Blog FPO

Are your emails getting read?

If you’re like me, or most people in fact, your inbox is flooded with emails every day. And, really, how many of those emails do you open?

That’s a constant battle for associations, which use email to promote events, educational offerings, resources and other opportunities. 

According to a new report by SendGrid, unique open rates have gone up, but unique click rates have gone down. The aggregate open rate increased to 18 percent this year and the click-to-open rate leveled off at 11 percent.

What does this mean?

Recipients are becoming more discerning about which emails to open. But at the same time, senders may be catching on. The report found an average of seven emails per recipient, indicating companies and organizations are sending fewer emails due to concerns about spamming mailboxes.

Here are some stats for nonprofits:

  • Average percentage of male and female recipients – 43 percent/57 percent
  • Average percentage of email that is opened on mobile and non-mobile devices –  50.2 percent/49.8 percent
  • Aggregate and median open rate – 13 percent/38 percent
  • Aggregate and median click rate - 0.8 percent/0.8 percent
  • Aggregate click-to-open rate – 5.7 percent
  • Aggregate and median monthly send rate – 5.1/2.0
  • Aggregate and median delivery rate – 99.3 percent/99.9 percent
  • Aggregate and median spam rate –  0.011 percent/0.0 percent

“The high delivery rates but low click-to-open rates indicate that these messages are getting to the inbox and getting opened, but not engaged with past that,” says Aaron Beach, data scientist at SendGrid. “You can imagine receiving a non-profit message that you would open, but not be super inclined to click on a link to donate all the time.”

So, what should nonprofits do to improve their email campaigns?

For starters, emails should be optimized for mobile delivery. More than half of emails are opened on a mobile device, SendGrid says, so it’s important emails are mobile friendly.

Think about frequency. Experts say organizations that send a lot of emails will see a decrease in their open rates. So, emails should be targeted to the right audiences.

At the same time, organizations should pay attention to bounce backs. Doing so can help senders determine what tweaks to make to their campaigns.

Above all else, it’s crucial to review metrics, SendGrid says. 

“Setting benchmarks for your email program and creating goals for the performance of your email campaigns is great, but it can only be done correctly if you’re tracking each of these engagement metrics while you’re testing new changes,” the report says.

What strategies does your organization use to measure ROI and to effectively engage with members and stakeholders? Please email me at

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