Category Archives: Email Case Studies

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Atlanta Community Food Bank – 5 x email revenue

Atlanta Community Food Bank improves fall email revenue by 22% YoY; achieves 5x revenue growth with a replacement three-send series

The challengeACFB giving tuesday 2015

Reassess seasonal and per-send email plans for Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) to identify strategic, creative, and messaging improvements with an aim to increase campaign revenue YoY.

ACFB’s fall email plans traditionally include a Thanksgiving series, a Gift Catalog series, and Year-End fundraising emails. In reviewing fall 2014 email performance in preparation for fall 2015, Russ Reid partnered with ACFB to improve ACFB’s seasonal email revenue and specifically in early December.

Russ Reid solution

Strategic improvements to ACFB’s fall 2015 email plan included (with individual assessment per email send):

  • Improved creative and copy to highlight the offers with clarity
  • Emphasis placed on localization of stories and photos where appropriate
  • Call-to-action labels updated
  • Emphasis on appeal “urgency” when influential

The most significant of strategic improvements to the fall 2015 email plan was a complete replacement of 2014’s three-send Gift Catalog series to a #GivingTuesday email campaign leveraging the three sends on key dates Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and #GivingTuesday. Based on 2014 Fall Gift Catalog email performance, this recommendation was twofold: 1) An aim for exponentially greater income from this three-send series deployed after Thanksgiving, and 2) the advantage of #GivingTuesday fundraising via email as Russ Reid has experienced with other partners.

Russ Reid delivered:

  • Email strategy from start to execution for this new replacement series
  • #GivingTuesday consultation and encouragement for a matching gift
  • Email assets for ACFB deployment

Objectives for this three-send #GivingTuesday series included:

  • Improve email performance metrics
  • Improve email revenue from 2014’s three-send Gift Catalog series ($7,050)
  • An overall campaign goal of $30,000 (plus a $30,000 matching gift from Medlytix) to provide 120,000 meals for hungry Georgians


ACFB raised $137,676 in email revenue in fall 2015 – an increase of $24,918 from fall 2014.

The three-send (five-day) #GivingTuesday campaign raised $35,361 (revenue sourced from email only) – achieving extraordinary growth over 2014’s Gift Catalog email series:

  • Raised 5x the revenue of 2014’s Gift Catalog email series
  • Improved email open rate from 12.83% to 16.45%
  • Improved number of email actions taken from 72 to 227, improving the action rate from 0.05% to 0.18%
  • $126,933 in total #GivingTuesday campaign revenue

Fall 2015’s total email revenue alone provided 550,704 meals to feed hungry Georgians – nearly 100,000 more meals than raised from fall 2014 emails.

Russ Reid continues to evaluate ACFB’s seasonal and per-send email plans and have achieved even greater revenue improvements in spring 2016.

ACFB-email case study

For additional information on this campaign or how Russ Reid can help your nonprofit grow beyond, contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President).

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Los Angeles Regional Food Bank – Email testing strategy

Email strategy testing achieves revenue goals and debunks myths

The challenge

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (LARFB) was looking for a way to take their email program to the next level by increasing engagement and growing revenue. They challenged us to achieve these objectives while keeping their current email program running at full speed.

Russ Reid solution

Russ Reid provided a comprehensive email testing strategy focused on increasing interaction and income. The tests were informed by industry research and developed based on proven nonprofit best practices, as well as best practice ecommerce solutions. Our methodology included two key elements:

  1. Strategic dissemination – In order to effectively meet our goals, we planned to test every email strategy twice. With this in mind, we developed a schedule that factored in time to analyze incoming results. This allowed us to determine the need for a retest, or discontinue testing the tactic altogether.
  2. Maximization – We tested multiple strategies at the same time and learned faster in the process. Whether it was a combination of content and subject line, or design and in‐ home date, each test enriched analysis quickly and allowed for individual strategy assessments without overlap.


Overall, our approach worked, as we successfully helped increase open rate by 6% and per email revenue by 53%. Not only did we successfully realize LARFB’s engagement and revenue goals, but we also improved email designs, gained new formats, validated various strategies, and uncovered exciting opportunities for the future.

The following test examples illustrate these achievements in three distinct areas: inhome day, messaging and design. Each test lifted levels of engagement and revenue, while simultaneously debunking email marketing myths and unveiling valuable strategic insights along the way.

Email strategy tests

1. In‐home day: Email marketing experts tout the idea that Tuesday through Thursday is the optimum timeframe for email deployment. We decided to put this notion to the test, deploying the email featured below on both a weekday (Thursday) and weekend date (Saturday) to determine which in‐home timeframe would best meet LARFB’s engagement and revenue growth goals.

LARFB email test 1

The weekend inhome date outperformed the weekday inhome date in both clickthroughrate and overall revenue generated. In fact, the weekend email obtained more than double the number of donations compared to the weekday delivery.

We tested this strategy twice, and in both instances the weekend email beat out the weekday control. Consequently, we concluded that sending emails on the weekend is a viable deployment option, resulting in successful engagement and conversion performance.

2. Messaging: Can a stewardship email raise equal funds? We discovered the answer when we tested an e‐newsletter with a soft ask against a fundraising‐focused message during both the summer and fall seasons.

LARFB email test 2

During the month of July, both the e‐newsletter and fundraising emails resulted in a comparable number of donations. Also, the e‐newsletter had significantly higher open and click‐through‐rates than the control at 19.92% and 12.03% respectively.

When retesting both strategies in November, different revenue and engagement results proved true. The control received 3.5X more donations than the test. Additionally, the control had higher open and click‐through rates, with results landing at a 14.05% and 12.73% respectively.

Considering these results, we recommended LARFB employ need‐based messaging throughout the fall season, while interspersing e‐newsletters at other times of year, or adding an e‐newsletter as a mid‐month email. In addition to these insights, LARFB acquired a new, proven e‐newsletter design template for their future use.

3. Design: Everyone loves a good online video, but does that affection translate to action? We decided to test the power of video content against a more traditional copy‐centric email format to uncover the content’s true impact.

LARFB email test 3

This test confirmed that promoting and linking to a video in email provides a lift in revenue.

The video test resulted in 15X more donations compared to the control. The click‐through‐rate of the video test also greatly exceeded that of the control with 11.22% versus 9.01%. Overall, the video test generated 22% more total clicks and 40X more revenue than the control format.

Ultimately, LARFB obtained more than increased engagement and revenue. They obtained yet another brand new, validated email design template available for use whenever compelling content becomes available to feature.

To learn how Russ Reid can help your Food Bank grow beyond, please contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President).

View a downloadable PDF of this case study.