Nonprofit Marketing and Tech Research Released

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I can’t be the only one who looks forward to the release of good marketing and technology research. If I am, indulge me and play along.

For several years, Convio and Blackbaud — supported by Common Knowledge and NTEN this year — have respectively conducted and published renowned research on the state of nonprofit online marketing and technology.

While the research is generally an annual retrospective of the previous year’s marketing behaviors of participating nonprofit organizations, each also serves as a weather gauge for the upcoming year. The research also serves as a peek into the lives of a nonprofit’s neighbors so they can start “keeping up with the Joneses.”

The Convio Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index Study is a wide-reach across the world of online marketing, with the purpose to highlight key online trends and to help nonprofits compare the success of their online programs against their peers.

The [Blackbaud, et al.] Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report is a deep-dive within the worlds of internal and external social technology platforms, with a scope that “provides insights for nonprofits, foundations, media and businesses serving the nonprofit sector about the most important behavior and trends surrounding social networking as part of nonprofits’ marketing, communications, fundraising, program and IT work.”

Under The Microscope

As to not waste your valuable time or jeopardize future traffic for my columns and all other columns here, I will not unearth every stone from the combined 93 pages of research.

However, I would like to examine some of the most salient findings that I feel are litmus tests for all nonprofits and nonprofit staff — regardless of where you might find yourself in the marketing and technology landscape.

Will the real online fundraising trend please stand up?

According to Convio, in 2011 online fundraising experienced a median growth rate of nearly 16 percent.

This is actually down from 2010’s growth rate of 20 percent.

However, 2010 was not an average year for nonprofits — especially nonprofits with a footprint in Haiti. The two years prior, 2008 and 2009, saw a growth rate of 14 percent.

If “flat is the new growth” when comparing 2011 online fundraising trends to 2010, then small nonprofits are standing tall. Organizations with 10,000 or fewer email addresses grew by over 26 percent in median revenue, similar to 2010’s growth rate.

It can safely be concluded that online fundraising is an increasingly powerful development tool that is quickly becoming the norm instead of a novelty.

Twitter is faster, but Facebook is bigger

According to Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report respondents, Facebook presence grew by 30% and Twitter presence grew by an astounding 81%.

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The study goes on to report that the average marketing spend for the acquisition of a new Facebook Like is $3.50, with an average value of a Facebook Like of *$214.81 over the 12 months following acquisition (*average 12–month value using email, direct mail, telemarketing and/or direct response television following acquisition) — that is a 6,000% return on investment (ROI).

Not bad at all!

It is surprising to me how under-populated and underutilized Foursquare and LinkedIn are, especially compared to private business counterparts. They do not belong in the basement with MySpace, but I digress.

It should be noted that Google+ and Pinterest didn’t emerge as players in most of 2011, but that will change with next year’s report.


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