April 9, 2014

Report release: The 2014 Nonprofit Benchmarks Study


There comes a time in every online organizer and fundraiser’s life when they ask themselves: is this normal? Our response: what does the data say?

Published today, M+R and NTEN’s 2014 Nonprofit Benchmarks Study returns for the eighth year. We’ve crunched the numbers from 53 nonprofit organizations to define this year’s industry standards for online fundraising, advocacy, and list building.

What did the findings reveal? 2013 really raised the bar for online fundraising. Nonprofits received an estimated 1.7 cents for every fundraising message delivered, and 60 cents for every website visit. Even though response rates for nonprofit emails continued to slide in 2013, online giving was up as email and social media audiences and web traffic kept climbing.

Here are 8 big trends that emerged from the nonprofits we surveyed:

  1. The average one-time online donation amount to a nonprofit was $68 in 2013.
  2. Nonprofit organization email lists grew significantly – up 14% in 2013.
  3. Online donations were higher than ever before. Online giving was up 14% in 2013, with monthly giving revenue up 25% compared to 2012. Monthly giving accounted for 16% of all online revenue.
  4. Nonprofits received $17 for every 1,000 email messages delivered. Overall, email accounted for about one-third of nonprofits’ online fundraising revenue.
  5. Nonprofits received $0.60 per website visitor.
  6. Key email metrics, including open rates and response rates, declined in 2013. Email open rates were down 4%. Response rates were down in 2013 for both fundraising emails (down 11%) and advocacy emails (down 25%) compared to 2012 levels. Interestingly, the response rates to advocacy emails from Environmental nonprofits were more than two times higher than overall response rates for advocacy emails.
  7. More people visited nonprofit websites. Monthly website traffic for the nonprofits in the study was up 16% in 2013.
  8. Nonprofit social media audiences grew faster than nonprofit email or website audiences. Facebook fans were up 37% and Twitter followers were up 46% in 2013. Despite this rapid growth, for every 1,000 email subscribers nonprofits had just 199 Facebook fans and 110 Twitter followers.

> Download the 2014 Nonprofit Benchmarks Study (and share it with your peers!) 

Also, check out the infographic that we released yesterday in Mashable!

If you’re interested in learning more about this report, and how to establish benchmarks in your own organization, register for our free webinar next Wednesday, April 16 at 12:00pm-1:00pm PT.

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Joleen Ong
Joleen is a strong advocate of the nonprofit sector’s role in bringing about social change, and the power of technology to make this happen. At NTEN, Joleen is the editor of NTEN: Change, the quarterly journal for nonprofit leaders, and helps to support NTEN’s 50,000+ community members meet their mission through technology. Joleen is a published writer and researcher on the topic of nonprofit fundraising, communications, marketing, as well as international human rights and labor relations in Asia and Latin America. Prior to NTEN, she was the Communications Manager at Social Accountability International in New York for five years, where she focused on supporting programs to advance workers rights in factories around the world. Joleen earned her MS in Nonprofit Management from the New School, and BA in International Studies and Spanish/Anthropology at the College of New Jersey. She has led presentations on the topic of nonprofit marketing, communications, and sustainability worldwide. She is also a member/blogger of the Integrated Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB) and frequent webinar trainer for FundsForNGOs. Joleen is also the editor of two award-winning social justice documentaries that focus on responsible procurement with Fair Trade on college campuses, and military recruitment.