We’re all on a wave of increased revenue from digital sources. But to ride this wave to shore, you need to start improving your email fundraising game.
We trust that by now you’ve read the 2020 Spool to Sphere Comparison.
(If you haven’t, it’s okay. This is a judgment-free zone. But we really recommend you read it as soon as possible. In fact, just go read it immediately after you’re finished here…)
As you’ll remember, the Spool to Sphere had a lot to say about the rising star of digital fundraising. Our nonprofit partners certainly experienced it: 70% of the Thread Spool reported raising more on digital platforms in 2020 than they did in 2019. We also cited a lot of research from NextAfter’s Small Nonprofit Benchmark Study about trends in digital.
Unfortunately, one of our favorite reports about digital fundraising – The M+R Benchmarks – wasn’t yet available when we put together the Spool to Sphere Comparison.
However, it’s ready now! And in the interest of being thorough and complete, we’re here to comment on what caught our attention from M+R, and to share with you, our Spool, why you should care and what to do next.
Yes, You Need to Keep Improving at Email Fundraising
The big headline of the 2021 M+R Benchmarks was that online revenue increased 32% across the board (and 173% for hunger and poverty alleviation nonprofits – yow and wow!).
Diving one level deeper, M+R also asked survey respondents how their Covid response affected their online fundraising performance. The study found that nonprofits that provided Covid-19 relief, be it directly or through advocacy, saw a 40% bump in online revenue, compared to a 22% increase for those that did not do any work around Covid-19.
Now, it is easy to get stuck on that 40% stat. That’s a very healthy figure. Any organization would want 40% growth in online revenue! However, we don’t want you to brush aside the 22% uptick in online revenue for nonprofits that didn’t work on Covid. That’s still bonkers good!
So, what do these numbers mean to you and your fundraising strategy?
They mean we’re all on a wave of increased revenue from digital sources, and it’s a good thing.
They mean that to ride this wave all the way to shore, you need to keep getting better and smarter at digital fundraising.
And yes, we appreciate that’s a big, unwieldy statement. Digital fundraising is a huge umbrella. You might be at a loss of where to start.
We’re here to tell you: start with your email fundraising game.
The other thing that caught our attention about email from M+R’s study was the increased volume of email happening – a 17% increase over 2019 to be exact. M+R noted that nonprofits sent an average of 59 email messages per subscriber in 2020: 23 fundraising messages, 12 newsletters, 9 advocacy messages, and 15 “other.”
We made a big to-do in the Spool to Sphere Comparison about how small and community-based nonprofits can really stand to send more email to their community, because you get no credit for being quiet. The figures from M+R back up that advice.
We know, we know. We all complain about how much email we get. However, consider that how we interact with email has changed significantly over the years, and because we’re all doing more email, the floor has really shifted here. If your development communications strategy doesn’t keep moving upstairs with your peers, you’ll find yourself left in the basement with the lights out.
Want to talk more details about email fundraising? We do too! Give us a shout at [email protected] and we’ll get the conversation going.