Nonprofits' Online Revenue Increased 14 Percent in 2016, Study Finds

Nonprofits' online revenue increased 14 percent in 2016, with revenue from monthly giving up some 23 percent, a report from M+R Strategic Services and the Nonprofit Technology Network finds.

Based on data from a hundred and thirty-three nonprofit organizations, the 2017 M+R Benchmarks Study (39 pages, PDF) found that both revenue from and the number of online donations increased across all issue areas in 2016, with the exception of international, which saw a 7 percent drop in the number of donations and a 12 percent drop in revenue. The analysis also found that one-time gift amounts increased significantly across all issue areas, from a median of $87 in 2015 to $126 in 2016, and that the median monthly gift amount rose from $23 to $27.

In addition, the study found that nonprofit email lists and email volume each grew by 10 percent in 2016, and that nonprofits, on average, sent  twenty-four fundraising email messages per subscriber, twenty advocacy messages, and eleven newsletters. The increase in email was offset, however, by a decline in open rates, which fell 7 percent, to just under 15 percent, with the open rate for fundraising messages falling some 7 percent, to 13 percent, and the response rate for fundraising messages falling 8 percent, to 0.05 percent, while response rates for advocacy messages fell 17 percent, to 1.6 percent. According to the study, for every one thousand fundraising email messages delivered, nonprofits raised $36.

The report also found that, for every one thousand email subscribers, the average nonprofit had 428 Facebook fans, 141 Twitter followers, and 39 Instagram followers, up 23 percent, 50 percent, and 101 percent, respectively, from 2015. In addition, traffic to nonprofit websites increased 4 percent, while the Web conversion rate — the percentage of website visitors who completed a gift — increased 8 percent.

"New M+R Benchmarks Study: Online and Email Revenue Grow in 2016 — and Social Media Steals the Show" M+R Press Release 04/25/2017.