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Sure, Giving Tuesday is great — what’s not to love about a lively kickoff to the end-of-year giving season? But the real fun starts the morning after, when we have all this new data to dig through. Dig we did — with 33 awesome M+R clients.
The big picture takeaway right now: most of our clients saw growth for Giving Tuesday 2023 and are going into end-of-year digital fundraising strong!
Now let’s take a quick look at the trends and top-line findings from 33 of the nonprofits we work with and see where they’re pointing us as we head into the final thirty days of 2023.
- Giving was up… mostly. Giving Tuesday is a big day for nonprofits, and it’s getting bigger every year. Going into the Big Day, we were seeing some big predictions for Giving Tuesday 2023 (11 billion in revenue!?!). And after some wild years of ups and downs since 2020, 70% of the nonprofits whose data we compiled this week saw revenue growth for Giving Tuesday ‘23.
- Many donors give late in the day. Are they procrastinating on purpose just to stress us out while we refresh fundraising totals all morning? Possibly. But we do know that many of our clients saw more than 50% of their revenue coming in after 5pm on Giving Tuesday. So next year when you’re sitting all day refreshing your results and stress eating Thanksgiving leftovers because you’re behind last year’s revenue, take a deep breath and wait for Wednesday morning.
- Cyber Tuesday? There’s a growing trend in town: Black Friday lasts all week, Cyber Monday lasts all month, capitalism is forever. Great for my holiday shopping, not so great for competition. There’s a lot more noise as retail marketing efforts extend into Giving Tuesday — nonprofits are spending more on ads every year and competing for inbox space with not only other nonprofits but also commercial brands.
- Email… stabilizing? After a couple of years of weird email trends, general uncertainty about performance post-2020, and changes we had to make to active emailable lists due to deliverability concerns, a lot of organizations saw strong performance in email this year. Email revenue held steady or increased for 70% of nonprofits whose results we reviewed. Who was down? Groups that had already sent major campaigns recently, which may have eaten into Giving Tuesday revenue, like in the disaster and international aid space.
- Ads — more mixed? It was much more expensive to run ads this Giving Tuesday than it was last year. CPMs were up, almost doubled; cost per donor was up 50%; and return on ad spend was down. But — despite higher costs, many organizations were up year over year in terms of revenue and donations. The people who showed up, gave more.
- SMS — time for a new approach? Anecdotally, we’re seeing softer fundraising numbers over SMS with TONS of fundraising texts going straight to spam, accelerating a recent trend. It might be time to brainstorm a new strategy around your SMS list. It might also be time for political candidates to stop abusing SMS lists so that supporters don’t take their annoyance out on nonprofits. I’m looking at you, random person challenging a GOP rep I’ve never heard of in a state I’ve never been to.
- Fun new channels! There was more investment in upper funnel channels than last year — channels like connected TV and podcast ads. While they are more expensive, they built a larger pool of donors that then converted through channels like Facebook and search. If you aren’t looking at these channels, it might be a place to experiment.
That’s the quick take, friends! We’ll do a big dig after the year end dust settles next month. Can’t wait! And…fingers crossed for great results in the month ahead.
p.s. if data and analysis like this is your thing, don’t forget to sign up to participate in the 2024 Benchmarks study! The deadline to sign up is December 5!
Johanna Levy is an Account Supervisor at M+R based in New York City. When she’s not planning fundraising campaigns, you can find her drinking iced coffee at the beach.