April 25, 2019
Study: The Desktop Experience Will Shape Fundraising Success

August 11, 2018 — Although mobile traffic is growing, the desktop experience still reigns supreme and will strongly influence the giving behavior of donors to nonprofits, and shape the success of online fundraising for the foreseeable future, according to a recently completed national survey.

The M+R Benchmarks study of 154 nonprofits, which examined 4.7 billion email messages, 527 million web visits, and 11.9 million donations, found, "Not only were desktop users more likely to complete a gift, but they also gave significantly larger gifts on average than mobile users."

While desktop users represent 50% of the traffic to nonprofit sites, they generate 68% of the donations and 76% of the revenue, the study found, noting, "Supporters may simply be more comfortable pulling out their credit card for a large gift while sitting down at a computer at work or home."

Most importantly, it advised that the desktop experience is the most important consideration when developing online content.

"Nonprofit website strategy, design, and content will be a huge factor in the success of online fundraising moving forward. If it’s hard to read and interact with a website, let alone make a donation, users will give up before they’ve even started," the report stated.

It also found that:
  • Nearly half of web users expect a website to load in two seconds or less.

  • A one-second delay in page load time can lead to an 11% decrease in traffic, and significantly fewer conversions

  • A nonprofit that received $1 million in online revenue in 2017 might be expected to spend about $50,000 on digital advertising.
Nearly two-thirds of the funds nonprofits spend on digital promotion goes to direct fundraising. One-quarter is spent on lead generation, and 10% is spent on branding, awareness, or education ads, with variation correlating to size of organization.

Once donors give online, they tend to keep giving that way. According to the study, on average, 38% of donors who made an online gift to a nonprofit in 2016 made an online gift again to that nonprofit in 2017. First-time donors had an average retention rate of 25%, while repeat donors had a 60% retention rate.

Other study findings included the following:
    Cultural nonprofits had particularly high fundraising email open rates (23%, compared to a 15% average); strong click-through rates (0.58%, compared to a 0.42% average).

  • The Education sector experienced the highest average unsubscribe rate of any sector (0.21%, compared to a 0.16% overall average).

  • Environmental nonprofits sent more email messages per year per subscriber than any other sector: 89 emails in 2017, compared to an overall average of 66.

  • Health nonprofits had the lowest email volume, sending 38 messages per subscriber per year compared to an overall average of 66. They sent the fewest fundraising messages per subscriber per year as well, just 6 appeals compared to an average of 25.

  • The average non-email online donation to Hunger/Poverty nonprofits was $169, well above the overall average of $113.

  • The International sector retained just 20% of new donors, compared to an overall average of 25%.

  • Monthly giving made up 24% of all online revenue to Rights nonprofits in 2017, higher than the overall average of 16%.

  • Wildlife/Animal Welfare nonprofits received the highest share of online revenue from email: 57% of online revenue was sourced to email, compared to an overall average of 28%.

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