Nonprofits: M+R Benchmarks Study

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M+R Strategic Services, founded in 1991, helped nonprofit clients raise $159 million last year. Through their work in 2014, M+R reached 33 million people, mobilizing supporters, and moving the media, the public, and decision-makers.

Each year, the consulting firm conducts a nonprofit study to identify industry standards for online fundraising, advocacy, and list building. The 2015 M+R Benchmarks Study, conducted in partnership with the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), analyzed the social media practices, website giving, and email fundraising practices of a diverse mix of 84 nonprofits.

Information from participating nonprofits—located in the United States, Canada, Australia, and South Africa—was examined in eight categories:  environmental, health, international, rights, wildlife and animal welfare, domestic hunger and poverty, cultural, and miscellaneous. This year, data from cultural organizations (museums, libraries, history groups) was included for the first time.

A look at the stats below and a deeper dive into the complete study will answer the question for your organization: Are we “normal”?

Overall giving trends

Online giving to organizations in the study increased 13% from 2013 to 2014. This is attributed to a higher number of gifts, not larger gifts.  Actually, the average size gift fell by 2% to $82. change in online revenue

Monthly giving grew at a much faster rate than one-time giving, with revenue increasing 32%. Monthly giving as a part of total online revenue grew for nearly all sectors, and the average size gift was $22. By comparison, one time revenue saw 9% growth over 2013. (If you don’t yet have a monthly giving program, JustGive’s downloadable Give Monthly button or link can help you start collecting donations.)

More to the story

Here are some 2014 key benchmarks analyzed by the channels we use for giving. Results vary by sector, so you’ll want to check out details in the complete study that best relate to your organization.

Website Engagement

For every 1,000 website visitors, nonprofits in the study raised $612 – and one visitor was worth 61 cents.

  • On average, 7.6 of every 1,000 visitors became donors. This is a slight drop from last year.
  • Monthly visitors grew by 11% over 2013.
  • 13% of visitors to a main donation page completed a gift.

Emails

Emails continue to be a key communication channel for nonprofits. While email lists grew by 11% in 2014, they have been growing at a slower pace the past few years. On average, 22 emails were sent per subscriber per year. And 22% of online revenue is coming from emails—a growing piece of the overall giving pie for nonprofits. email list growth

Every 1,000 fundraising message delivered raised $40. This differs significantly for nonprofits with small, medium and large lists, and you’ll want to use the tool M+R provides to calculate your specific results. (Organizations with email lists of under 100,000 raised the most, generating $124.12.) Every 1,000 advocacy message delivered generated 29 actions. Here are the open and response rates for each type of email: table

Social Media

Facebook audiences grew by 42% and Twitter audiences grew by 37% in 2014.

  • For every 1,000 email subscribers, participants had 285 Facebook fans and 112 Twitter followers.
  • Post frequency: organizations averaged 5.4 tweets and 1.1 Facebook posts per day.

Summing it up

These benchmarks give you good baseline numbers, and an idea of how your organization stacks up. Taking a closer look at your own benchmarks and what they mean best guides what you need to do.

M R-Benchmarks-2015

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For more on the participating nonprofits, the specifics behind the stats, and to use the M+R tool to calculate your own benchmarks, download the full study.

How are your experiences different? And how are they like others?  Most importantly: What can you learn from nonprofits who are having success in ways that matter most to you?

– Andrea Lloyd
Director of Programs

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