The Value of an Email Address

It’s what nightmares are made of:  You’ve crafted the perfect email to an alum only to have it bounce back into your inbox minutes later with a “Failed Delivery” error message. Worse yet, the email goes through—but you’re met with radio silence on the other end.

Why was the email ignored? There could be many reasons why it went unanswered or unopened. Maybe the prospect just isn’t interested. But before you jump to such a conclusion, consider the following:  maybe you’re not using the prospect’s updated, preferred email in the first place, so s/he doesn’t even know that you’ve sent a message.

If your database is cluttered with outdated or invalid email addresses, you’re losing out on valuable opportunities to connect with constituents, garner their trust and support, and raise more money. There’s more value to an email address than meets the eye.

Prospects With Verified Emails Are More Likely to Give

Recent advancement research from RuffaloCODY shows that potential donors with verified email addresses pledge at a rate of 46%; those without accurate emails pledge at only 28%. That means that if a prospect has provided his or her email, s/he is 18% more likely to give to your institution. Securing more gifts can be as simple as having a verified email in your database.

Prospects With Verified Emails Give More

Not only are prospects who have provided their emails more likely to give but they’re also more likely to be more generous with their gifts. The average gift size from a donor with a verified email is about $98.04 (compared to just $74.91 for a donor without an email). Donors with a verified email give $23.13 more. That brings the ROI of an email address to about $20.

Let’s apply that ROI to Wesleyan University’s recent experience with email uplift. Before Wesleyan launched the EverTrue app, its database was missing hundreds of verified emails. But once Wesleyan’s alumni were using the app, it collected an email every time an alum logged in. As a result, Wesleyan gained 400 new email addresses that it didn’t have before, and those new email addresses added thousands of dollars of value to the school’s advancement efforts:

400 email addresses x $20/email = $8,000 of value

Verified Emails Lead to Better Donor Identification

Verifying emails in your database also helps you identify donors more efficiently. When alumni voluntarily provide their emails, it’s a sign of their affinity for your school. It says that they’re interested in communicating with you, continuing a relationship with their alma mater, and staying in the loop about the latest happenings.

Not surprisingly, these are the prospects you should be focusing on when campaign time rolls around. Every new email address boosts your ability to distinguish worthwhile leads from dead ends and to convert non-donors into donors.

Verified Emails Help You Build Better Relationships

This one might seem obvious, but email communication is an excellent way to stay connected with alumni and build lasting relationships. According to ExactTarget, 91% of US online consumers use email daily, and email tops texting and social media as their preferred channel of personal communication. Whether you’re launching an “ask” campaign, sending out a newsletter, or trying to arrange a face-to-face meeting, email should be your go-to (don’t forget to personalize those emails!). A simple email can do wonders for developing and maintaining a meaningful relationship with an alum—don’t let bad data get in the way.

Looking to get more verified email addresses for your constituents? Our EverTrue app both helps you collect those accurate emails and helps your alums more deeply connect with each other. Click here to learn more.


Jenna Buckle is a rising senior at Tufts University and EverTrue’s marketing intern this summer. She’s a Sociology major with a double minor in Communications and Entrepreneurial Leadership. Her passion for startups, creativity, and all things marketing have spoiled the EverCrew already, and we can’t wait to spend the whole summer with her. Connect with Jenna on Twitter at @jennbucks.

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