Convio’s Annual Benchmark Study Showcases Online as Fastest Growing Fundraising and Engagement Channel

Convio, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNVO) today released the results of its annual Convio Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index™ Study. The results of the study indicate that online is the fastest growing fundraising channel for nonprofits. In 2010, Convio’s clients raised more than $1.3 billion online, up 40 percent from 2009. The study shows that online engagement continues to play a crucial role for nonprofits: online legislative advocates grew 20 percent, email files continued to grow at a median 22 percent across all sectors and gift sizes increased in 2010. The full study is available at www.convio.com/2011benchmark.

“Online continues to play a critical role for nonprofits as they continue to look for the most efficient ways to engage with constituents and maximize the value of those relationships,” said Gene Austin, CEO and president of Convio. “This year’s study continues to validate that constituent engagement is profoundly multichannel. Leveraging only traditional channels or only online channels results in partial engagement. The modern nonprofit and the modern constituent realize the value of fully engaging through multiple channels – traditional and online – to get the most out of each relationship.”

The study is designed to help nonprofit professionals evaluate beneficial online marketing metrics, evaluate the effectiveness of their organization compared to similar organizations and determine strategies for future success.  The study focused on key areas related to online success, including:

  • Website traffic and registration
  • Email file health
  • Online fundraising
  • Online communications
  • Advocacy

Key findings of the study include: 

Online fundraising continues to grow. Overall, 79 percent of organizations included in the report raised more in 2010 than 2009, while 21 percent saw declines in their online fundraising. All but three verticals (Association & Membership, Public Broadcasting Stations, and Team Events) had a growth rate greater than 10 percent.

Advocacy continues to play an important role. Total number of advocates on file increased by 20 percent, and 6.4 percent of advocates on file were also donors, up from 5.9 percent in 2009. 

An increase in gift count and average gift size primarily drove fundraising gains. Of those that grew fundraising in 2010, 88 percent saw an increase in the number of gifts and the average gift size grew more than $8 in 2010. This indicates more people are moving online to give even if inspired through other channels.

Email files continued to grow strongly.  The median total email file grew 22 percent to 48,700 constituents. The increase in people engaging online means organizations need to ensure their communications and fundraising asks match the channel preferences for their constituents if they hope to maximize the value of each relationship.

“The data indicates that online engagement continues to be a viable channel for both nonprofit organizations and their constituents,” said Jack Krauskopf, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management at the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, City University of New York. “The study provides a valuable resource for measuring and monitoring online trends, issues and technologies that can help nonprofits to reach more people and raise funds in support of their important missions to improve conditions in our world.”

Episodic Giving

While events such as the Haiti earthquake certainly had an impact on online fundraising in 2010, the efficiency and timeliness of online and other digital forms of engagement is creating more opportunity for organizations to reach people and engage them in a deeper relationship. Giving around Haiti relief efforts accounted for approximately 20 percent (or $250 million) of the $1.3 billion raised online by Convio clients. The vertical most impacted by the Haiti event was the Disaster & Relief vertical, growing 38 percent from 2009 to 2010. Independent of the Haiti event, however, Disaster & Relief still grew at a healthy 23 percent from 2009 to 2010. Haiti was an episodic event that highlights the ever-increasing influence of online fundraising as an efficient and immediate outlet for donors interested in responding quickly to events or issues that impact the causes they support. 


This year’s study analyzes data compiled from nearly 600 nonprofit organizations that have at least 24 months of data to compare and who collectively raised more than $1.15 billion in 2010. 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 16 nonprofit industry sub-groups, or verticals. One new vertical, Food Banks, was added to the study this year. 

About Convio
Convio is the leading provider of on-demand constituent engagement solutions that enable nonprofit organizations, or NPO’s, to more effectively raise funds, advocate for change and cultivate relationships with donors, activists, volunteers, alumni and other constituents.
For more information: www.convio.com

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

Convio’s Annual Benchmark Study Showcases Online as Fastest Growing Fundraising and Engagement Channel | Convio