Case Study

SPCA International

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Founded in 2006, SPCA International is a nonprofit organization with the main goal of advancing the safety and well-being of animals, allowing all to live a life free of cruelty and suffering.


SPCAI needed to engage email subscribers in the effort to rescue 13 dogs and cats from the Middle East for deployed US service members. Their aim was to raise the funds that were needed to rescue all 13 animals and reunite them with their service members in the US after their deployments.

With a small email marketing team of only three people and a subscriber list of more than 350,000 animal lovers, SPCAI relies on email to raise over $1.3 million annually for their mission of improving the safety and well-being of animals worldwide. It is a critical income stream for SPCAI, as well as the animals and rescue teams that count on them.

In May, SPCAI switched email marketing systems and let go of Return Path’s solutions and services in an effort to control costs. This included dropping Return Path Certification, the industry’s most powerful and unique whitelist, which provides benefits at major mailbox providers and filtering companies to ensure that email reaches its intended target. Stephanie Scott, Director of Marketing & Communications at SPCAI stated, “We spent 16 painful months without Return Path Certification. We slowly saw our IP address reputation deteriorate and our open rates drop. At one point, we saw an open rate as low as three percent!”.

SPCAI knew these issues weren’t due to their subject lines or brand health. Their team has a history of meeting and beating their online revenue expectations, but during this time without Return Path Certification results were significantly suppressed and the team was struggling to meet revenue goals.

Stephanie continues, “We found ourselves asking ‘why?’ month after month. When we analyzed our results over time, we could see the marked decrease in revenue began as soon as we dropped our Certification. At that point, we moved quickly to implement Return Path best practices and move through the Certification process again.”


In August of the following year, SPCAI was Certified again. With the reassurance of Certification, SPCAI no longer needs to overanalyze the data as they struggled to explain poor results. Instead, they were free to get more creative and innovative in their messaging. Return Path’s service allows the small (but mighty!) team to focus on content, storytelling, and relationship building with subscribers rather than the nuts and bolts of IP scores and sender reputation snags.

“As soon as we were Certified again it was like a balloon lifting our results; everything got easier, open rates increased and stabilized and we have had four of our best email revenue months in the history of the organization. To us, it is a night and day difference.”

Stephanie Scott
SPCA International


Being Certified again improved SPCAI’s open rate by 48 percent and click rates by a staggering 94 percent. On top of this change, they also saw a 98 percent increase in revenue year over year, making the re-investment in Certification well worth the cost.

By successfully reaching the inboxes of their subscribers, SPCAI increased their revenue and was ultimately able to raise the funds they needed and more. Today, all these animals are living happy lives in the US with the military service members who befriended them while on deployment in the Middle East. It is truly a happy ending—13 happy endings, to be exact!