The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Key Findings on Nonprofit Social Media, Email and Online Fundraising

The annual online benchmark study for nonprofits from M+R Strategic Services & NTEN found online fundraising continues to grow – as does the social media reach of nonprofits. 

eNonprofits Benchmark Study

The study, based on analysis of 55 large nonprofits, including the American Red Cross, Sierra Club, American Lung Association, AARP and Human Rights Campaign, examines trends on fundraising response rates, email messaging, social reach and mobile. 


Social reach up, email response rates down

Will Valverde, Vice President of Creative Development at M+R Strategic Services offered this insight to the finding that nonprofit email response rates are declining:

“Email remains a critically important piece of the puzzle for most nonprofits, but declines in fundraising email response rates show the importance of connecting with donors through more than one channel. Successful nonprofits are responding to this reality by securing more and more revenue from monthly donors, and by rapidly expanding their audiences not just for email, but on social media as well.”


Key findings

  • A 21 percent increase in online revenue overall from 2011, with only International groups seeing a decline in online giving.
  • Since 2011, online monthly giving grew by 43 percent – more than twice as fast as one-time giving. 
  • A decline in certain email metrics – such as a 27 percent decline in click-through rates for fundraising messages.
  • Email list sizes continued to grow for all sectors and sizes, up 15 percent in 2012.
  • While the study found that all sectors saw decreases in fundraising message response rates, smaller groups experienced a better fundraising message response rate of 0.16% vs. the 0.07% response rate for larger groups.
  • The growth of social media audiences outpaced email lists in 2012, growing an average of 46 percent on Facebook and 264 percent on Twitter. (Facebook continues to be king for connecting with supporters on social media, reaching 149 Facebook fans for every 1,000 email subscribers.)

View the full study by M+R and NTEN here.


So, what does this mean for your organization?

Analyze these insights against your own metrics and see how you compare. Assess what’s working for your nonprofit and identify areas for improvement. Here are some ideas:

  • Invest in converting one-time donors into monthly givers. Read: How to Convert One-Time or Annual Donors into Monthly Givers
  • Make sure your online fundraising strategy is rock solid. Read:
    6 Steps to Maximize Online Giving
  • Make the most of your email list with quality content and targeted messaging. Read: How to Use Email to Build Relationships and Achieve Marketing Glory
  • Explore multi-channel communication and engaging with supporters via social media. Read: How to Keep the Social Media Conversation Going

(This article was adapted from a post that originally appeared on Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog.)

Free eBook: Woo & Wow Donors with Social Media

How do you really stand out on social media? We’ve compiled a short review of best practices for nonprofits on Facebook, Twitter and visual platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. This mini-guide offers ideas to get your organization started and examples of nonprofits who get it right.

Download Date Your Donors: “Woo & Wow with Social Media”


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About This Blog

Carrie Saracini
Content Marketing Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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