Online Fundraising
December 10, 2021

Online Fundraising Statistics Nonprofits Need to Know

One of the most notable tools shaping the charitable sector is the internet. It has transformed philanthropy—influencing how nonprofits communicate with donors and raise funds. 

In this article, we will look at the key online fundraising statistics all nonprofits should know. This will allow you to strategize based on data and to know if your performance is on par with other nonprofits. 

Online fundraising statistics

According to the Charitable Giving Report 2020: 

  • Online giving grew 20.7% year over year. This is proof that the internet has matured as a fundraising tool. 
  • 12.9% of total fundraising was from online giving, the highest ever for online giving. Small nonprofits (raising less than $1M) saw the largest growth as online giving made up 18.9% of their revenue. 
  • Across all sub-sectors, the average donation made online was $177. But there was wide variance among the sub-sectors. For example, in the animal welfare sub-sector, the average donation made online was $61 while in K-12 education, it was $1,640.

According to data from M+R Benchmarks

  • Organic traffic made up 42% of all nonprofit website visits in 2020.
  • 0.08% of the organic traffic donated, representing an average donation of $0.12 per visitor.
  • A report by Funraise indicated that 47% of donors donated to nonprofits through online charity raffles and sweepstakes. 45% donated via an online store that benefits an NPO, 24% through online auctions, and 8% through gaming.

Key takeaway

The COVID-19 pandemic left online fundraising as the only viable option for bringing donations for most nonprofits. However, even before the pandemic, online fundraising was already gaining popularity. Online charitable games such as 50/50 raffles, Catch the Ace, and Sweepstakes will continue to be popular among nonprofits. 

Related: An Introduction to Online Gaming-based Fundraising for Nonprofits 

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Mobile fundraising statistics

According to the M+R Benchmarks Report 2021

  • 50% of traffic to nonprofit websites was mobile, 44% desktop and 6% tablet. The traffic share for mobile devices jumped by 9% in 2020.
  • The average gift made on mobile was $42 (less than the $80 made on a desktop).
  • Online giving trends by Blackbaud showed that 28% of online donations in 2020 were made on a mobile device. The rate has grown steadily over the years, from just 9% in 2014. 

Key takeaway

It is important to include mobile devices in your fundraising strategy. Browsing via mobile has been on the increase as desktop browsing decreased. So, you need to ensure that all donation pages are optimized for mobile to provide a pleasant experience for mobile users.

Social media statistics

The M+R Benchmarks Report 2021 indicates that: 

  • Twitter posts had an average engagement rate of 1.8% whereas Facebook posts had an average engagement rate of 0.32%.
  • An organic Facebook post reached 4% of the nonprofit's fans in 2020. This means the majority of fans didn't see the post. However, the post also reached 29% of people who aren't fans of the nonprofit.
  • To expand reach, 2% of nonprofits used paid post promotion.
  • Revenue from Facebook Fundraisers increased by 14%. Hunger and poverty nonprofits saw the biggest increase with 946%.

According to the 2020 Global Trends in Giving Report by Funraise

  • 40% of people donate through Facebook Fundraising tools. And 88% of them say they are likely to give using these tools again. 
  • 12% donate through Instagram Fundraising tools and 93% of them say they will likely give again through these tools.
  • Of those who give by social media, 56% say Facebook has the most impact. Other impactful social networks are Instagram (21%), Twitter (13%), YouTube (5%), LinkedIn (4%) and WhatsApp (1%).

Key takeaway

As most people prefer to connect with friends and organizations via social media, having a strong social media presence is key. Try using the fundraising tools that social networks provide to increase donations. Also, post content regularly and promote posts when you can.

Email statistics

According to M+R Benchmarks

  • For every 1,000 fundraising messages nonprofits sent, they raised $78 (a 35% increase from 2019).
  • Email list sizes increased by 3% in 2020 (the same rate as in 2019). 
  • The average nonprofit sent an average of 59 emails per subscriber in 2020 (this represents a 17% increase in volume). 
  • The average response rate for a fundraising email was 0.10% (a 41% increase from 2019).
  • Overall email open rates were at 21% (an increase of 9% over 2019). Unsubscribe rates declined to 0.18% (a 5% decrease).

According to the 2020 Global Trends in Giving Report by Funraise:

  • 33% of donors claim that email is the communication tool that most inspires them to give. Other communication tools were rated as follows: print (19%), social media (18%), website (16%), TV ad (7%), radio ad (4%), phone call (2%), and text message (1%).
  • Regular email communication is the communication method most likely to encourage repeat donations (48%). Regular social media communication was rated at 18%, regular print communication at 16%, a handwritten note at 12% and a personal phone call at 6%.

Key takeaway

Despite claims that email is dead, the data proves that email is still a powerful tool for fundraising so, don't ignore it. Send regular emails to your donors to keep them engaged. 

Giving season statistics

  • According to online giving trends by Blackbaud, nearly 40% of online giving happened in the last three months of the year. This is in line with results from offline giving, which show that people give more during the end of the year.

Key takeaway

Year-end fundraising efforts should always be prioritized. Giving Tuesday and the last two days of the calendar year (December 30th and 31st) are just a few of the most important days at the end of the year—so plan for them. Also, consider running online charitable raffles in October, November and December to encourage more donations and exceed your fundraising goals. 

Digital advertising

According to M+R Benchmarks:

  • Spending on digital advertising increased by 33% in 2020. Nonprofits spent an average of $0.10 for every dollar raised.
  • Most nonprofits increased spending on digital advertising towards the end of the year. A third of the spending occurred in December. 
  • Fundraising ads made up 60% of all spending (branding, awareness, or education ads made up 25% and lead generation accounted for 14%). 
  • The cost to get a new lead through digital advertising was $2.60. 
  • Return on ad spend was as follows: search ads ($4.78), social media ($1.05), display ($0.38) and video ($0.27).

Key takeaway

To have the maximum reach, especially on fundraising campaigns, consider paid digital advertising. Simply relying on organic traffic may not give your campaigns enough exposure. 

As you can see from these statistics, online fundraising is growing popular every year. You must embrace it fully as it can help you achieve your fundraising goals and reach out to more donors. These statistics should help you set benchmarks and aid in planning and budgeting so you can determine how well you are doing with your fundraising efforts.  

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