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What We Learned From Email Patterns On Giving Tuesday

Good news and bad news can be drawn from email performance on Giving Tuesday. I asked our email team for their “top trends” on Giving Tuesday -- to help you prepare for what you might find this end-of-year fundraising period and beyond.

Blacklist Providers Are Cracking Down. Even More.

  • Low-priority blacklist providers have gotten more aggressive about nonprofit spam trap hits. This gives cause for concern. In the ever-evolving world of email deliverability, there are “high-priority” blacklists and “low-priority” blacklists.  A listing by a high-priority blacklist will immediately impact your ability to place emails in inboxes.  A low-priority blacklisting is an early warning sign of list problems.  Take the low-priority listings seriously – ignoring them and not updating list hygiene habits can very likely lead to hitting traps owned by the high priority blacklists.
  • We’re seeing even low-priority blacklist providers get more strict in their responses to our de-listing requests in this end of year period. We routinely request de-listings from certain low-priority but high-visibility blacklists.  In the past they would de-list you with a stern finger-wagging.  Now, their responses are increasingly pointed: “Any message sent to a spam trap is spam. The message that caused this listing is spam.”  (These responses are polite compared to those from high-priority blacklists where our clients are required to take measured and provable actions before the de-list request is honored.)
  • SPAM traps have an increasingly serious impact on your ability to place emails in inboxes.  Follow the best practices for avoiding spam traps that are spelled out in many places, not just by Blackbaud. And don’t send to SPAM traps.

     John Alan is our Team Lead for Email Operations Engineering. He fights blacklistings relentlessly on your behalf. He doesn’t like spam traps.

Avoid Email Rush Hours & Spam Complaints
A few scheduling and targeting reminders as you prepare your end of year email sends:
  • Don’t send at the top of the hour. Everybody schedules a message to go out at 8 a.m. While the system has the capacity to handle the messages, the experience is like being in line when the doors open on Black Friday at Walmart. You're in a big line with a lot of people jostling to get through the doors for that big screen TV. 
  • Schedule your message for 7:45 or 8:15 instead of 8:00. The email will process more quickly and it eliminates congestion. It’ll also help to separate your message from those of all the other bulk email senders across the world also sending at peak times. Think of your own inbox on Giving Tuesday this year. You were more likely to look at the ones that came in on their own, than ones that came in a group of 20.
  • We continue to see higher soft bounces based on the spam complaint rate calculation for specific email providers like Gmail, Hotmail, and others. Mailboxes are really tightening up and listening to their own users when they mark an email as spam.
    • Most mailboxes follow the industry standard of 1 accepted spam complaint rate out of every 1000 messages from an email campaign. 
    • You must use engagement as a key factor in list segmentation to avoid spam reports.
    • By sending more targeted messages to people who want to receive them, more of your messages will get through.
     Samantha McGuin, Principal Product Manager, is responsible for Blackbaud email systems infrastructure.

Common Characteristics of Successful Giving Tuesday Campaigns
Giving Tuesday numbers told a story – and pointed to some solid, positive trends:
  • Online giving increased.
  • Average online gift size increased.
  • More gifts were made on mobile devices than ever before.
Digging beneath the headlines, we saw some stats that could help validate or inform campaign direction: 
  • Organizations that grew their fundraising year-over-year brought in more gifts from first-time donors than those that raised the same or less than in 2017. Roughly 67% of gifts to organizations that raised more in 2018 were from first-time donors, while the average organization received 41% of gifts from new donors. Successful Giving Tuesday campaigns cast a wide net, coordinating email messages with social media and other acquisition channels to convince people who had never made a donation, to give on that day. On peak giving days like Giving Tuesday, plan to attract new donors to give first time gifts - as well as relying on existing donors. 
  • Peak giving days are not the most likely time for sustainer campaigns. On GivingTuesday, 98% of gifts were one-time gifts. Focus the effort to convert one-time donors to sustainers as a part of a stewardship and upgrade campaign to grow engagement and lifetime value of the new donors you bring in during important giving events.
     I’m Kathryn Hall, Senior Product Marketing Manager and author of the Blackbaud Luminate Online Benchmark Report and the Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study.
Posted by Kathryn Hall on Dec 21, 2018 10:12 AM America/New_York

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Good info, thanks!
  • Posted Fri 21 Dec 2018 06:24 PM EST
I like the points mentioned here. I have been following the points under Avoid Email Rush Hours for other reasons, this adds more weight to that decision.
  • Posted Tue 23 Apr 2019 03:18 PM EDT