Online Giving Still Fastest Growing Fundraising Channel with Almost 16 Percent Increase in 2011; Mirrors Retail E-Commerce Growth Rate for Last Six Years

Convio Annual Study Reveals Integration of Fundraising with Advocacy, Small Organizations, Hospitals and Food Banks are Among Biggest Gainers

Americans and Canadians like to engage nonprofits online. The Convio Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index™ Study shows that online engagement continues to rise in importance for nonprofit organizations, with 2011 data highlighting that online fundraising jumped at a 15.8 percent median growth, with 73.4 percent of all organizations raising more money than they did in 2010.

Small organizations, those with files containing 10,000 or fewer email addresses, experienced even stronger momentum with the median online giving growth rate measuring in at 26.7 percent. Hospitals and food banks also significantly outpaced the median rate at 45.1 percent and 24.2 percent, respectively. Other growth areas are online legislative advocates at 17 percent, email files at 17 percent and web traffic at 11 percent. The full study is available at http://www.convio.com/2012benchmark.

“At a macro-level, online engagement is continuing to grow at a healthy clip. In fact, the past six years of data illustrates that online fundraising is mirroring the growth rate of retail e-commerce, which is good news for nonprofits,” said Vinay Bhagat, founder and chief strategy officer for Convio. “I am particularly encouraged to see strong acceleration in monthly giving – a new metric we added to the study this year – as it points to donors being more financially secure in support of a rebounding economy.”

The Convio Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index Study is designed to help nonprofit professionals evaluate beneficial marketing metrics, evaluate the effectiveness of their organization compared to similar organizations and determine strategies for future success. Areas of focus are website traffic and registration, email file health, online revenue and advocacy.

Key Findings of the Study Include:

  • Online fundraising continues to grow robustly: The median online revenue growth rate in 2011 was 15.8 percent, compared to 20 percent in 2010. The primary drags in growth are attributed to the reduction in funds raised by the Disaster & International Relief segment after a very strong response to Haiti in 2010, and a slowing in the pace of special event fundraising.
  • Online represents a strong donor acquisition channel: First time online gifts represented 37 percent of total median online revenue.
  • Online giving continues to grow fastest for small organizations: Organizations with 10,000 or fewer email addresses grew median revenue by 26.7 percent, compared to those with email files greater than 250,000 that grew at only half that rate.
  • Sustainer (monthly giving) programs are growing very strongly: The median growth in online revenue from sustainer programs was 38.7 percent. Sustainer programs represented 6.9 percent of total online giving and 18.8 percent of all online gifts. Verticals with significant recurring giving programs include Association & Membership, Canadian Organization, Food Bank and Public Broadcasting Stations.
  • Advocacy continues to play key role in online engagement: Online legislative advocate counts grew a median of 17 percent. Advocates represented 12 percent of total email files.
  • Cross-over between fundraising and advocacy is increasing: The median number of online donors also advocating grew 14.6 percent. Advocates that donate online increased by 24.6 percent, a nearly fourfold increase from 2010.

For the first time, Canadian nonprofits are included in the study. Canadian organizations experienced tremendous growth in online engagement, including a 77 percent increase in online advocates and a 7.4 percent median increase in average monthly gift. Future studies will continue to track Canadian organizations to provide the most complete picture of online engagement in North America.

Vertical Sectors
The study also looks at 19 different nonprofit sectors. The verticals are: Animal Welfare; Association & Membership; Canadian Organizations; Christian Ministries; Disaster & International Relief; Disease & Health Services; Environment & Wildlife; Food Bank; Higher Education; Hospital Foundation & Medical Research; Hospitals; Human & Social Services; Jewish; National Nonprofit Mailer; Performing Arts & Libraries; Public Affairs; Public Broadcasting Stations; Team Event; and Visitation. Food Bank, Human & Social Services, Hospitals and Higher Education experienced the greatest growth in a few different categories, while Animal Welfare, Disaster & International Relief, and Performing Arts & Libraries experienced declines in some categories.

Online Fundraising and Retail E-Commerce
For the last six years, since 2006, online fundraising growth rates have mirrored the growth rates in retail e-commerce:

Online Fundraising Growth Rates Retail E-Commerce Growth Rates
(based on data from eMarketer)
2006 – 27 percent 2006 – 23.5 percent
2007 – 26 percent 2007 – 20.8 percent
2008 – 14 percent 2008 – 18.6 percent
2009 – 14 percent 2009 – 17.2 percent
2010 – 20 percent 2010 – 16.0 percent
2011 – 16 percent 2011 – 15.0 percent

Additional Media

Video Interview With Vinay Bhagat

Watch this video on YouTube.


Click to see the 2012 infographic

This year’s study analyzes data compiled from more than 700 nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Canada that have at least 24 months of online usage data, and who collectively raised more than $1.22 billion online in 2011. The study aggregates results into benchmarks that nonprofit organizations can compare against their peer group and the industry as a whole. In addition the study provides separate benchmarks for 19 nonprofit industry sub-groups, or verticals.

About Convio
Convio is a leading provider of on-demand constituent engagement solutions that enable nonprofit organizations to maximize the value of every relationship. With Convio constituent engagement solutions, nonprofits can more effectively raise funds, advocate for change and cultivate relationships with donors, activists, volunteers, event participants, alumni and other constituents. Convio offers two open, cloud-based constituent engagement solutions: Convio Common Ground® for small- and mid-sized nonprofits and Convio Luminate™ for enterprise nonprofits. Headquartered in Austin, Texas with offices across the United States and United Kingdom, Convio serves more than 1,600 nonprofit organizations globally. Convio is listed on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol CNVO.

Forward-looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements intended to convey expectations as to the future based on plans, estimates and projections. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, future circumstances might differ from the assumptions on which such statements are based. In addition, these statements can be affected by inaccurate assumptions and the impact of a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in this press release including, among others: unfavorable economic and business conditions, in particular with respect to the nonprofit market in which we operate; challenges and risks relating to attracting and retaining customers; a loss of significant customers or a substantial reduction in orders from our existing customers; a reduction in usage of our systems by our customers or their clients and a corresponding reduction in usage revenue; an inability of customers to pay for our solutions and services; risks related to challenges associated with developing new and enhanced solutions that meet the needs of our clients; risks related to technological changes or alternative technologies that could make our products and services less competitive; risks associated with successful implementation of multiple integrated software products; risks associated with acquisitions and their integration; and the ability to attract and retain key personnel. Other risks that could impact our business adversely are those risks generally associated with management of growth; lengthy sales and implementation cycles; intellectual property infringement claims and other litigation; reliance on certain third-parties, including hosting facilities, software and application providers; the ability to access sufficient funding to finance desired growth and operations; and legislative actions which could reduce the effectiveness of our solutions and increase the costs of our business. These factors and other risks and uncertainties are described in more detail, from time to time, in Convio’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission which are available free of charge at www.sec.gov or on our website at www.convio.com/investor. Should one or more of these risks materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. Convio does not undertake to update or revise any of these statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

For more information: www.convio.com

Press Contact:
Karoline McLaughlin
Director, Corporate Communications
Convio, Inc.

Online Giving Still Fastest Growing Fundraising Channel with Almost 16 Percent Increase in 2011; Mirrors Retail E-Commerce Growth Rate for Last Six Years | Convio