A deeper study of online fundraising from M+R Benchmarks report | Miratel Solutions

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M+R 2014 Benchmarks study reveals valuable information about online fundraising

Gaining a better understanding of how donors and supporters interact with nonprofits is key in the world of fundraising. Although not the biggest report compiled, the annual M+R / NTen study provides a wealth of data that I would encourage you to review. Space prevents me from reviewing the entire report in a short blog post but I did want to focus on some of the data that was particularly interesting specifically in terms of online fundraising data in today’s piece and then return with a look at some of the social media data next week.

The study itself pulls data from a cross-section nonprofit of different size and sectors capturing information from 53 organizations; the resultant data includes 2.1 billion email messages, 5.6 million donations and 7.5 million online actions. In particular the data about email results is also well worth a review if you visit the report.

For the charities studied, online fundraising increased by 14% in 2013 for the year-over-year results and interestingly a higher proportion of the online revenue is now coming by way of regular and ongoing monthly giving which was previously the domain of mail, telephone and email fundraising campaigns. Social media is also playing a large part in building those donor audiences with Facebook followers up by 37% on the year and Twitter 46%. Some of the key data for online fundraising follows.

Online fundraising increases are almost across the board: The study breaks the data into four charity sectors all of which showed 2013 growth in online fundraising ranging from 1% for ‘rights’ organizations to 32% for ‘international’, in the middle of the pack were ‘environmental’ at 17% and ‘wildlife/animal’ at 20% growth. Online fundraising growth by size was also varied with medium organizations reporting a 12% increase and large at 17%. In keeping with other studies we’ve looked at it is the smaller nonprofits who seem least equipped to take full advantage of the growth in online fundraising with a net drop of -3% on the year. As I’ve speculated before this is most likely due to staffing and technology restrictions which hamper their movement to the newer technology and platforms.

Size and volume of online gifts are increasing: The volume of online gifts has already been touched upon above but the average gift size also increased. In 2013 the improvement was 2% across all sectors although that was dominated by ‘international’ organizations showing an increase of 9% for the average gift.

Monthly online donations are increasing: As the charts below demonstrates the growing rate of monthly giving was a surprising and encouraging result, one of the most telling on the report. Whilst one-time online donations increased by a healthy 13%, monthly donations spiked by a remarkable 25% in 2013 and as you can see this was across all sectors.

The second chart illustrates the importance of the reporting charities capturing more online monthly donations as those improvements brought total revenue from that source from 13% of all funding in 2012 up to 16% in 2013.

data courtesy mrbenchmarks.com/

data courtesy mrbenchmarks.com/

Website visits and revenue: As you might expect total website visits (up by 16% overall) improved in 2013 at almost the same rate that online fundraising increased. Overall there was good consistency in the percentage of increased web traffic for all sizes and types of nonprofits.

Online conversion rates: Very interesting data that you do not often see in these types of reports were the conversion rates for website visits (the percentage of all visits that result in a donation). Below I’ve included that data by sector and size which shows an overall conversion rate of 0.69% which equates to 1 donation per 145 visits to a website.

mandr-report-data-2

data courtesy mrbenchmarks.com/

The report also provides the conversion rates for those who visit the main donation page of a charity’s website which naturally is a key measurement. When the visitor reaches the primary donation page the conversion/donation rate is a very healthy 15% (just under one in seven) with the results being quite consistent regardless of sector and size.

In part two of our assessment of the study we’ll take a look at the social media trends that are detailed within the report. In the meantime if you’d like to review the 2014 M+R nonprofit benchmarks study you can register for a copy of the report here.
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