarks
  • Essential Email Benchmarks to Reach Your Goals
  • Increase Email Success – Understand Benchmarks
  • Unlock Your Email’s True Potential with Benchmarks

I can now re-run the AI Tool and generated a couple more examples. Then, I can select my favorite, add my unique human touch and perfect the subject line before sending out the email campaign.

AI helps boost creativity and helps you come up with a catchy subject line that gets more email opens.

2. Click-to-open rate

Also referred to as click to open, this is the percentage of email recipients who click on a link or image within your email. It’s a metric that’s often measured to determine whether or not an email campaign was successful.

To increase your click to open, optimize the design and copy of your email so that it displays properly across all devices. In this regard, a one-column layout is ideal. You also need to make sure that the images you include in your emails render quickly on both desktop and mobile devices.

When including CTAs, make sure they’re visible and easy to click, even on mobile. According to the Newoldstamp report, 29% of marketers incorporate CTA into their email signature. So if you use a plain text email template, add a professional HTML email sign-off and incorporate clickable banners with CTA.

Lastly, automate certain emails. For example, you can automate your welcome emails so that new subscribers receive a welcome email immediately after they sign up. This improves awareness of your nonprofit.

3. Email bounce rate

Here are steps you can take to make sure you have a healthy bounce rate in 2019.

  • Use a familiar “From” name so your subscribers easily recognize the email
  • Don’t send from email addresses like They tend to trigger spam filters.
  • Send emails solely to people who have opted in (signed up to be a part of your list)

4. Email unsubscribe rate

This signifies the number of subscribers who choose to no longer get emails from you. Unsubscribe rate is a crucial metric to measure because it gives you an idea of how many of your subscribers are either disinterested or unhappy with your email campaigns.

Avoid high unsubscribe rates by:

  • Segmenting your list in order to send relevant emails to each of your segments.
  • Automating emails for long-term engagement
  • Send re-engagement emails to members of your list who have gone cold

Although you can definitely manage your unsubscribe rates, remember that unsubscribes are normal. In fact, organizations lose around 22.5% of their email list every year.

5. Email bounce rate

This shows the percentage of emails that were not delivered to their designated recipients, out of the total number of emails sent in that campaign.

If you want to minimize your email bounce rates, keep these practices in mind.

  • Do not purchase email lists under any circumstances.
  • Remove invalid email addresses from your list.
  • Confirm that people actually want to subscribe by sending them a confirmation message with a link that they must click in order to complete the opt-in process.

How AI Can help create better Email Campaigns

AI Marketing Copy Generators are powerful for helping Email Marketers to come up with better copy for your Email Subject Line, Preview Text, and Email Body.

At the start of the article, you’ve already seen how the AI Subject Line Generator helps. Let’s also have a look at the AI-Powered Email Body Copy Generator. For this example, we’ll pretend we want to create an email about: ‘Why nonprofits should pay attention to email marketing benchmarks’:

Nonprofit Email Marketing Benchmarks - AI Email Body Generator Example

Email body copy example the AI Generator gave us:

As a nonprofit organization, it’s important to measure the success of your email marketing campaigns. With so much riding on the effectiveness of your efforts, you need to keep an eye on industry benchmarks that can help you gauge how effective your tactics are.

Here are some key email marketing benchmarks nonprofits should pay attention to:

Open rate. The open rate reflects how many subscribers opened one of your emails in relation to the number sent out – and this can be used as an indicator for how interesting or relevant they found it.

Click-through rate (CTR). Your CTR indicates whether people are actually engaging with what they read in an email by clicking through to learn more.

Delivery Rate/Inbox Placement Rate. This measures the percentage of emails that were delivered rather than marked as spam or bounced back due to a bad address list or other issues related to deliverability.

Bounce Rate. A bounce occurs when an email can’t reach its intended recipient due to incorrect contact information or a full inbox – and understanding this metric is important for maintaining good hygiene over time Optimize these metrics today and you’ll have greater clarity around which messages resonate with supporters!

