Study: Online Revenue and Email Revenue Up for Nonprofit Organizations

The just released M+R Benchmarks Study 2016 (in collaboration with the Nonprofit Technology Network) contains lots of interesting data about the state of online fundraising and marketing among nonprofit organizations. Some highlights

  • Online revenue is up 19%.
  • Although email opens and click-throughs are down, email fundraising is up 25%, and among the 25 top performing  (dollars raised online)  study participants, over one-third of their online revenue is via email.
  • Nonprofits sent more emails around fundraising and advocacy in 2015 than the year prior, but the response rate decreased.
  • For every 1,000 emails sent, nonprofits raise about $44.
  • The average one-time gift ranged from $61 (Wildlife/Animal Welfare nonprofits) to $168 (Rights nonprofits).
  • Wildlife/Animal Welfare nonprofits have the highest rates of engagement on social media.
  • On average, just over 1% of website visitors make a donation.

The Benchmarks study may help you gauge your nonprofit’s development and marketing metrics against sector averages, in fact, on page 17 the authors advise how to best use the data comparatively. The study is available to download for free at .

Study Finds Overseas Tobacco Advertising Reaches Very Young Children

Tobacco marketing reaches children as young as 5 years old influencing their attitudes about smoking and smokers, according to a study of children in Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Russia recently published in the journal Child: Care, Health & Development. The research study, led by Dr. Dina Borzekowski, research professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland adds to her body of work on the impact of media on children’s health.

The research team assessed the children’s level of familiarity with tobacco branding, their intention to smoke in the future, and their overall exposure to media.  Among 5-and-6-year-old children in the six counties, nearly 68 percent were able to identify one tobacco logo and more than 25 percent could identify two or more. Higher levels of media exposure were not necessarily associated with better knowledge of tobacco brands. However, in three of the sample countries the presence of an adult in the home was also not a significant factor in brand knowledge, suggesting that advertising plays a role in the exposure of very young children to tobacco brands and smoking behavior.

Although tobacco companies face weaker regulations overseas, they spent $9.6 billion on advertising in the United States in 2012.  A U.S. Surgeon General’s report suggests that these companies continue to target marketing to American adolescents, portraying smoking or smokeless tobacco use as a desirable behavior. Considering the approximately 3.5 middle and high school students who used tobacco in 2012, it’s working.

Extensive information about tobacco marketing and promotion is available at the Stanford Research Into the Impact of Advertising (SRITA) webpage.



Study Citation: Pires, P. P., Ribas, R. C.,  Borzekowski, D. L. G. (2015).  Attitudes and intentions to smoke: a study of young Brazilian children. Child: Care, Health and Development.1365-2214


One Take on the Big Trends for Nonprofit Communications/Marketing in 2012

In the video above,  Vinay Bhagat, the founder of and chief strategy officer at Convio, discusses his 2012 predictions for nonprofits, specifically around marketing, communication and technology. He sees an increase in the overall influence of new (online) media and the rise of integrated marketing. In addition, peer to peer information sharing (you made it easy to share your message via various platforms in 2011, right?) will become a primary method of engaging supporters. It isn’t enough to merely have a good ask anymore, you have to affect, inspire and mobilize. Countering donor fatigue in a time of constant media messaging and management of the donor experience are also trends he sees as being key to nonprofits in the upcoming year.

His predictions are also posted at the Convio blog, The Connection Cafe.

What trend do you see playing a substantial role in nonprofit communications and marketing in 2012?


Social Media Strategies from the Occupy Movement

Regardless of your opinion of its purpose or participants, there are some lessons to be taken from the grassroots, decentralized, “leaderless” Occupy moment’s messaging and outreach tactics. Social media played an enormous role not only in connecting the various Occupy camps that popped up in cities across the nation but in bringing them to the attention of the media and eventually the general public.

Below is an interview from October with a social media star (@grimwomyn) in the Occupy movement (from the fundraisinginfo Youtube channel) that is worth a listen, especially if you are with a fledgling nonprofit looking at how to best leverage a small staff and an even smaller budget to engage with your audience. This is a fascinating case study of sorts that nonprofits should be paying attention to.

A point that has stayed with me since I watched the video a week or so ago was one @grimwomyn made about measurement on the fly. While they were not collecting social media metrics at the time, Occupy was paying attention to what was “out there” because, “Ultimately, the way anything online is happening now – you’re only as good as the people who are talking about you and what they are saying.” Which leads me to wonder: how many nonprofits report all sorts of social media metrics to leadership each quarter but couldn’t tell you what was being said about them online just this week?