Episode 16: M+R Benchmarks Study

The 13th annual M+R Benchmarks Study is chock full of data almost as far as the eye can see. That’s what happens when you analyze 4.4 million emails sent to 37.5 million email addresses, more than 7 million online gifts and $376 million raised, all from a variety of 135 nonprofits of all shapes and sizes around the United States contributing data.


The big takeaway this year was that online revenue was essentially flat, with growth of just 1 percent. It’s the first time in 13 years that the average revenue growth was in the single digits; in 2017, the same group of nonprofits reported online revenue growth of 23 percent.

M+RBut there’s a whole lot more to the 71-page report. We break it down in this episode with Will Valverde, creative director at M+R and author of the study. Some of the topics he touches on include monthly giving (a 17-percent increase last year) and its impact on online revenue (16 percent, up from 13 percent in 2017), some reasons that might explain why online revenue was flat last year, and other, new aspects to this year’s study. You can access the complete M+R Benchmarks Study here and follow along during this episode. There’s the usual data around email messaging, list size, open rates, revenue and more, and for the first time, the study looks at Facebook Fundraisers and comes up with averages while we also discuss some of the outliers among different subsectors.

Another new wrinkle in this year’s report examines online donor retention. The highest retention rate was found among gifts between $250 and $500, according to the study, and Valverde explains some more behind the numbers on distribution of revenue and donors for each of the past three years. “Online giving is not just a small donor program,” Valverde said. “But we can’t ignore the fact that many mid-level donors…there’s a lot of room tactically to address their value and opportunity of these folks,” he said.