The much-anticipated M+R Benchmarks Study is out—covering metrics from online fundraising, advocacy, and list-building efforts in 2014.
M+R analyzed data from 84 nonprofits of varying sizes (including Avalon clients the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association, Friends of the Smithsonian, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation).
Here are the important takeaways:
• Online revenue increased 13% from 2013 to 2014, largely driven by the number of online gifts—even though the overall average gift dropped by 2%.
• Open rates were up 5% for fundraising emails and email lists grew by 11%, meaning more people were opening messages more often.
• The average response rate for fundraising messages declined 12% and now stands at 0.06%. Click-through rates improved slightly, but donation page-completion rates for fundraising messages declined by 11%.
• For the first time, M+R included enough cultural organizations in the mix to analyze their numbers as a group. And what they learned is that the cultural sector is an outlier—with higher open, click-through, and response rates. These findings echo Avalon’s cultural clients’ benchmarks.
• The international sector dropped by 18% from 2013 levels—due (thankfully) to the lack of a huge disaster. The fundraising for this sector has increased significantly since the recent earthquakes in Nepal.
• Monthly giving grew by 32% in 2014, while one-time giving grew by just 9%.
• Selective segmentation is a trend, with 47% of the groups surveyed suppressing inactives in some way—knowing that dead weight can hurt deliverability with email providers.
One final note: While M+R groups organizations by sector and size, not all the graphs break down that way. As a result, it’s not always possible to make the neat, apples-to-apples comparisons we would like. Industry benchmarks should be used as guides—alongside the critical work of compiling and analyzing your own organization’s benchmarks.