Digital Benchmarks for Nonprofits
At this point, most nonprofits have some type of digital marketing plan. Some of those plans leverage all digital channels, while others might have an emphasis in one or two areas only. But there’s no business in the U.S. (or, perhaps, the world) that has escaped the need to represent itself in the digital space.
To have a successful digital effort, nonprofits must understand that it requires constant monitoring and focus unlike any other direct marketing channel used by their peers. That constant focus is on audience, strategy, creative, budgeting, etc. For some digital channels (social media and search immediately come to mind), “constant” is defined as multiple times per day. This is where many nonprofits struggle because resources (i.e., staff and time) are such precious commodities.
Well, M+R has published another set of benchmarks, so at least you are not spending a lot time trying to track down numbers to compare to your own metrics.
Now in its tenth year, the 2016 M+R Benchmarks Study analyzes data about email messaging, email list size, fundraising, online advocacy, Web traffic, Facebook, Twitter and mobile programs from 105 nonprofits for the year 2015.
The findings of this study shine a light on what today’s nonprofits are doing when it comes to digital and how the needle has moved in certain areas in comparison to findings from previous years.
Here are some key stats from the 2016 M+R Benchmarks Study:
- Overall nonprofit online revenue increased 19 percent in 2015.
- Monthly giving accounted for 17 percent of all online revenue.
- Monthly online revenue was up 24 percent (versus 18 percent growth for one-time giving) in 2015.
- Email revenue increased by 25 percent in 2015.
- Nonprofits sent an average of 49 email messages per subscriber (including 19 fundraising appeals, 12 advocacy messages and 9 newsletters) in 2015.
- Email list size for participating nonprofits grew by 14 percent (down from 16 percent the previous two years) in 2015.
- Nonprofits invested $0.04 in digital advertising for every $1 of online revenue.
- For every 1,000 fundraising messages delivered, the average organization raised $44.
- Website visitors per month increased by 8 percent for nonprofits in 2015.
- On average, 1.1 percent of visitors to a nonprofit website made a donation.
- The average conversion rate for a nonprofit’s main donation page was 15 percent.
- Nonprofits posted to Facebook an average of 1.3 times per day in 2015.
- Nonprofits posted on Twitter an average of 3.8 times per day in 2015.
Additionally, the Benchmarks Study analyzed the top 25 organizations that saw the most online revenue growth in 2015. Here are some commonalities:
- More emails: 34 percent of online revenue for the top 25 organizations tracks back to emails, versus the 27 percent average for all the other nonprofits that participated in the study.
- More asks: The top 25 organizations sent out an average of 27 fundraising appeals per subscriber last year, much higher than the average of 16 for the other nonprofits.
- More advertising: According to the study, the top organizations spent six times more on online advertising last year than the average ($0.12 for every dollar raised online versus the $0.02 average for all the other organizations).
Where are you relative to your growth and other metrics? Make sure you check the whole report and do your own comparisons.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.