Solicitation Emails We Loved in FY24

Jaclyn Pingel DaySenior ConsultantJune 6, 2024

As our higher education partners wrap up their fiscal year-end efforts, we at RNL wanted to take a moment and reflect on the work we’ve accomplished with all of our partners, including healthcare and traditional nonprofits. Since July 1 of last year, 3.5 million emails sent by RNL have been opened, generating more than 118,000 clicks.

Our busiest days were the ones you’d expect—Giving Tuesday 2023 saw 471,000 emails delivered and December 28 saw 413,000 emails delivered. We are no strangers to understanding best practices and guiding our clients to the best results possible.

While every email sent by RNL includes key strategies to secure the best possible results, we did have a few emails stand out as the cream of the crop for their performance. Let’s take a look at few of our top performers and see what stands out.

Best Open Rate and Click Rates for a Solicitation Email

Less Than 1,000 Recipients: Austin College Crimson & Gold Challenge

Solicitation Emails in FY24 Blog: email for Austin College Fundraising Email
Solicitation Emails in FY24 Blog: email for Austin College Crimson and Gold Challenge

Emails from Austin College’s Crimson & Gold Challenge: Past Donors Save the Date (left) and Baseball Parents Kickoff Email (right)

Austin College does an incredible job of engaging alumni outside of their solicitation emails. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats, and we can certainly see how their solicitation emails benefit from their multi-faceted outreach! There’s a lot to love in these emails. They both have playful header images (and the Baseball Parents Kickoff Email had a GIF in the header to animate the visual). The copy also reflected the focused audience and detailed segmentation of the email, so the easy-to-find call to action is reflected in excellent click rates. Both emails had over 75% open rates and the baseball email had a whopping 22% click rate. These results were not driven by small numbers: all emails reviewed for this category had to have more than 100 recipients included.

More than 1,000 recipients: Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of South Dakota

Solicitation Emails in FY24 Blog: email for Johns Hopkins Medicine Sibley Memorial Hospital fundraising email
Solicitation Emails in FY24 Blog: email for University of South Dakota Foundation email

Emails from Johns Hopkins Medicine for National Doctor’s Day (left) and the University of South Dakota Foundation (right)

RNL’s healthcare partners continue to shine thanks to their keen fundraising efforts. Johns Hopkins Medicine had a nuanced segmentation plan for each niche attached to their organization which was well executed leading up to Doctor’s Day, one of the biggest national fundraising pushes for our healthcare partners. The messaging speaks to the patient experience, fully connecting the “pay it forward” message that resonates so well with potential donors. Their email saw a 65% open rate with an incredible 7% click rate.

The email for the University of South Dakota Foundation was one of the most interesting emails I had seen. Like our other gold stars, segmentation was key as this was focused on alumni from the School of Medicine. What makes it stand out how streamlined the message is, focusing only on the most important aspects of a good solicitation email—who are you supporting, why you make a difference, a thank you for your efforts, and large call-to-action buttons. It highlights how we can keep things simple and continue to be effective. South Dakota had a 50% open rate with a 6% click rate with their email.

Honorable Mentions: United Cerebral Palsy and The University of Texas at Arlington

Solicitation Emails in FY24 Blog: email for the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation
Solicitation Emails in FY24 Blog: email for the University of Texas at Arlington

Two emails from United Cerebral Palsy (left) and The University of Texas at Arlington (right)

While everyone loves a gold medal, there are plenty of others on the podium that deserve special recognition for their beautiful designs. United Cerebral Palsy’s fall email had the most wonderful story example of a child helped by the generosity of donors. The University of Texas at Arlington used a beautiful calendar year-end design to capture the nostalgia of December with falling snowflakes branded in UT Arlington colors. Open rates for both emails were above average and their click rates were also high ranking (both above 5%).

Let’s talk about taking your fundraising emails to the next level

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About the Author

Jaclyn Pingel Day helps fuel success for our donor engagement partner clients, using data-driven strategy to maximize results and boost ROI. This strategy crosses numerous outreach efforts, including omnichannel marketing outreach, crowdfunding, giving days, and...

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