Jewish Organizations Grew Online Revenue 32 percent in 2008

This past Thursday, Convio, Inc. announced the results of its annual Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Study. The study also looked at 14 industry sub-groups, and provided those results to their clients.

Here, provided exclusively for our eJewish Philanthropy community are highlights of what Convio learned from their Jewish organization clients:

Jewish Philanthropy Taking Leadership Role Online

For the third year, Convio has published a comprehensive study which looks at the online marketing results for nearly 600 nonprofit organizations. The study compiles a series of benchmarks for evaluating fundraising, email, advocacy and marketing success online. This year’s study also includes the addition of a “Jewish” vertical, which focuses on organizations that provide human services, aid to Israel and support for issues of importance to Jewish constituents (results from 12 Jewish organizations using the Convio system for more than one year were aggregated to generate the results).

Looking at the results of these Jewish organizations shows that in nearly all measures of online endeavor, they are experiencing success via the online channel – in fact Jewish organizations grew their online revenue by 32 percent in 2008, despite the difficult economy.

In 2008, Jewish organizations grew Website traffic at a 28 percent rate, making it the second highest vertical behind Associations and Membership organizations. This growth is important since a charity’s Website is often the first touch point between an organization and individual. When used effectively, it can convey the importance of an organization’s mission, help register new constituents and generate desired actions such as making a donation or signing a petition. In addition, last year’s ground breaking research into the habits of mid-level and major donors showed that these people will often visit an organizations Website prior to making a gift – whether the gift is online or through a traditional channel.

Jewish organizations had a usable percentage of total email file of 66 percent. Again, this was in the top three of all organizations. In a world of increasing email spam, geographical mobility and job hopping, the higher the usable number of email files the better the channel is at engaging constituents. This also indicates a higher affinity and commitment to the organization by the individual.

In addition to the high usability rate of email files, the Jewish vertical grew their email files at a 24 percent rate. While below the median of all the other verticals, this is still a healthy rate of growth. The growth indicates that organizations are using multiple channels (traditional and online) to grow their email files and the number of people they can connect with. (When compared to other mass marketing nonprofits the volume of visitors and emails files for Jewish organizations is often smaller, but the engagement of these smaller, close-knit communities is helping to drive success.)

Getting to the really good stuff

Many people turn directly to online revenue as their first area of interest. For all nonprofit organizations, online revenue grew from 2007 to 2008 at a 14 percent rate, even in the depressed economy. While that growth rate is very good, considering reports of direct mail and other channels dropping, Jewish organization crushed the median with their 32 percent rate of growth.

Even in the fourth quarter when the economy took a turn for the worst, Jewish organizations saw a 19 percent growth rate, compared to an industry average of 3 percent.

The median total fundraising for Jewish organizations was $264,180 ($30,000 more than the median of all organizations) and the average online gift was 6x that of other verticals coming in at $405.04 (compared to $67.47 for all organizations). Convio believes this number may drop in coming years as more donors give monthly sustaining gifts online and organizations adopt more peer-to-peer online tools which will provide an increase in funds raised, but could result in smaller average gifts.

The bottom line, Jewish organizations are having success at driving traffic to their Websites by using the best practices in multichannel marketing. Once there they are effectively converting these people into re-registered constituents who are being cultivated into donors.

Comparing your organization’s performance against that of peer and other organizations allows you to continue to refine tactics, improve the effectiveness of fundraising initiatives, and allocate resources more effectively.

Compared to other nonprofit verticals these Jewish organizations are setting the bar of success very high and moving more and more people to support their causes.

Still not raising money online – what more do you need to know?

If you would like to receive the full report from Convio email them at You need to reference eJewish Philanthropy.