Online Marketing Benchmark Study Reveals Measures of Success and Value of Online Engagement Between Nonprofits and Constituents

Second Annual Study Helps Nonprofits Evaluate Fundraising, Email, Advocacy, and Market Success Online with Peers and Industry; Highlights Value of Software as a Service Model for Providing Actual Data for Decision Making and Comparison

Convio, Inc. today announced the results of its second annual Convio Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index™ Study designed to help nonprofit marketing, advocacy, fundraising and communications professionals evaluate what online marketing metrics to focus on, evaluate how their organization is doing and determine targets to set for the future. This year's study uses data compiled from more than 400 nonprofit organizations, representing online interactions and transactions from nearly 40 million constituents from Convio's Software as a Service (SaaS) system. The study aggregates results into benchmarks that nonprofit organizations can compare against their peer group and the industry as a whole.

"One of the most important findings validates the concept of online constituent relationship management (eCRM) - the integration of the Internet is a driver of growth for nonprofit organizations," said Gene Austin, Chief Executive Officer of Convio. "Online revenue through fundraising and eCommerce is up significantly, the number of unique visitors to Web site's fully hosted by Convio continued to grow, and an integrated, multi-channel approach to advocacy and fundraising can build stronger constituent engagement."
The report studied seven areas related to online marketing success:

  • Web site traffic
  • Registration rate
  • Email file size
  • Online revenue: Fundraising, eCommerce, growth, average gifts and value of an email address
  • Email appeals: Open rates, click-through rates, and response rates
  • Email newsletters: Open and click-through rates 
  • Legislative advocacy

"By comparing itself against a benchmark of its peers, a nonprofit organization can begin to identify which areas of its online marketing program are performing well or are underperforming," said Vinay Bhagat, Chief Strategy Officer, Founder of Convio and one of the reports authors. "This quantitative approach to measuring success gives organizations a framework to continually refine their tactics, improve the effectiveness of their online initiatives, and allocate resources more efficiently." 

This year's study has many interesting findings. Among the highlights are the following:

  • Nonprofits' Web site Traffic Continues to Grow. The total number of unique visitors to Web sites of nonprofit organizations with fewer than 250,000 email addresses on file and fully hosted by Convio grew 10.79 percent. Nonprofit organizations with more than 250,000 email addresses on file, with Web sites fully hosted by Convio grew their Web site traffic by 34 percent.

  • Registration Rate Improved Slightly. The overall conversion rate of unique Web site visitors to subscribers grew from 2.8 percent to 3.0 percent.

  • Email Files Continue Strong Growth. Email files across Convio platform clients grew 32 percent in the aggregate. This rate of growth suggests that organizations are succeeding in growing prospect files online, giving organizations greater opportunity to engage with more constituents.

  • Email File Growth Supported Offline. Email file growth is nearly three times that of Web site traffic growth. This finding suggests that online activities compliment offline activities as a way to engage more constituents.

  • Revenue Growth. Total nonprofit online revenue including eCommerce grew at 25 percent across the study organizations.

  • Average Gift Remains High. The average online gift was $60, up from $56 in the last report. This is higher than the typical average gift achieved through most other direct response channels such as direct mail and telemarketing.

  • Opportunity to Expand Cross-Promotion between Advocacy and Fundraising. For organizations engaged in online legislative activity, 8.5 percent of online advocates also supported the organization financially. Conversely, 14.2 percent of online donors engaged in online advocacy. While illustrative of the fact that donors can be advocates and vice versa, the reports' authors believe there is significant upside for cross-marketing.

"As the Internet landscape continues to evolve, nonprofit professionals have to stay current with best practices and partner with technology and service providers who help them make the best decisions to continue getting a good return on their investment," added Austin. "Convio's community of clients and Fusion Partners are working together to take this insight and continually develop and share best practices that ultimately integrate online and offline strategies to take constituent relationships to new levels."

The complete findings of this report are immediately available to Convio clients in Convio's online client Community. An executive summary of the findings is available at http://www.convio.com/resources/nonprofit-sector-research.html.

About Convio

Convio is a leading provider of on-demand constituent relationship management software and services to nonprofit organizations to enable nonprofit organizations to more effectively raise funds, influence public policy and support their missions by leveraging the Internet to build strong relationships with constituents. Convio's online constituent relationship management, or eCRM, solution includes a suite of on-demand software modules for fundraising, advocacy, email marketing and Web content management complemented by a portfolio of best-in-class consulting services.

Convio's clients include American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Sierra Club, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and National Public Radio. For more information, please visit www.convio.com.

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

Online Marketing Benchmark Study Reveals Measures of Success and Value of Online Engagement Between Nonprofits and Constituents | Convio