Online Growth Despite Economic Downturn
30 March 2009 at 4:36 pm
A new Benchmark Study by Convio indicates online growth despite the economic downturn. Despite the chaos of the last several months, the Convio Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index Study indicates that online engagement – whether it is fundraising, advocacy or building a constituent database – continues to see positive growth even in a down economy.
For the third year in a row, Convio has conducted the annual study to allow Not for Profit marketers and fundraisers to evaluate themselves against their peers and develop strategies to maintain and/or improve performance.
This year’s results come from nearly 600 responses representing millions of online interactions and transactions.
Although many Not for Profits are experiencing negative growth via traditional channels, the online channel is playing a vital role in complementing offline strategies to acquire new supporters and nurture constituent relationships. For many organisations online remains a growth engine.
Key findings of the study include:
– Positive Year-Over-Year Growth in All Areas of Online Success – Web traffic grew at a 20 percent rate and email file growth was 28 percent year-over-year. The researcher say these results bode well for many organisations; the larger an organisation’s communication reach, the more constituents who are available to help them achieve their goals, whether that is raising more money, mobilizing more advocates, or simply increasing awareness.
– Increase in Number of Gifts Driving Robust Online Revenue Growth – Despite a challenging economy by end of year, a robust 14 percent growth in online revenue was achieved. For the first quarter through the third quarter, the growth rate was 18 percent. Revenue growth was fueled by an increase in the number of gifts organisations received in 2008. The impact that the economy had on the average gift was felt in the fourth quarter. The fact that we are seeing more donors, even though the sizes of the gifts are flat is still promising for the future.
– Special Consideration: Fourth Quarter 2008 – Overall Not for Profits experienced a three percent growth in online revenue in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to an 18 percent gain for the first quarter through the third quarter. While the economy had a significant impact, the efficiency and effectiveness of the online channel compared favourably to other channels with many groups reporting a decline in fourth quarter direct mail giving.
– Large Organisations Outperformed Smaller Organisations – Large organisations seem to be faring better in the recession as seen by the fact that they raised seven times more money on average during the entire year and 11 times that of smaller organisations during the fourth quarter of 2008. This is not to say that smaller organisations are not seeing growth and a solid return on investment, but rather the strong brand, resources and higher levels of sophistication in online marketing techniques of the larger organisations are an advantage in a bad economy.
Download the Executive Summary at my.convio.com/forms"