Nonprofits Struggle With Email Customization
Most nonprofit organizations have mastered the basics of email marketing, yet there's room for improvement, at least according to a new Return Path study.
Return Path's Professional Services Group registered for email from 50 nonprofit marketers, including 26 advocacy organizations and 24 arts organizations. The group then studied the message streams from these organizations between March 3 and April 3.
Sixty-two percent of the nonprofit organizations in the study sent new subscribers welcome email messages. This compares to 40 percent of commercial marketers from an earlier Return Path study. What's more, 90 percent of nonprofits followed best practices and sent their welcome messages within 24 hours.
Moving beyond the basics, however, is a challenge for charitable organizations, the study noted. While 81 percent of advocacy organizations requested geographic data, only 12 percent actually used it to customize or segment their email marketing campaigns. Fifty-eight percent of arts organizations requested geographic data, and none of them used that data to customize their email marketing.
Nonprofit organizations also are missing out on the power of email marketing to educate new subscribers about their organizations' goals and missions, the study revealed. Fifty-eight percent of all organizations represented in the study sent newsletters as their first regular emails. Another 25 percent sent requests to join their organizations or donate. Seventeen percent sent some other types of email messages. Arts organizations, for example, sent retail information about their gift shops.
What's more, only 20 percent of nonprofit organizations collected demographic data, and 28 percent of nonprofits didn't send any email at all during the 30-day study period due to deliverability problems and/or a failure to respond.