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The 2010 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study offers valuable insights and key industry benchmarks for online messaging, fundraising and advocacy, based on a full year’s worth of results from 31 leading nonprofit organizations. Check out this year’s findings and see how your program measure up!
Open rates are dropping like flies. When we examined data from 15 national non-profit groups for the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study earlier this year we found a steady, striking decline in email open rates across all the groups over the past two years. Average open rates for the groups fell by 6% (see the table below for more detail).
This decline may sound like terrible news for any organization that communicates with its members, constituents, activists, or donors online but please don’t commit hara-kiri yet! Happily, we did not find a corresponding decline in page completion or response rates. At first glance, this discrepancy seems truly puzzling. Shouldn’t fewer people be responding to these emails if fewer people are opening them in the first place?
Some believe the recent drop in open rates is a result of “list fatigue” – what happens when formerly enthusiastic supporters become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of email in their inboxes and no longer rush to open and respond to email calls to action, requests for money, or event invitations. Although the fear of “list fatigue” may haunt online organizers, fundraisers, and marketers, it cannot explain away the discrepancy between open rates and response rates. If people are too tired, overwhelmed or unmotivated to open an email message, they’re certainly not going to take action, donate money, or reply to it. Clearly something else is to blame. (more…)