2016 Nonprofit Benchmark Report Available from M+R

Five interesting findings (among many) were highlighted: Mobile giving, Social Media growth, digital advertising, email volume and response, and monthly giving programs.

Mobile giving will continue to grow according to 2016 Nonprofit Benchmark Study

2016 Nonprofit Benchmark StudyIs your website optimized for mobile devices? This is something Google has put emphasis on by ranking mobile-ready online sites higher than those that are not.

According to the study 13% of online gifts were made from mobile devices. That number will only grow. As we continue to experience the shift in active donors from Baby Boomers to Millennials, mobile will increasingly become the dominant device from which donors connect to nonprofits.

Wise nonprofits will spend time evaluating the user experience of their website and, more importantly, online giving pages for mobile. Don’t wait until that percentage explodes – take steps now to make your online fundraising mobile-ready.

2016 Nonprofit Benchmark Study – Social Media an important donor connection point

The study pointed out that ten years ago, Social Media wasn’t even on the radar, “Facebook was limited to .edu email addresses, Twitter was just about to launch, and Instagram’s founders were still in college.”

Today, the number of Social Media platforms has exploded and opportunity to connect with donors, volunteers, and advocates has expanded exponentially. The survey provided a measure to help you gauge where you are with your Social Media engagement. The study participants provided the following average: for every 1,000 email subscribers, nonprofits have 355 Facebook fans, 132 Twitter followers, and 19 Instagram followers.

Social Media is tailored for mobile access. It provides an excellent means of connection with your key audiences. It’s not too late to make Social Media a dynamic part of your marketing mix. The platforms are free, so there’s no fund expenditure required – however, it will take an investment of time to develop content, messaging and maintaining the platforms.

Digital advertising growing

The study acknowledges that this is in its infant stages, but that digital advertising is an increasingly important market for donor acquisition, conversion, and retention.
My advice regarding digital advertising boils down to “don’t try this at home.” Without the proper strategy and segmentation, digital advertising can result in a lot of money spent without meaningful (if any) results. Before dipping your toes in digital advertising, do the research. And, even after doing the research, you will want to enlist an expert in digital advertising to help you target your campaigns for the best results.

Please note: I’m not suggesting you avoid digital advertising. Rather, do the necessary due diligence to understand how digital will augment your strategy and zero in on the audiences that are likely to respond to your advertising.

eMail explosion continues

Consider this: the average nonprofit in the study sent the average subscriber on its list 49 email messages in 2015. That’s essentially an email a week. The study notes that email metrics (opens, links clicked, etc.) are down while at the same time email fundraising is up.

The study found that landing pages matter. It’s worth spending a little time reading and rereading about the correlation between landing page conversion rates and response rates.

When considering email statistics, it’s important to remember that email campaigns are low-cost. We use email because other tactics are more expensive. So the increasing use of the tactic is influenced by the senders’ motivations as much as, if not more so, than the recipients’ preference. I don’t think that’s going to change.

The reality is email will be a primary communication vehicle – so it’s important to get it right. One thing the study noted, is that successful nonprofits were not treating all email contacts equally – more email was sent to active contacts than inactive contacts. For example, active contacts might get weekly or monthly emails on a regular basis, while inactive contacts would only receive emails quarterly.

Monthly giving a growing aspect of all online revenue

The good news is that monthly giving is growing “quite a bit faster than one-time giving.” The bad news, if you don’t have recurring giving programs set up for online donors you can’t take advantage of this growth.

This is a quick fix and should be a top priority. Examine all of your online points of giving and look to add a monthly giving option. If you have a monthly giving option, is there a way to better highlight it? Have you provided a compelling narrative for what monthly giving means for your mission and constituents?

2016 Nonprofit Benchmark Study: You can download the complete study here.