What is the best time & day to send fundraising emails to maximize open rates?

Posted on July 30, 2010

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It’s one of the most asked questions in all of nonprofit email fundraising and marketing: what is the best time & day to send emails to maximize open rates?

We asked our own email service provider ExactTarget, and here’s what they had to say:

There is no universal best day/time to send. However, senders may discover-by analyzing their own performance data-certain windows that perform better than others. The only way to know what the best date and time for you to send an email is to test your email campaigns.

At ExactTarget we test send time and day for our own marketing emails. We know what works for our campaigns. However, just because a certain time works well for us…doesn’t mean it will work well for you.

If we did publish what worked best for us today – it would no longer be true tomorrow. For example MarketingSherpapublished the results of a study stating that the best day of the week to send is Monday. However, since that report was published, Monday has consistently ranked 5th or 6th in the battle of the “best day to send” in terms of open rates (this data is taken from our 2004 Marketing Response Rate Study). We also did a study in 2005 that said Friday was the best day to send email to get a high open rate (this data is taken from our 2005 Email Response Rate Study).

In 2004 ExactTarget release a reportabout this. I know you are thinking “why would I read something so old?!” The reason we haven’t updated (nor will we update that research) is that blanket industry statements about best day/time to send only drive the spammers into those windows.

As a result, it’s better to test different days and times of sending. Then compare the sales, and go with the winner. If you want to know more about this topic check out our Email Response Rate Study Whitepaper.

Don’t know where to start?

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