Marketing that Brings in Big Funding for Nonprofits

BY Kathy Crosett
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The average nonprofit organization is an email marketing machine. Last year, these organizations sent out an average of 66 messages per email subscriber. Email continues to be a powerhouse tool for bringing in funding for nonprofits of all sizes. But, these organizations are also using other digital advertising formats to ask for financial aid. Here are the methods that work best for these groups.

Finding Funding for Nonprofits Using Advertising/​Marketing


The latest M&R Benchmarks Study shows that nonprofit organizations experienced an 11% boost in the size of their email ads lists last year. Despite the growth in the names on the email lists, nonprofits averaged email open rates of about 16%. That open rate did not change much from the year before, but the click-​through rates have declined.

The click-​through rates drop was especially noticeable in the funding for nonprofits category, which comprises most of the nonprofit email marketing activity. That click-​through rate now stands at 0.42%.

In total, email remains a huge driver of online revenue for most nonprofit organizations: about 28%. For each 1,000 in fundraising emails sent, nonprofit organizations can expect about $42 in revenue in return.

Other Digital

The declining click-​through rate for email ads has driven exploration through other digital formats to find funding for nonprofits. The M&R Benchmarks Study looked at these formats, too. One of the most intriguing top-​level statistics for nonprofit organizations is that they spend $.05 on marketing for every dollar of online revenue they receive. Overall, nonprofits boosted digital ad spending by 24% in 2017 and will likely boost their investment in digital again this year.

By ad intent, online spending for the typical nonprofit group broke out as follows within the last year:

  • Branding 10%
  • Lead generation 25%
  • Direct fundraising 63%
  • Other 2%

By channel, nonprofits allocate their digital ad budgets in these categories:

  • Digital display 25%
  • Search 28%
  • Social media 44%
  • Other 3%

The average cost per digital lead was $1.46. When looking at return on ad spending (ROAS), search delivers the best bet when finding funding for nonprofits. Every dollar spent on search marketing results in $3.81 coming into the organization. By comparison, social media marketing is about a break-​even proposition at $0.97.

The M&R Benchmarks report contains great information about marketing activities by type of nonprofit organization. You can combine that data with what you will find about target audiences in the AudienceSCAN profiles at AdMall from SalesFuel. Use all of these great statistics to help nonprofit organizations in your area improved their marketing and the great work they are doing.