Featured Resource: M&R Benchmarks Report

Posted By: Melanie Campbell News,

Our latest Featured Resource is the M&R Benchmarks Report. The report is worth a look for anyone hoping to raise money online this year. The data says things are changing in donor behavior both online and offline. If you have big goals, consider checking in on trends and see if and where you can pivot.

What is the M&R Benchmarks Report?

The annual report surveys real nonprofit partners who contribute data on fundraising, advocacy, engagement, mobilization, and marketing. The interactive report is entertaining while sharing informative metrics on email and mobile messaging, advertising, web traffic, social media and influencers, and more. 

Why is this the Featured Resource?

Frankly, for nonprofits who rely on direct e-mail and direct mail for their fundraising, this year's report isn't great news. Considering declines in direct mail revenue, one-time online revenue, and revenue given in December, teams should consider new strategies now. 

What should I do with this information?

After reviewing, you have a few options. 

  1. See how your organization's metrics stack up with the Benchmark Yourself tool. You might be in a great spot. You might need to make some pivots.
  2. Once you have some data, discuss your metrics with your team. See what strategy might change based on the information and how you compare. Action items might be bolstering a monthly giving program or considering implementing more digital ads.
  3. Keep Learning: We've got you covered with an upcoming webinar on tips for converting volunteers to donors. We'll also review some event content for those considering diversifying revenue streams.

Let's Dive into the Numbers

(disclaimer, we definitely recommend reading the full report to get the context on each metric)

What is Down
  • Direct mail revenue: -6% 

    • -7% for hunger/poverty

  • One-time online giving revenue: -5% 

  • Revenue for the final week of December: -2% 

  • December revenue: -4% 

  • Email Revenue: -7%

  • Email Response Rate: -16%

What is Up:
  • Monthly Giving Revenue: 6% increase for a total of 31% of all online revenue

  • Mobile Messaging Sends: 5%

    • 14% revenue increase

  • Ad Spend: 13%

    • For every $100,000 raised online, a hunger/poverty would reinvest $4,000 in as spend when compared to all online revenue

  • Email Sends: 12%

  • Major Gift Revenue

What Stayed the Same
  • All online revenue: -1%

Other Notable Takeaways
  • Hunger/Poverty has the highest average one-time gift size at $174

  • Hunger/Poverty has the highest average monthly gift size at $45

  • Donor retention is 44%

    • First-time donor retention was 23% for online donors

    • Established online donors retained at 61%

  • As nonprofits sent more email messages to larger audiences, the likelihood of any individual email generating a click, action, or donation declined.

  • Increase Ad spending to 2-4% per $100,000 revenue goal, this means spending around $2,000 annually on digital ads for every $1,000 you want to raise online

  • Ensure staff hours for major donor cultivation are prioritized/protected. With major giving up, and other types of giving down, time invested in major donations will likely pay off more in the long-term than smaller digital campaigns. 

  • Segment e-mail audiences into smaller, more relevant teams. Send donors shorter but more frequent updates, keeping your updates in their inbox in a timely manner. A personal e-mail with a program photo or quick update is more likely to make it to your donor, or prospective donor's inbox, and is a powerful compliment to traditional e-mail marketing. 

  • Consider implementing an annual virtual impact call or town hall for an organization update to donors and stakeholders. Sharing a recording of the event or typed notes to donors who can't attend still keeps them informed.
  • Explore how texting can work for your organization. Most teams are using texting for events or around volunteer service. Increase texting around auctions, if applicable, to boost bids.

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