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The Value of "Online Engagement" for NFPs

Monday, 5th May 2008 at 11:08 am
Staff Reporter
A US online marketing benchmark study reveals the value of 'Online Engagement' between Not for Profits and donors.

Monday, 5th May 2008
at 11:08 am
Staff Reporter



The Value of "Online Engagement" for NFPs
Monday, 5th May 2008 at 11:08 am

A US online marketing benchmark study reveals the value of ‘Online Engagement’ between Not for Profits and donors.

Convio, Inc. has launched the results of its second annual Convio Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index™ Study designed to help NFP marketing, advocacy, fundraising and communications professionals evaluate what online marketing metrics to focus on, evaluate how their organisation is doing and determine targets to set for the future.

This year’s study uses data compiled from more than 400 organisations.

The study aggregates results into benchmarks that organisations can compare against their peer group and the industry as a whole.

Gene Austin, Chief Executive Officer of Convio says 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 NFP organisations.

Austin says 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

Convio says by comparing itself against a benchmark of its peers, a Not for Profit organisation can begin to identify which areas of its online marketing program are performing well or are underperforming.

This quantitative approach to measuring success gives organisations 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:
NFP Web site Traffic Continues to Grow. The total number of unique visitors to Web sites of NFP organisations with fewer than 250,000 email addresses on file grew 10.79 percent. NFP organisations with more than 250,000 email addresses on file, 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 organisations 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 complement offline activities as a way to engage more constituents.
Revenue Growth. Total NFP online revenue including eCommerce grew at 25 percent across the study organisations.
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 organisations 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.

An executive summary of the findings is available at http://www.convio.com/resources/nonprofit-sector-research.html.

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