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Depending on your point of view, the annual M+R Benchmarks Study might just be the most essential guide to digital fundraising, advocacy, and marketing metrics in this moment. Or, you might see it as an in-depth exploration of what’s changing for nonprofits and their supporters. Or a giant stack of pretty charts.
It might be an inspiration, a wake-up call, or a much-needed reminder than you are not alone in this world.
However you see Benchmarks, it is ready for you RIGHT NOW to explore online and download for free at mrbenchmarks.com!
We expect that a lot of you might focus on one key finding: online revenue for nonprofits in our study grew by just 1% in 2018. It is, indeed, a striking change from the steadily climbing online revenue numbers we are used to seeing.
We spend some time exploring what this relatively flat change means, but there is so much more to explore, including:
+ Facebook Fundraisers! We tracked Facebook as a source of revenue for the first time this year, and found that some nonprofits raised nearly as much from Facebook Fundraisers as all other sources of online revenue combined. On average, nonprofits raised $1.77 for every $100 raised through other online sources.
+ Monthly giving! Revenue from monthly donors increased by 17% and accounted for 16% of all online revenue in 2018.
+ Donor retention! Overall, 25% of first-time online donors in 2017 gave again online in 2018—but retention was higher for donors giving over $100 and those who gave through membership programs.
+ Web engagement! Mobile users accounted for a larger share of traffic than desktop users in 2018—but desktop still dominated fundraising. Desktop users made 63% of all donations and 71% of revenue.
+ Digital ads! Nonprofits’ spending on digital ads increased by 144% in 2018.
+ Mobile messaging! Fundraising text messages had a 13% click-through rate, while peer-to-peer text messaging earned a response rate of 15%.
+ Social media! Advocacy! Ticket sales! A poem by Wallace Stevens! There is literally something for everyone in this year’s Benchmarks Study. Start exploring now >>
Whether you are a seasoned veteran or just dipping your toes into online channels, whether you focus on fundraising or concentrate on communications, no matter your vantage point—you will find something new in Benchmarks this year.
We’ve just scratched the surface here. Now let’s keep digging.
And don’t forget—we’re celebrating the release of this year’s Benchmarks with parties across the country. We hope you can join us!
Washington, DC: TONIGHT, live webinar at 4; party from 5 to 7pm
M+R’s DC HQ at 1101 Connecticut Ave NW, 7th Floor
New York: May 1, 4–7pm
M+R’s NYC office at 11 Park Place, Suite 1001
Oakland: May 8, 4–7pm
M+R’s Oakland office at 1611 Telegraph Ave, Suite 900
Boston: May 14, 6–8pm
We’ll send details about our Cambridge location soon!
I have been using your benchmarks for a few years now, and I find them extremely helpful to measure our performance
I have a question thou, in your 2018 report on the social media section, your averages for every 1,000 email subscribers are 474 F; 186 TW and 41 Insta followers. For 2019, those numbers are 806 FB; 286 TW and 101 Insta.
The increase is around 100% in one year. How is that explained?
The 2018 study included a different set of participants than the 2019 study, which means that year-over-year changes are not directly comparable. Some of the change here is simply due to a different set of nonprofits reporting.
To get a more consistent measure of change over time, we ask each year’s participants to include some data going back a year or more. In the case of social media followers, the 2019 study participants reported average YOY growth of 6% for Facebook, 26% for Twitter, and 34% for Instagram. At the same time, email lists grew by 5% on average. So while it appears to be the case that social media audiences grew faster than email audiences, the change is maybe not so dramatic as the study-to-study comparison would imply.
I hope that helps clear things up. Please let us know if you have any more questions, and thanks for reading Benchmarks!
Thank you for this report. It is going to be extremely useful.