Which Email Marketing Metrics Should Your Nonprofit Measure

Unless you know how far you’ve gone… You’ll never know where you want to be.

Email marketing works, but in order to keep it that way, you need to keep working too.

Different email marketing metrics point at different needs and areas of attention. While some of these metrics help us nurture our contact list, others tell us what our audience really wants, and some can even tell us what we are doing wrong and what can be done better.

Each metric represents how far we have come and what needs to change to finally reach where we want to be.

Know where you are going

Have you ever stopped and thought about what is the goal of your email marketing?

Are you working towards growing your list of volunteers or are you trying to connect with people who really support your cause? Is your goal more donations, or are engagement and awareness your main priorities?

Before you start measuring different email marketing metrics, answering these questions and knowing what your goals are is a good place to start.

Email marketing metrics you should use

That said, every email marketing metric has its own potential to help you do better and get more results from your email marketing efforts. Here’s what you should be measuring:

Delivery rate:

The delivery rate in email marketing refers to the number of sent emails that were successfully delivered to the recipients. Generally, a delivery rate of 95% and above is considered good and something you need to aim for too. This delivery rate is directly affected by your contact list.

Why measure this? To know how many people are actually receiving your emails and also dig deeper into who isn’t and why is that happening.

Open rate:

As the name suggests, this metric simply tells us the percentage of people who went ahead and opened your email. Whether or not they took the desired action further from there is measured by another metric. Anything between 20-40% is a good open rate. You can take one step further and A/B test your subject line or domain name to see if it impacts the open rate.

Why measure this? You want to know if you are making an immediate impression and if people are recognizing you in their inbox.


CTR or Click-through-rate is a metric that shows how many people clicked on the links in your email. This could be the call-to-action or a link to your website. Anything between 10-20% CTR is a decent score.

Why measure this? You need to know if your email is compelling your subscribers to go ahead and click on the links. This will also help you understand aspects like mobile responsiveness, effective call-to-actions, and design/template needs.

Unsubscribe rate:

This is the bitter-sweet metric, as I like to call it. Although it may break your heart to see people unsubscribing from your mailing list, in the long run, it helps build a healthy, clean and effective contact list.

Why measure this? Firstly, to know how many people are opting out and more importantly, it will help you understand why they are opting out. Was it a new kind of email you sent? Was it irrelevant to the recipient?

Bounce rate (hard and soft):

Remember delivery rate? Well, the emails that do not get delivered bounce off. This means that either you have wrong or incomplete addresses or IDs that lead to a hard bounce, or the receiver did not have enough space so your email suffered a soft bounce.

Why measure this? You want to immediately remove the contacts that lead to a hard bounce so your delivery rate increases. As for the soft bounces, you may want to notice if its recurring with certain contacts and eventually clean up your contact list.

Conversion rate:

Unlike the unsubscribe rate, this metric is sure to make you smile. Conversion rate refers to the number of people who received, opened, clicked through and went on to complete the desired action. Be it filling out a form, making a donation, or signing up for your newsletter, this metric will let you know how many recipients were completely engaged.

Why measure this? To know who showed interest and what are the different aspects that may have led to this conversion.

List growth rate:

There are multiple ways of increasing your contacts list, and keeping a tab on how well, how fast, and how effectively your list is growing will give you a direct measurement of how you are engaging with your audience.

Why measure this? To know how many people are getting pulled towards your cause.

Share/forward rate:

This is one of my favorite metrics to measure. It shows how many people not just got engaged with your email, but also felt compelled enough to share it with others. When people share or forward your email within their personal contacts, it shows you’ve hit the bullseye.

Why measure this? Well, firstly to give yourself a pat on the back for doing something awesome and also to understand what content is really resonating with your audience.

Measuring email metrics allows you to better yourself

From better engagement to a better quality of emails, these metrics lead to a full-stack email marketing plan.

Did the subject line work or not, what is the best time to send out emails, what kind of emails get the most response, and what does your audience respond to positively? These and many more questions can be answered with data and facts that email marketing metrics present.

Learnings from these metrics can further help you strengthen your email marketing campaigns and also allow you to be more relevant and impactful.

What’s next?

Constant Contact understands the power of email marketing and offers multiple tools that can help you get detailed reports about your marketing efforts. You can create, design and send powerful emails and know exactly what makes them work for you.

Dive deep into your email marketing metrics and efforts, and dig out all the reasons, clues, and facts that point you in the right direction of better email marketing. Email marketing metrics are your nonprofit’s biggest tools for increasing supporter engagement.