With all due respect to Maria Von Trapp, she can keep her raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. When it comes to M+R Research Labs, our favorite things are the most useful, shareable, likeable, tweetable posts. So we’ve taken a look back at our stats for 2012 (this is Research Labs, after all — we don’t pour milk on our cereal without checking the stats first) and pulled together the most popular posts of the year.

Here are a few of your — and our — favorite things. Plus bonus song lyrics at the end. Happy New Year!

Nerding out
You can think of the 2012 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study as a “brown paper package tied up with string” that we team up with NTEN to put together every year. And it certainly was a favorite for many of you! Over 16,000 people visited www.e-benchmarksstudy.com, where you can download a free copy of the annual report on the latest trends in online messaging, fundraising, advocacy, and social media.

Of course, nerds like us don’t stop at just reading the report — we want to dive deeper into the data. Many of you attended one of the online webinars where we did just that. You asked questions, we answered them, and then you came back to read the Q&A from our webinar on the Benchmarks Extras report on Facebook. We know you did it, because this blog post got more traffic than any other article in 2012!

Freaking out (or planning ahead?)
Hopefully you didn’t get your fill of vintage R.E.M. on December 21 — because there’s a lot to love in Heather’s post It’s the end of the year as we know it, and I feel fine. If you followed her advice, you were able to keep calm and carry on during this busy fundraising season — and if not, now’s a good time to bookmark this post for October next year when you start to get the jitters about planning your year-end strategy (assuming you don’t actually start getting those jitters sometime in April).

It turns out that we all love to win for our causes — fancy that! And if you’re one of the many people that read our white paper, Pressure vs Persuasion, you’re probably a little better equipped to do it. You know the difference between trying to persuade decision-makers and pressuring them to act, and you know how to set up your next advocacy campaign to win!

Mobile-optimized emails
Is it weird that we find emails perfectly optimized for mobile phones so deeply satisfying? Well, we do — and that’s why we shared our slides from NTC 2012 on optimizing email for mobile phones. If you haven’t already downloaded the presentation so you can take the sample mobile optimization code, now’s the time. Trust us, your smartphone-addicted supporters will thank you.

We said we’re not into “whiskers on kittens,” and it’s true… unless it’s a picture of a kitten on Facebook, because pictures on Facebook definitely are one of the Internet’s favorite things, and kittens basically just turn that up to eleven. It’s not surprising that our 8 Tips on Facebook Images for a Cause received more Facebook Likes than any other Research Labs post this year.

Usually when Facebook changes anything, it’s cause for everyone to freak out for about a week, repeatedly post threats on Facebook about no longer posting on Facebook, and then move on. But this one’s different, and it could be the start of your biggest Facebook victories in 2013. Haven’t you heard? Your email list is now your Facebook list, and we recently shared 4 ideas we have to take advantage of this feature.

Awesome writing
Apparently, you really like to write awesome emails. Even though we released the Storytelling and the Art of Email Writing white paper and webinar in 2011, our web stats tell us people are still eating it up! We guess good email writing never goes out of style. And it never should.

Now, sing along:

Numbers and data that make us all geek out
Year-end advice so that you don’t all freak out
Winning campaigns and the feelings they bring
These are a few of our favorite things

Email on mobile that’s super good-looking
Photos and list growth and more for Facebooking
Writing the stories that make emails sing
These are a few of our favorite things

By the way, if you’re as fond of all this stuff as we are (and also LOLcats and animated gifs), maybe you should think about coming to work here!