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Surveys and Polls

Associations & Organizations

Associations & Organizations Email Marketing Statistics
This aggregate of statistical information is based on a thorough review of the most recent statistical studies published by leading industry sources and surveying organizations. These collected results were then correlated with the results of a series of questions posed to association and organization managers and directors.
Associations & Organizations that Engage in Email Marketing
Subsequent statistics are derived from responding associations and organizations directors and managers that are currently engaged in email marketing campaigns for both informational and fundraising purposes. This section constitutes the majority percentage of 93%, which is one of the highest engagement rates to be found in any industry, whether private sector, public sector, or non-profit. This statistic highlights the emphasis the vast majority of associations and organizations are placing on email marketing as a cornerstone of their outreach program, not only to inform their members and prospects but also to raise a healthy proportion of their needed funding. Only a scant 4% stated that they are not engaged in email marketing at all, although the statistics show that they may be presently involved in alternative online forms of outreach that are not technically email marketing. 3% state that they plan to engage in email campaigns in the future.
Associations & Organizations' Sending Frequency
As in most industries and sectors, the monthly frequency of email sends is by far the most popular, with a total of 63% of the associations and organizations engaged in a 12 send a year program. Interestingly, the greater than monthly frequency, which indicates weekly, bi-weekly or alternative short periods between sends, is relatively high at 27%. This high frequency statistic addresses the typical structure of association and organization communications that relies strongly on news related items and advocacy issues. Since these topics have a tendency to undergo new developments and ongoing change at a quickened pace, the online communications outreach programs to the membership and prospects needs to keep track with these swiftly changing situations.

The total number of associations and organizations that engage in email newsletter sends less frequent than monthly is only 10% (divided as 5% sending every two months, 4% sending quarterly, and 1% sending seasonally or annually). It is important to note that these statistics apply only to regularly scheduled email campaign missives and newsletters, and not personalized or individualized content sent to paid members or to reply to inquiries.

Associations & Organizations' Content Type
The bulk of most associations and organizations' outreach communications is comprised of informative and fundraising content, and the way in which these two different types of information are conveyed provides an insight into the nature of associations and organizations in this decade. Fundraising is of course of paramount importance to most non-profit organizations as the struggle to keep the books balanced at the tail end of a deep recessionary period can be difficult at best. However, some associations and organizations have sources of funding that do not entail fundraising to the public and/or the membership per se, therefore have the luxury of maintaining their communications free of pleas for cash and are able to concentrate on promoting their various advocacy programs.

Fully 28% of all email marketing communications sent by associations and organizations were termed to be informational only, with 23% being targeted for fundraising purposes. Just under half of all associations and organizations (49%) reported that their email marketing contained elements of both. Since each association and organization differs from the next, the specific definition of what fundraising itself entails is not crystal clear. Many associations and organizations offer memberships that are paid through some form of monthly or annual dues and fees, and the solicitation of these funds is not technically termed fundraising, thus a significant portion of that 28% of email marketing communications, which is stated to be informational only, might well have included offers and promotions for new and/or renewal membership dues.
How Associations & Organizations Obtain Email Subscribers
Given the status that email marketing communications is given by associations and organizations, it follows that the task of expanding the subscription list is a major undertaking that takes up considerable time, manpower, and resources. Associations and organizations that are more reliant on funding and critical mass need considerably larger lists, and the expansion ratio must be more pronounced than those that are paid member service oriented. With the understanding that these different types of associations and organizations are represented in this statistical summary, we find that their paid membership component makes up 41% of the total, with second place going to web derived subscribers at 27%, followed by promotional result subscribers at 21%, and public promotional events subscribers at 8%. Purchased and supplied leads (3%) takes on a different definition with associations and organizations than it might for more commercial entities, as the purchased aspect can refer to individual email addresses obtained via a paid (non-volunteer) form of third party canvassing.
Typical Associations & Organizations' Email Subscriber List Size
The list sizes maintained by associations and organizations also skews somewhat from the overall standard of industry sectors in that it represents numbers that are considerably larger than the average. These figures are further affected by the presence of a number of very large associations and organizations on the survey that have lists numbering in the several hundreds of thousands of valid and active email addresses. This factor is at least partly responsible for the considerable number of reporting entities (37%) stating that they had more than 5,000 individuals on their subscription lists. A slightly smaller 26% reported 3,000 to 5000 email addresses, 17% had 1,000 to 3,000, with 11% claiming 500 to 1,000, and only 9% being under 500 list entries.
Associations & Organizations' List Segments
Even though the number of associations and organizations reporting that they did segment their list to some degree is significantly greater than it would be in many other industries, it is still of concern that more than one quarter of all reporting directors and managers (26%) stated that they still adhered to the inefficient practice of sending a single set of content to all subscribers.