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Featured Case Study

The American Cancer Society Boosts Internal Email Open Rates by 44% with PoliteMail


The American Cancer Society (ACS) turned to PoliteMail for help tracking and measuring their internal communications program. With PoliteMail, the ACS team was able to increase open rates by 44% within nine months of implementation.

About the
American Cancer Society

Established in 1913, the American Cancer Society is a community-based health organization that has worked for more than a century to prevent cancer, save lives, and diminish suffering. Based in Atlanta, the organization is one of the oldest and largest charity organizations in the United States with 6,500 employees in more than 900 offices and remote work locations.

The Challenge

Jane Smith, managing editor of Society News, noted that the team didn’t know if employees were reading the communications. Although the metrics were available, the information was buried in the complicated software. The team was able to determine, however, that open rates hovered around 52%.

The interface and processes were also cumbersome and exasperating. Prior to each send, Smith explained, she would manually upload a staff list into Outlook. These extra steps led to lost productivity and time that the team could have invested in crafting more compelling messages.

“We have many different departments and we need every last one to receive and understand the communications we send. Now, we know they are.” Anne Hartwick

Managing Editor, American Cancer Society

The Solution

ACS wanted to measure their efforts quickly, easily, and without headaches. Anne Hartwick, ACS communications manager for news channels, had heard
that PoliteMail was “the be-all, end-all” for internal email communications, so approached the company for help. She had five requirements:

  • A way to track and measure internal communications
  • An intuitive, easy-to-use interface
  • Email designs employees want to read
  • Straightforward analytics
  • Clear, easy to create reports

With PoliteMail, the team had access to real-time insights into how employees engage with distributed content. From open, read, and click-through rates, to attention and effectiveness rates, PoliteMail metrics provided a highly-detailed look into Outlook communications.

ACS also leveraged PoliteMail to design custom templates to save time and reduce frustration — for the team managing the process and those viewing the emails.


The winning template is highly-functional, visually appealing, and designed to enhance user engagement. Previously, users had to click multiple times to access content, but the custom PoliteMail design only requires one click.

“With our old system, recipients had to click four different places to get to the story. It was time-consuming and annoying.
Maybe that’s good for external web traffic, but internally, it was a waste of time.”
– Jane Smith

PoliteMail’s seamless integration with Outlook also means that employees who receive distributed messages don’t have to worry about learning a new platform or a new layout. They still receive their messages in Outlook like they always have, but now, they’re polished.

“We have many different departments and we need every last one to receive and understand the communications we send. Now, we know they are.” Anne Hartwick

Managing Editor, American Cancer Society


With PoliteMail, ACS has a dedicated, intuitive analytics platform and clear metrics that help shape their strategy. Now, the team crafts messaging to provide more of what recipients want to read and the numbers speak volumes:

  • Open Rate – Unique individuals viewed the message 75%
  • Read Rate – Read at least 30% of the message content 40%
  • Engagement – Read at least 50% of the content or clicked 34%


The team discovered that not everyone clicks through to articles from emails. As a result, communications follow a new format: pertinent information at the beginning

and links for those who need to do a deep-dive on the topic. Reporting has likewise evolved. With just a few clicks of the mouse, the team can produce a limitless number of reports that make determining what is achievable much clearer. In turn, it’s easier to demonstrate ROI to the executive team. PoliteMail has become such a cornerstone, it’s the go-to platform when the ACS sends critical messages. “All of our leadership emails are sent through PoliteMail, because we want to know if people are reading these high priority communications,” said Smith.

“Using PoliteMail made us pay more attention to engagement and reads rather than just opens and clickthroughs. It’s fascinating to really see what our audience is reading and what they aren’t.”
– Jane Smith

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 2 million volunteers saving lives in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 23% decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50% drop in smoking rates. We’re finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings and more.
PoliteMail Software empowers enterprise internal communications and HR teams with the tools and metrics they need to manage, measure, and improve employee communications. With a suite of design and analytics tools, PoliteMail provides email-driven SAAS solutions to securely address employee engagement and align communications efforts to business outcomes.