New M+R Nonprofit Report provides detailed information about email and social media use | Miratel Solutions

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M+R Benchmarks Report reveals email and social media trends for nonprofits

Welcome back to the blog, from time to time there are nonprofit fundraising studies released that contain so much information that it is impossible to review all of the findings in a single blog post. Such is the case with the recent M+R Nonprofit Benchmarks report which I wrote about in part a few weeks ago.

In the previous post we looked at some of the data pertaining to online giving and website conversion rates, today we’ll dig deeper into some of the social media data and touch on email fundraising.

Email Overview: The report contains a wealth of email data captured from the 53 nonprofits who took part in the study. Downloading the full study from the link provided above will give you access to the entire report and you’ll find email information broken down on pages 12-25 but some of the highlights and key points are outlined below.

  • Email list size for the nonprofits in the study expanded by 14% last year.
  • Email open rates were remarkably consistent across all nonprofit sectors and sizes at 13% of all emails, this marks a 4% decrease from the previous year. In conjunction with this, the click-through-rate (opening the link/links provided within the email) reported was 1.6% overall which represented a 16% fall on the year.
  • Response rates for all email campaigns was 0.07% which naturally was a downturn from 2013 due to the two components outlined above.
  • The average volume of emails per month across all nonprofits was 4.1 with environmental organizations emailing most frequently at 5.6 times per month.

Finding the right balance of email frequency and the nature of each email is also of great importance and you’ll see in the reports there is some diversity in approach between the different nonprofit sectors. The study divided the email types into primary categories of fundraising, advocacy, newsletter and other. The chart below demonstrates (via email volume – messages per subscriber per year) the different approaches seen dependent on sector and size.


all data courtesy

Social Media Overview: The data in the report includes a number of key findings which will help you see how others use the primary social media tools for fundraising which are helpful to know.

  • At present the social media audience remains much smaller than the email list size in terms of those that are following nonprofits. Per 1,000 email subscribers those studied showed an average of 199 Facebook page fans and 110 Twitter followers.
  • This gap in proportion will only close in the years ahead as evidenced by the increases last year of Facebook followers at 37% and Twitter 46% compared with email subscribers growing by 14% during 2013.

The report isolates this growth by size and sector and you’ll see some startling variances dependent on the nonprofit sector. As I always implore, one has to fully test social media to determine where your potential donor audience are residing and more importantly where are they most active. Some nonprofits are making huge strides via Twitter, others Facebook, some find the ideal balance to be across many platforms whilst still others are finding great rewards via video, podcasts or blogging.

Along with finding the ideal social media platform(s) there is much debate over the correct frequency of posts/updates via your chosen tool(s). Again I think experimentation is the key to success coupled with understanding when your audience are online and likely to engage. As I’ve written about previously much of this information can be acquired via Facebook Insights, Google Analytics and other tools that support Twitter, Pinterest and others. The chart below however provides some interesting data about the use of Facebook and Twitter by those who took part in the report. Incidentally I’d suggest that the Facebook post frequency is a little too low and Twitter about right if a little high.


all data courtesy

Of great interest to nonprofits is leveraging the potential of social media to both build the donor base and to help drive fundraising results forward. Of the many studies that I’ve seen the M+R report does a good job of beginning to unravel some of that data at least in terms of the approach being taken by a large number of nonprofits. The traffic benefits of your social media efforts can certainly be tracked in detail via tools such as google analytics when studying website visits but I maintain the view that the natural/organic growth in engagement that can and should be derived from proper use of social media is really at the heart of how the tools can help any nonprofit in communication in both directions with their respective audiences.

I hope that you find the report interesting and that some of the data within will help you with your own fundraising goals. 

Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery servicesdonation cagingdonation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services

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