Many big U.S. charities are leaving significant money on the table because of their ineptitude in online fundraising, a new study has found.
Dunham+Co., a consulting outfit, and Next After, a fundraising think tank, analyzed the online practices of 151 charities, of which 100 appeared on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Philanthropy 400 largest organizations.
They wanted to find out how well nonprofit groups were keeping pace with changes in the current fundraising environment.
Online giving by charitably inclined Americans has been the most successful fundraising channel over the past 10 years, growing by double-digit rates and now exceeding $20 billion annually, Steve MacLaughlin, director of Blackbaud’s Idea Lab, wrote in a sidebar comment on the study.
Researchers went online to the 151 nonprofits to experience, document and assess 46 different metrics across four online fundraising processes.
Their findings include some bits of good news, startling deficiencies and areas that need improving.
The study first looked at the email registration process, positing that how an organization grows its email database is critically important. It noted that many other studies had shown that the more email addresses an organization has on file, the more money it can raise online.
Researchers found the following:
- 76% of charities made it easy to find their email sign-up form
- However, 66% of email sign-up offers provided little-to-no interest to a potential donor
- And 84% of charities presented a non-exclusive email sign-up offer
The study’s second area of focus was email communication, split into two components: the Email Message Envelope (To Line, From Line, Subject Line) and Email Message Body.