Email Deliverability

For the latest and most accurate information about email deliverability, please visit our email resource center.

Email Campaigns

Email Campaigns is the most commonly used and most powerful email tool in Luminate Online Marketing.

Email Campaigns: Email Express

The steps to create an email of this type differs mainly in the Email Express module which is a streamlined version of the Email Campaigns module, with fewer design and configuration options that allows less technical administrators to create and send email more easily.

Email Campaigns: Quick Email

Quick Email is for creating a quick message and sending without plans to compare subsequent sends, as there are no "campaign" groupings of these emails. You can still report on these messages, but they aren’t made to be associated with a specific campaign.

Email Campaigns: Coaching Email

Coaching email is configured when managing a TeamRaiser. Each TeamRaiser has its own section for Coaching Email. The unique feature of Coaching Email is that there are pre-created groups of TeamRaiser participants that can be targeted for the delivery, such as “Team Captains” or “Past participants.” These messages can be reported on, and can be accessed and sent by Event Managers. This module can also be configured to use the Email Express interface for easier administrator use.

Email Campaigns: Reporting

Email Campaigns have reporting when at the highest level when going to Email Campaigns under the Email menu, then selecting the Reports tab. This is where you can get cross campaign comparison reporting. If you want data for a specific campaign, first go to the Campaigns tab, then click on “Manage” next to the campaign you would like to report on. Once there, click the “Reports” tab to access campaign specific reports.

See Email Campaign reports here.

In addition there are message and campaign level reports that can be built in ReportWriter under the “Email” report type.

Report Writer Email Reports


Notifications are system generated email that mostly go to administrators. Things such as “Large Gift Notification” and “Datasync notice”. These emails are generated at the time of send and go out of the same port as autoresponders.


These are messages that are sent to constituents when triggered by constituent action. Most all of these messages are immediately sent after the action, for example “Thank you for your gift” or “Thank you for registering”, but there are some of these notifications that are scheduled. Scheduled examples include follow up emails on a Teamraiser, and sustaining gift thank you messages.

Constituent Originated Email

Constituent originated email consists of TellAFriend messages, eCards, Champion Center email in Personal Fundraising, and Participant Center Email in TeamRaiser. These messages have a different header structure than most email because the “From” name is the constituent, and the “From” email address is the NOTIF_FROM value in Site Settings. This is to ensure delivery, as many webmail providers will delay or block delivery when the outbound sender domain (your domain, doesn’t match the from address domain (the constituent’s domain, or whatever they may have). This way the email appears with the constituent’s name but has good deliverability. If the recipient decides to reply to the message there is a special field in every email called “Reply-to” which contains the constituent’s email address.

Engagement Analysis

Gmail is a leader in the dynamic analysis of inbound email. Based on the actions across the Gmail user base to a specific message, including opening, clicking and reporting as spam, Gmail will dynamically determine whether an in-flight email is worthy of the inbox or foldering. Foldering with Gmail can mean to move the message to the Subscription tab or to the spam folder. This means it is more important than ever to deliver your email to engaged constituents. This article explains how to segment your housefile to create groups of your most engaged constituents to ensure the peak level of effectiveness of your messages.

Explicit Opt-in

All Blackbaud email marketing software requires the use of an explicit opt in, meaning that the user has to have explicitly noted that they would like to receive mail from your organization. This means that when you’re performing a constituent upload or in any way adding a constituent to your housefile on their behalf, you are doing so under this requirement.

Adding a list of constituents who do not know your organization or that were acquired from another organization without the constituent’s knowledge, violates Luminate Online's Email Acceptable Use Policy. These contact will result in higher spam complaints that will negatively affect the deliverability of email for your organization. Studies have shown that purchased lists and spam complaints go hand in hand. Any benefit gained from adding these constituents to your housefile will be erased by the lower inbox rates you will experience. This directly impacts the reputation of your domain as a sender.


Gmail has moved their focus when analyzing email to the actions of recipients was more important than the content or reputation of the sender. This doesn’t mean that reputation and content aren’t important, they are. For content there are several rules around determining the “spamminess” of your messages. These rules are complicated - take a look at Bayesian analysis if you want to get into the nitty gritty details (you may need some calculus).
Want easier to use tools that help you create better messages? Use the SpamAssassin analysis built into Luminate Online. You can also use some great third party tools in conjunction with Luminate Online. lets you look at your email’s content and the DNS setup to verify you’re doing all you can to make it to the inbox. Just go to the “Send Review Email” step in the email creation flow, and add the special email provided by In just a couple of minutes you’ll have a full analysis.

Proper DNS Configuration

To start, you should be sure that you have Sender Verification (SPF) properly configured on your domain’s DNS. Don’t worry - if this isn’t set up properly you will see a big yellow error message when sending an email message through Luminate Online. This simply tells inbound email providers that the Luminate Online servers are trusted senders for emails listed as from your domain. This setup is explained in this help topic for Luminate Online.

Luminate Online automatically signs with a public shared key so that your emails will pass DKIM authentication. For further levels of DKIM authentication, you can work with Blackbaud Support to set up a private (unshared) key for your domain. This isn’t necessary but can allow the use of a stricter DMARC policy if your organization chooses to do so. Implement a DKIM signature specific to our organization's sender domain. More information about DMARC.

More Resources and Training

This is a fairly high level overview of what can be done for email - you can also leverage the analytical tools within Luminate Online and Luminate Beta to determine the usage patterns of your constituents and get very granular in when and how you reach out. 

For instructor-led training on email campaigns, groups, queries, and reporting, register for Blackbaud University’s, Luminate Online: Email Strategy and Optimization.