Online Revenue Up; Open Rates Down in 2016, study says

Capturing information from 133 nonprofits of every size, shape, and issue area – reviewing in-depth data covering web, email, social media, digital advertising, and more, the eleventh edition of Benchmarks has been released.

The result is a comprehensive guide to the trends and tactics that are driving nonprofit online programs. Here are a few of the key notes from the 2017 Benchmarks Study:

  • Online revenue grew by 14% in 2016, with email revenue growing at a significant 24%.
  • Online audiences increased: web traffic was up 4%, email list sizes grew by 10%, Facebook fans increased 23%, Twitter 50%, Instagram 101%.
  • Nonprofits in the Study invested more in digital ads, increasing ad spending (including paid search, display, and social media advertising) by 69%.
  • Most individual email metrics went down. Open rates declined by 7% overall, for an average just under 15%. Response rates for advocacy messages declined by 17% to 1.6%. For fundraising messages, the response rate was just 0.05% – a drop of 8% from 2015.
  • For every 1,000 fundraising email messages delivered, nonprofits raised $36.

Ever wondered how many people really see your Facebook posts? How your peers are allocating their digital ads budgets? How your own email, fundraising, and advocacy results stack up?

You’ll find all that and more in the 2017 Benchmarks Study. Download the study now, or explore the full set of data and analysis online at