Case Study: Revamp of Amnesty’s Ebulletin

Project Description

The ebulletin is one of Amnesty International Ireland’s primary digital communications tools.

What was the problem?

Our fortnightly ebulletin went out to around 12,000 subscribers, but open and click through rates had plummeted. At one point, an email to 14,000 people obtained a single click through. The email tended to be lengthy, in a newsletter format with short paragraphs providing a taste of a news story, followed by a link to a webpage for more information.

What was the solution?

The format of the email was radically altered. It was reduced in length to 250-300 words. Only a single campaign or fundraising ask in each email. It was scheduled fortnightly to ensure people weren’t getting too many emails and the language was made much punchier.


Over a period of six months we moved the open and click through rates to average in the high-teens and on some particularly high-profile issues, we were breaking 30% click through rates.

What platforms did you use?

At the time we used an email provider called Groundspring. We have since moved to MailChimp.

Time and resources involved

The actual changes took less than a week to map out, but coordinating and scheduling the emails then became a regular – although not particularly demanding – piece of work.

Would you do it again?


Would you do anything differently next time?

One of the capabilities we hoped to exploit with Mail Chimp was the ability to identify individual subscribers who were the most active responders. We planned to craft specific targeted emails to them in the hope that their email responses indicated a higher level of interest and we could convert them to donors.

Any other thoughts?

Although the focus of a lot of attention is on social media, and it is a valuable tool for digital advocacy and fundraising, email still presents an effective way to engage with supporters. Responding to an email call to action requires a lot more input from a user than a retweet or or a like and this creates opportunities for deeper engagements with users.


  1. jean

    This is really interesting Justin – I think many enewsletters are a hangover from print and can often lead to a situation where the charity is just pointlessly putting in information to fill space, without any thought to what is actually engaging for users.

  2. Michelle

    Hi Justin. Thanks for the case study. It’s useful for me and has given me some ideas about our December MailChimp eNewsletter. I’m going to target some key ‘click-through’ people and ask them for a Christmas donation. I’ll let you know how we get on. Really like this site and the resources. Thanks.


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