M&R Benchmarks Report: Key Takeaways for Home Repair Nonprofits

Posted By: Melanie Campbell News,

The M&R Benchmarks report is an annual report compiling digital giving data from 100 nonprofits of varying sectors and size. You can read the full report here. I strongly encourage each fundraiser and executive staff person to read the full report because it provides important context to the data and the study itself. I pulled a few highlights (and even made some assumptions) I felt were particularly relevant to our work. 

Before we jump in, let’s take a deep breath. Some things are up, some things are down. It happens year over year. The way people give evolves. As we continue to fundraise post-pandemic, 2021 data will give key insight to what was isolated in 2020 and what trends are here to stay. 

Personally, I’m really happy to see online revenue is still up 3% overall from 2020. After such as massive increase in 2020, we weren't sure how online giving would trend after the pandemic surge of giving. People are still giving, we just need to meet them where they are. Now, we’ve got some insight to where that was in 2021. 


Fundraising response rate sees an 11% decrease

For every 1,000 fundraising messages (one-time gift solicitation only) sent, nonprofits raised $78. This marks a 3% decrease from 2020. The average response rate for fundraising email was 0.08%, an 11% decrease from 2020. That means that a nonprofit would need to send emails to 1,250 recipients in order to generate a donation. The study excluded fundraising asks for recurring donations from this metric. There is good news: 

Monthly giving continues to grow - now making up 22% of all online revenue

Monthly giving increased by 24%, while one-time revenue declined by 1%. Monthly giving accounted for 22% of all online revenue in 2021 (up from 16% in 2020). Monthly giving is here to stay. If you haven’t visited your monthly giving program recently, it might be time for a tune-up. Monthly giving appeals were excluded from the fundraising response rate above, and surprisingly, the report offered no data on monthly giving response rate. It does, however, measure membership response rate.

Membership messaging response rate is up 84%

This section is where you really need to view the data and read the context for numbers. Organizations that offered membership fundraising opportunities, saw the average response rate for fundraising messaging decline by 20% from 2020. The average membership response rate for those same organizations went up by 84%. Membership messaging had higher email metrics than fundraising messaging. The average response rate for a membership email was 0.21%, compared to a 0.06% response rate for fundraising email.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.

Membership fundraising was defined as anything with a tangible benefit including a t-shirt, museum entrance fee, or general swag. The study primarily bucketed media and cultural organizations for these metrics, which are organization types historically relying on traditional, annual membership drives. Considering only one-time donations were evaluated in fundraising response rate and the report provided no response rate data for monthly giving, I feel some recurring giving programs can fit into the membership category. Particularly, this includes established recurring giving programs, alumni programs, annual membership with option to pay monthly, or other loyalty programs that offer incentives. I don’t think every monthly giving program fits. I think fundraisers can discern if their program meets the criteria and choose to heed this data. If you think your monthly giving program walks and talks like a duck, it’s a duck. 

Organizations that used both direct fundraising and membership messaging performed better in every single metrics tracked in the study. 

Donations are bigger

One time gifts and monthly gifts saw an increase in amount. The average one-time gift was $125, up from $111 the previous year. The average monthly gift was $25, up from $24. The average revenue per donor per year in 2021 was $208, a notable increase from $170 the previous year. I’d recommend reading this section directly because the report provides some additional context on the data. Learn more about how those numbers were found here. 

Here are a few other notable stats:

  • Digital Ad budgets increased an average of 19%, which makes sense considering organic Facebook posts only reached an average of 4% of a page's followers. 
  • Email revenue accounted for 15% of online revenue, slightly down from 2020.
  • Revenue from Facebook fundraisers declined 20%. Facebook giving still accounted for 1.1% of all online revenue in 2021.
  • Donations converted while on desktop converted at a higher rate and at a higher amount. Users on desktop devices made up the majority of donation transactions (65%) and revenue (76%). The average gift made on a desktop device was $75; for mobile users, the average gift was $46.
  • 23% of nonprofits surveyed reported being on TikTok.

Read the full report here.

What did you find surprising? Is there anything you found concerning? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know what professional development opportunities your fundraising team needs. 

Ready to build your recurring giving program? Join us for a free webinar about monthly giving programs on Wednesday, June 15th at 2:30 pm EST. Register here.