Nonprofit Online Marketing Benchmarks and Best Practices
• An increase in gift count drove fundraising gains. Of organizations that grew fundraising in 2010, 88 percent saw an increase in the number of gifts.
• Median donation size increased from $83.44 in 2009 to $91.94 in 2010.
• Online legislative advocate counts grew 20 percent.
• Advocacy continues to influence online donations. In 2010, 6.42 percent of advocates on file were also donors, compared to 5.97 percent in 2009.
“We saw a real growth in advocacy. People who are advocates are much more likely to be donors,” McCarthy says.
• E-mail files continued to grow strongly. The median total e-mail file grew 22 percent to 48,700 constituents.
“People still engage with e-mail. For years people would say, ‘Direct mail is dead. Nobody reads direct mail. They just read the P.S.’ But people continue to give to direct mail. E-mail that’s relevant and engaging works for people,” McCarthy says.
• Web traffic growth continued for most, but at a slower rate. Fifty-five percent of organizations grew their website traffic from 2009 to 2010. Web traffic growth in 2010 was 2 percent, the second consecutive year this growth rate has been in the single digits.
• Website registration rates and open rates continue to decline. The rate at which organizations converted website visitors to their e-mail files in 2010 was 2 percent, a decrease from 2.2 percent in 2009. Open rates for fundraising appeals were down from 18.5 percent in 2009 to 17.6 percent in 2010, and newsletter open rates declined from 20.4 percent in 2009 to 19.2 percent in 2010.
So even as online giving grows, open rates and registration are slowing.
“I’ve been working with nonprofits for over 25 years,” McCarthy says. “We’ve seen that whenever a new channel becomes successful, what happens is not-for-profits tend to populate the calendar with lots of mail or lots of telemarketing. In this case, we continue to see more e-mail being pushed, and I think a lot of it is undifferentiated, isn’t as relevant as it could be, and to that point even further, maybe not as segmented as it could be. So I think people just aren’t as attuned to it as they used to be.