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For the first time, the annual M+R Benchmarks Study is open to UK charities! And benchmarking will be international—your digital performance compared to both UK and US organisations.
The study provides comprehensive and reliable benchmark metrics for a vast array of charity digital data—and it all comes down to the wonderful, kind, generous participants who take part.
The window to sign up as a UK Benchmarks participant is open NOW, and it closes on 11th December.
Not sure if participating in the 2021 Benchmarks Study is for you? We’ve put together a handy Q&A to help you decide:
Q: Should I participate in the M+R & Rally UK Benchmarks Study?
A: Yes. Sign up here.
Q: Oh wow. OK then, that was pretty straightforward. Anything else I should know?
A: Probably it would be good to find out what Benchmarks is.
Q: Yeah, what is the 2021 M+R & Rally UK Benchmarks Study?
A: The M+R Benchmarks Study is an annual look at nonprofit digital programmes. For 14 years M+R has collected data on fundraising, advocacy, marketing, digital ads, social media, SMS, and more from dozens of nonprofits. Then they have provided averages, analysis, and insights to help guide digital strategy. All the findings are made freely available.
For the first time, M+R is partnering with Rally to bring the study to UK charities. You will be able to see how your performance compares against other UK and US charities and nonprofits.
Q: What exactly do you benchmark, and what do I get?
A: The Study includes a wide breadth of digital fundraising and campaigning activity. You’ll be able to see how you compare against others in the following areas:
- Digital advertising & fundraising transactions
- Email marketing performance
- Email list size
- Mobile fundraising
- Social media
- Web traffic
Check out the 2020 US Report here.
You’ll get an advance copy of the study digitally. You’ll also receive an individualised analysis comparing the data you submitted for your organisation to others who are taking part next year. Participants often end up with a much deeper understanding of their own metrics and identify opportunities and challenges within their own programs.
Q: Can I participate even if I’m a small charity?
A: Yes, charities of all sizes are welcome and encouraged to participate! The larger and more diverse our participant pool is, the more reliable the numbers we report are.
Q: Wouldn’t it be cool if, in addition to finding my peer group by revenue, I could also look specifically at other charities in my issue area?
A: No, that is not cool. It is extremely cool, and it is also exactly how we do things. Benchmarks includes data breakdowns by sector, so you can see how averages among peer nonprofits working in your issue area compare to your own results. But here’s the thing: we can only report that detailed data if we have enough participants in a given sector. So the best way to improve your Benchmarks experience is to participate and help make sure we have a large enough sample size to deliver reliable results.
Q: What does it cost to take part?
A: We are committed to keeping participation costs to a minimum. For now, budget £1,250—but this figure could drop depending on the number of charities who take part.
Q: Can’t I just access the free report?
A: Yes you can. But remember you’ll miss out on a personalised version. Plus the more people who take part, the richer the data and the more valuable the insights.
Q: 2020 has been a strange year for us. I’m not sure we have the best set of data.
A: Don’t worry, we’ll be collecting data from multiple years so, even in year one, you’ll be able to see trends over time.
Q: What do you need from me? And when?
A: In December we’ll send you a data questionnaire and instructions for what to pull from your CRM, social pages, and Google Analytics. There are comprehensive instructions plus we’ll have a dedicated Slack channel to help you with any questions you may have.
Data collection starts in January, and we’ll need it all by early February.
Q: How long will that take me?
A: The data we pull is extensive but pretty standard: list size and social media presence, online giving numbers, email metrics, that sort of thing. The whole thing can take 8+ hours, and we do our best to make this as easy and straightforward as possible.
Q: When will the Study be published?
A: The plan is to launch in July 2021.
Q: What if I run into problems or have questions, should I just give up and not participate?
A: No, that’s a terrible attitude! We will host a participant kickoff call to walk you through the process and answer any questions, plus you’ll be invited to a participants-only Slack channel where you can ask questions and share amusing gifs.
Q: Will you protect my data?
A: We’ve gotten a little silly a couple times during this Q&A, but there will be no jokes here: we take the privacy and integrity of your data absolutely seriously. We take measures at every step of the process to make sure your organisation’s data is confidential and non-identifiable.
Q: These answers have been very clear and mostly convincing and mildly entertaining—what should I do if I have more questions not covered here?
A: Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: One last question: should I participate in the 2021 M+R Benchmarks Study?
A: Yes, sign up here!
Need to get your boss’s permission to sign up? Use this template email (just the highlights)!
I just found out M+R & Rally are recruiting participants for their 2021 UK Benchmarks Study. I think [OUR ORG NAME] should sign up! Here’s why:
We’ll get a personalised report that summarises all the fundraising, email, social media, and advertising data we give them in useful KPIs. The report will have sleek charts that compare us to other charities in the UK and US. This would be great to present [TO OUR HIGHER-UPS / AT AN UPCOMING MEETING] to show where our programme is thriving, and where we need more investment.
They’re going to have a Slack channel for all the charities participating, and I think this will be a great opportunity to network with other teams and learn what is working for them, potentially improving our programme without the need to test everything.
This is the first time the Study is being run in the UK and I would love for us to be one of the first on board and be able to say we took part in year one.
Important note: M+R takes great care to make sure our numbers are confidential and not shared with any other organisation, and they don’t ask for any personally identifiable data on our donors.
In order to participate, we just have to fill in a survey before December 11th. Then in January, [MY TEAM] will pull the raw data and send it in. Have any questions? Feel free to ask me or consult M+R’s FAQ on participating in the Benchmarks Study.
- Everything you need to know about participating in the 2021 Benchmarks
- UK Nonprofits: Join Benchmarks 2021!
- Go for launch: The 2020 M+R Benchmarks Study