Giving Your Email Communications A Boost

June 7, 2018

As the digital landscape becomes increasingly crowded, nonprofit organizations strive to keep email communications with their donors relevant and engaging, but they may be overlooking an even more important step – making sure the emails are being delivered in the first place.

According to an article in the June 2018 edition of Nonprofit Business Advisor, many organizations report ongoing concerns with poor deliverability rates due to spam filter settings and hard bounces from incorrect or outdated email addresses. The article cites research from the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) which showed that 87% of nonprofits rate email deliverability as extremely important to their organization, and a third of those surveyed indicated an ongoing problem with proper delivery of their emails.

To help organizations maximize their deliverability rates, NTEN suggests the following:

  • Plant the “email deliverability” seed. Marketing and communications staff must often start the conversation with leadership, explaining why keeping email lists accurate and current is worth the time and effort.
  • Know the systems. It is essential that someone on staff has some expertise on the email platform, customer relationship management software, and other systems in use.
  • Delegate the responsibility to monitor the email lists. Whether in-house staff, an outsourced vendor, or an automated service, it is important to weed out bad addresses so that only those who want the emails are getting them. This ensures lower bounce rates, fewer spam reports, and more accurate data on your email campaigns.
  • Document your strategy. Nonprofits should put together a checklist of critical tasks related to email processes, and make sure that each task is delegated.
  • Segment your lists for targeted emails. The larger your list of supporters, the more necessary it becomes to tailor emails to what each group wants to see and hear from your organization.
  • Monitor the data. Be sure to track open and click rates, particularly for emails with a clear call to action such as registering for an event or making a donation.
  • Optimize the content. In addition to clear and compelling text, NTEN says including visual content such as images and video increases click-through rates, time spent reading the email, and the likelihood of sharing and forwarding the message.


This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.


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