13 New Benchmarks for Nonprofit Digital Marketing in 2016

See how your nonprofit's digital efforts stack up against the latest industry trends

By eleventy marketing group

Nonprofit Digital Marketing Juggling

Digital marketing is a juggling act. You’ve got efforts like your website, emails, and social media all up in the air simultaneously. They’re connected to the same hands, moving in the same circle, and yet they’re also functioning independently.

Over the past decade, keeping all those digital efforts in the air—spinning in unison—has been a challenge for many nonprofits. Primarily because most nonprofits are dealing with limited people, time and resources. And digital marketing requires constant strategy, effort, and tweaking.

Which is why it’s good to get a sense of where other nonprofits stand when it comes to their digital efforts. By measuring your efforts against industry benchmarks you get a better sense of how far ahead or behind you are from the rest of the pack. From there, you can adjust your digital strategy accordingly.

Enter the 2016 M+R Benchmarks Study

Now in it’s tenth year, the 2016 M+R Benchmarks Study analyzed data about email messaging, email list size, fundraising, online advocacy, web traffic, Facebook, Twitter, and mobile programs from 105 nonprofits for the year 2015.

The findings of this study (which you can download for free here) shine a light on what today’s nonprofits are doing when it comes to digital and how the needle has moved in certain areas in comparison to findings from previous years.

Check out these past posts on findings from the M+R Benchmarks Study:

9 Notable New Digital Marketing Benchmarks for Nonprofit Organizations

14 Online Fundraising Figures From 2013 Every Nonprofit Should See

Thirteen Findings from the 2016 M+R Benchmarks Study

Here are some key stats from the 2016 M+R Benchmarks Study that we found the most telling. How do these benchmarks compare with your nonprofit’s digital marketing efforts and the results you’re seeing from them?

  1. Overall nonprofit online revenue increased 19% in 2015
  2. Monthly giving accounted for 17% of all online revenue
  3. Monthly online revenue was up 24% in 2015 (vs. 18% growth for one-time giving)
  4. Email revenue increased by 25% in 2015
  5. Nonprofits sent an average 49 email messages per subscriber in 2015 (including 19 fundraising appeals, 12 advocacy messages, and 9 newsletters)
  6. Email list size for participating nonprofits grew by 14% in 2015 (down from 16% the previous two years)
  7. Nonprofits invested $0.04 in digital advertising for every $1 of online revenue
  8. For every 1,000 fundraising messages delivered, the average organization raised $44
  9. Website visitors per month increased by 8% for nonprofits in 2015
  10. On average, 1.1% of visitors to a nonprofit website made a donation
  11. 15% was the average conversion rate for a nonprofit’s main donation page
  12. Nonprofits posted to Facebook an average of 1.3 times per day in 2015
  13. Nonprofits posted on Twitter an average of 3.8 times per day in 2015

3 Ways Nonprofits Increased Online Revenue Last Year

When it comes to digital, there’s no exact equation for success. What works for one nonprofit when it comes to, say, social media may fall flat with another due to audience, brand, cause, followers, execution, or some other x factor.

That being said, an analysis included in the Benchmarks Study of the top 25 organizations that saw the most online revenue growth in 2015 revealed a few commonalities. They include:

1. More emails

34% of online revenue for the top 25 growers tracks back to emails, versus the 27% average for all the other nonprofits that participated in the study.

2. More asks

The top 25 organizations sent out an average 27 fundraising appeals per subscriber last year, much higher than the average of 16 for the other nonprofits.

3. More advertising

According to the study, the top growers spent six times more on online advertising last years than the average ($0.12 for every dollar raised online vs. the $0.02 average for all the other organizations).

Will doing these things add up to increased online revenue for your nonprofit? There’s no way of knowing for certain. But it is certainly worth testing out and exploring the possibility.

Download the full 2016 Benchmarks Study here (highly recommended)