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By April 26, 2018No Comments

Online revenue for nonprofits grew by 23 percent during 2017, after a 15 percent increase the year before, with email revenue accounting for 28 percent of all online giving. But email open rates declined by 1 percent during the same time period. That is all according to the latest  M+R Benchmarks Study, an annual report by the fundraising firm which this year collected data from 154 nonprofit participants on all things digital, from email and social media to websites and digital advertising.

This year the survey uncovered the power of email for collecting donor funds but also showed a slowing of email giving. According to the report, open rates for fundraising and advocacy emails shrank by 1 percent. But unfortunately, fundraising email click-through rates went down 6 percent (to 0.42 percent). Also related to email donor campaigns, page completion rates were down 6% for fundraising messages (to 17 percent) and 4 percent for advocacy messages (to 76 percent).

Nonprofit donors also continued to follow regular digital trends by slowly moving away from desktop interactions to mobile interactions with their favorite nonprofit. In 2017, half of visitors to nonprofit websites used desktop or laptop computers. That’s down about four percent from 2016. Meanwhile, the share of mobile traffic increased by 9 percent and accounted for 40 percent of nonprofit website visitors in 2017.

Even though web traffic is slowly moving towards mobile, giving is still done mainly at a desktop. While desktop users represented 50 percent of the traffic to nonprofit sites, they generated 68 percent of the donations and 76 percent of the revenue. After reaching a nonprofit’s main donation page, desktop users completed a gift 20 percent of the time. Mobile users had just an 8 percent conversion rate, and tablet users were in between at 16 percent. Not only were desktop users more likely to complete a gift, but they also gave significantly larger gifts on average than mobile users.

Together, these differences mean that while desktop users represented 50 percent of the traffic to nonprofit sites, they generated 68 percent of the donations and 76 percent of the revenue. Even though desktop giving still dominates, mobile giving was up 50 percent from 2016 to 2017. So it can be forecasted that the transition from desktop to mobile will continue for the foreseeable future not only for all traffic, but for giving as well.

The 118-page report is full of digital data from the nonprofit sector and it can be accessed at


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