Trends You Must Pay Attention To Now: 2016 Benchmarks Study Highlights

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Have you noticed any patterns or trends in your online communications so far this year?

M+R’s 10th annual Benchmarks Study, an annual report that gathers data from a diverse mix of 105 nonprofits, including performance metrics for email, web, social media and more was released last month. The popular study highlights the latest nonprofit trends and strategies with focus on shifts over the past decade.

This year’s study analyzed 2.8 billion email messages sent to over 69 million list subscribers, $481 million of online donations from more than 13 million online gifts and 8.2 million advocacy actions.

With over 65 pages of valuable information, if you don’t have the time to read through the entire study, never fear: we have pulled some key findings for you to ponder.

Here are six of what we believe are the most interesting nuggets:

  1. Monthly giving accounts for at least 17 percent of all online revenue – and it is growing faster than one-time revenue. In fact, monthly online revenue was up 24 percent, compared to 18 percent growth for one-time giving in 2015.
  2. Overall, 13 percent of online donations were made from a mobile device — a number that potentially reflects both user preference and increasing adoption of mobile optimization.
  3. Nonprofits have invested $0.04 in digital advertising for every $1 of online revenue raised. This may not seem like a lot, yet looking at the fact that overall online revenue grew by 19 percent over the past year, digital advertising is an increasingly vital market for acquisition, conversion and retention.
  4. Email volume has dramatically increased. The average nonprofit sent an average subscriber on its list at least 49 email messages in 2015.
  5. Most nonprofits post to Facebook an average of 1.3 times per day and tweet an average of 3.8 times per day.
  6. For every 1,000 fundraising messages sent to subscribers, the average nonprofit raised $44.


A Few Thoughts

While it’s important to better understand some of the above fundraising trends, I urge you to not actually obsess over vanity metrics. Instead, meaningful lessons from the study should help your nonprofit focus on real-time engagement, donor acquisition, moving your audiences toward a more connected community, and ultimately determining what is working (and not working).


On average, new IPM clients see a 34.8% increase in direct mail fundraising acquisition response rates within the first year of working with us. Want to learn more?

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