Donors More Likely to Open P2P Emails, Study Finds

Blackbaud StudyPotential donors who receive e-mail messages from their peers are significantly more likely to open those messages and take action than those who receive solicitations from nonprofits, according to a new study by the technology company Blackbaud.

Open rates for e-mails sent by participants in peer-to-peer cycling, endurance and walk events exceeded 40 percent — nearly tripling the 15.34 percent average open rate for nonprofit donation solicitations, the study found.

The new data, which is based on an analysis of the results of peer-to-peer programs managed by 186 nonprofits that use Blackbaud’s online fundraising software, confirms what many in the P2P fundraising world have hypothesized — that donors are much more responsive to appeals from friends and family than they are from organizations.

But the study also highlights the big challenge that many P2P programs face — getting participants in their events to take the time to send emails.

Blackbaud’s analysis, for example, found that only 9 percent of participants in walks send e-mail solicitations. That number climbs to 22 percent for participants in endurance campaigns and 30.1 percent for those who participate in cycling events.

Other key findings from the report:

  • Reports of the demise of the walk appear to have been exaggerated. The study found that online donation revenues for walks increased by 17 percent in 2015. Endurance events also showed robust gains of 21 percent.
  • While overall revenues were down 4 percent for cycling events in 2015, participants in cycling events are still the most active fundraisers when compared to other types of P2P programs. For example, more than one half of participants in cycling events collected 2 or more donations in 2015. By comparison, only about 13.4 percent of walk participants collected 2 or more donations.
  • Participants in Canadian P2P events tend to be more active fundraisers than those who participate in US P2P events. Roughly 15 percent of Canadian walk participants, for example, sent e-mail solicitations — compared with just 8.9 percent of U.S. participants.

Click here to download the full report.