Mindshare Interactive Campaigns, an email consulting firm, did a three-year study of email sent to constituents by nonprofits to see if those messages actually get through to the intended recipients.
Interactive studied the email messages of 28 high-profile nonprofits and found that 24 percent of the messages did not reach their destinations. Those messages were blocked by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and/or SPAM filters of the recipients.
The gist of what the study found is that:
- Email frequency matters. The survey found a direct correlation between successful delivery and the frequency of emails. Daily or weekly emails had higher deliverability rates.
- Regular contact matters. Emails sent on a regular schedule also saw better delivery. Sporadic email, even if frequent, often resulted in lower delivery rates
- Message size does not matter. The size of email messages did not affect delivery rates. Big emails (meaning lots of text, graphics, and images) got through as well as short, plain emails.
Interactive suggests the following techniques to make sure that your email messages hit their target and deliver your messages:
- Provide your constituents with instructions on how they can add your organization to their contact list. Also explain how to do that for the largest email providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL and others.
- Send messages regularly, and send them often. A good way to do that is to create a regular vehicle such as a newsletter, an alert, or an update.
- Personalize the email. Use the recipient's name in the subject line if possible and in the introduction. Also, make sure the name of your organization is visible.
- Keep your email lists clean. Get rid of invalid email addresses. Clean lists average an 80 percent deliverability rate, much higher than out-of-date lists.
- Whitelist your email address. Organizations can work with Internet Service Providers and ask to be placed on their list of emailers who are known not to send spam.