Email Marketing Benchmarks: As a nonprofit organization, proper benchmarking is essential for measuring success when it comes to sending outreach via email marketing campaigns? So what key performance indicators should organizations pay attention too? Open rates, click-through rates (CTRs), delivery rates/inbox placement rates and bounce rates provide useful data points when evaluating overall campaign performance – allowing companies insights into past successes & failures allowing them better focus their efforts going forward! Understanding these metrics provides more visibility around which messages truly have impactful engagement from recipients – helping nonprofits optimize their strategies for maximum benefit & outreach goals achievement

Pretty cool right? I can choose to re-run the AI Tool or add my unique human touch and perfect the email before sending it out.

Wrap up

Now that you have an idea of how nonprofit email performed in 2018, you can compare this data with your own data and set the best baseline for your upcoming email campaigns.

If you want to see how nonprofits stacked up against other industries, be sure to check out the Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2019 in its entirety.


What Are Nonprofit Email Marketing Benchmarks?

Nonprofit email marketing benchmarks are standard metrics used to measure the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns in the nonprofit sector. These include open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates.

Why Are Email Marketing Benchmarks Important for Nonprofits?

These benchmarks are important as they help nonprofits understand how well their email campaigns perform compared to industry averages, allowing them to identify areas for improvement and optimize their strategies.

What Is a Good Open Rate for Nonprofit Email Campaigns?

A good open rate for nonprofit email campaigns typically ranges between 15% to 25%, but this can vary depending on the organization’s size, sector, and audience.

What Is Considered a Healthy Click-Through Rate (CTR) in Nonprofit Emails?

A healthy click-through rate for nonprofit emails is generally around 2.5% to 5%. Higher rates indicate that the content is engaging and relevant to the audience.

How Do Conversion Rates Impact Nonprofit Email Marketing?

Conversion rates, indicating the percentage of recipients taking the desired action (like donating or signing up for an event), are crucial for assessing the effectiveness of email campaigns in achieving specific organizational goals.

What Factors Influence Nonprofit Email Marketing Benchmarks?

Factors that influence these benchmarks include the email subject line, content relevance, list segmentation, frequency of emails, and the overall email strategy alignment with the nonprofit’s goals.

How Often Should Nonprofits Send Marketing Emails?

The optimal frequency varies, but generally, nonprofits should aim to send emails at least once a month. Too many emails can lead to higher unsubscribe rates, while too few may lead to reduced engagement.

What Role Does Audience Segmentation Play in Email Marketing Success?

Audience segmentation plays a crucial role by ensuring that the right messages reach the right people, based on their interests, past interactions, donation history, or demographic details, thereby improving engagement and effectiveness.

How Can Nonprofits Improve Their Email Open Rates?

Nonprofits can improve open rates by crafting compelling subject lines, personalizing emails, optimizing send times, keeping email lists updated, and segmenting audiences for more targeted messaging.

What Are the Best Practices for Designing Nonprofit Marketing Emails?

Best practices include a clear and responsive design, concise and compelling content, strong calls-to-action, personalization, and ensuring that emails are optimized for mobile devices.

How Should Nonprofits Measure the Success of Their Email Marketing Campaigns?

Success can be measured by tracking key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, the growth of email lists, and the overall engagement levels of the campaigns.

What Is the Average Unsubscribe Rate for Nonprofit Email Campaigns?

The average unsubscribe rate for nonprofit email campaigns typically falls below 1%. A rate higher than this may indicate issues with content relevance or frequency.

How Can Nonprofits Reduce Unsubscribe Rates in Their Email Marketing?

To reduce unsubscribe rates, nonprofits should ensure content is relevant and valuable, avoid sending too many emails, and segment their email lists to target the right audiences with appropriate messages.

What Impact Does Email List Segmentation Have on Open and Click-Through Rates?

