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The NSPCC makes its first foray into email automation, significantly boosting open and engagement rates and recapturing an average of £38 per abandoned donation.

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The NSPCC is the only UK children’s charity with statutory powers which means it can take action to safeguard children at risk of abuse. However, in order to focus on its marketing goals and reduce the time it was taking to follow up with potential donors or welcome new supporters to the cause, it needed to start automating some of its communications. Using technology and strategies regularly employed by retailers, the charity achieved a 21% higher click-to-open rate compared to the previous year within one of its annual fundraising campaigns, and recaptured an average of £38 per abandoned donation.

Objectives & Aims

UK children’s charity the NSPCC was looking to automate as much of its email marketing as possible, to reduce resource and allow more time for strategy development. Triggered emails and personalisation were essential components of the project to ensure emails were delivered in a timely fashion, containing well-targeted and relevant content.

Specifically, the NSPCC was looking to:

  • Improve efficiency and reduce necessary resource.
  • Increase conversions and donor lifetime value.
  • Increase engagement with email.

As part of the project, the NSPCC was keen to set up transactional emails and abandoned donation campaigns.

Implementation, Execution & Tactics

As a first step, the NSPCC completely automated the sending of its weekly newsletter to childcare professionals, populated with content already published on its blog.

An automated participation journey was also set up for various fundraising events across the calendar year, which would keep participants up-to-date with timely information and support them in their fundraising efforts.

Additionally, automated transactional emails were set up to be triggered via the Adestra API, instead of through the NSPCC’s web platform, to enable the charity to track performance and re-send communications when required. The emails were designed to include confirmation of donations received and notifications if there was a problem e.g. a failed credit card. Emails were also personalised using the donor’s name, the donation type, the amount donated and direct debit details.

Furthermore, an automated abandoned donation campaign was triggered, allowing the NSPCC to update emails easily, analyse results and see active people online in the donation process.


Email automation has saved the NSPCC’s internal communications team a significant amount of time and boosted engagement across its entire email programme. Additionally, the average recaptured donation value resulting from newly introduced abandoned donation emails is £38.

A particular success has been the participation journey. For its nationwide fundraising event, the Big Board Game Day, an automated programme achieved four times as many email opens and a 21% higher click-to-open rate compared to the previous year, when emails were sent manually on an ad-hoc basis.

The project has proved so successful that moving forward, the NSPCC hopes to develop its automation further to include the welcome journey for new supporters. It is also planning to introduce responsive templates, lock-down elements and quicker campaign creation.