Segmenting email lists allows nonprofits to tailor their content to specific groups, which can significantly improve open and click-through rates by making the content more relevant to each segment.

How Do Automated Email Campaigns Benefit Nonprofit Organizations?

Automated email campaigns can save time and resources, ensure consistent communication, and provide timely follow-ups or acknowledgments, which can enhance donor engagement and retention.

What Are Effective Ways to Grow a Nonprofit’s Email List?

Effective ways to grow an email list include offering valuable content or incentives for signing up, leveraging social media and website sign-up forms, and hosting events or webinars that require registration.

Can A/B Testing Improve Email Campaign Performance for Nonprofits?

Yes, A/B testing different elements of emails (like subject lines, content, and calls-to-action) can provide insights into what resonates best with the audience, leading to improved campaign performance.

How Does Personalization Affect Nonprofit Email Marketing?

Personalization, such as using the recipient’s name or referencing their past interactions, can significantly increase engagement by making the email feel more tailored and relevant to the individual.

What Role Does Mobile Optimization Play in Nonprofit Email Marketing?

With increasing email access via mobile devices, mobile optimization is crucial. This ensures emails are easily readable and interactable on smaller screens, improving user experience and engagement.

How Important Is Timing in Sending Nonprofit Marketing Emails?

Timing is important as it can greatly impact open and click-through rates. Sending emails when the target audience is most likely to check their emails increases the chances of engagement.

What Types of Content Are Most Effective in Nonprofit Email Marketing?

Effective content types include impact stories, updates on projects, invitations to events, volunteer opportunities, donor acknowledgments, and educational resources related to the nonprofit’s mission.

How Can Nonprofits Use Email Marketing for Donor Retention?

Email marketing can be used for donor retention by regularly updating donors about how their contributions are making an impact, recognizing their support, and keeping them engaged with the nonprofit’s ongoing activities.

What Are the Challenges of Email Marketing for Nonprofits?

Challenges include creating engaging content, managing and segmenting email lists, ensuring deliverability, and standing out in recipients’ often crowded inboxes.

How Do GDPR and Other Privacy Laws Affect Nonprofit Email Marketing?

GDPR and other privacy laws require nonprofits to obtain explicit consent for sending marketing emails, provide clear opt-out options, and ensure the privacy and security of the recipients’ data.

Can Nonprofit Email Marketing Aid in Volunteer Recruitment?

Yes, email marketing can be an effective tool for volunteer recruitment by highlighting volunteer stories, detailing upcoming opportunities, and making it easy for recipients to express their interest or sign up.

What Is the Importance of the ‘From’ Line in Nonprofit Emails?

The ‘From’ line is crucial as it can influence the recipient’s decision to open the email. Using a recognizable name, either of the organization or a known individual from the organization, can improve open rates.

How Can Nonprofits Integrate Their Email Marketing with Other Channels?

Nonprofits can integrate email marketing with social media, direct mail, and their website by using consistent messaging across all platforms and directing recipients to these other channels for more information or engagement opportunities.

What Metrics Should Nonprofits Focus on Beyond Open and Click-Through Rates?

Beyond open and click-through rates, nonprofits should also focus on metrics like conversion rates, email list growth rate, bounce rate, and overall ROI of the email marketing campaigns.

How Often Should Nonprofits Clean Their Email Lists?

Regular cleaning of email lists is important to remove inactive subscribers, correct errors, and segment the list effectively. This typically should be done every 6-12 months.

What Are Some Common Email Marketing Mistakes Nonprofits Should Avoid?

Common mistakes include neglecting mobile optimization, sending one-size-fits-all content, failing to personalize emails, ignoring the importance of a compelling subject line, and not tracking or analyzing campaign performance.

Improve your Marketing with the Power of AI

See how you can start with AI Marketing and reach your goals faster than ever before. Check out the Tips, Strategies, AI Tools, Masterclass, Courses, and Community. Unleash the true potential of your brand with the help of AI.