Attention Nonprofit #datanerds: 3 Research Studies and 3 Cool (FREE) Data Tools | Beth's Blog

Attention Nonprofit #datanerds: 3 Research Studies and 3 Cool (FREE) Data Tools


March is not only great for basketball, but is also good for nonprofit research studies about digital strategies and  launches of new data tools.    So if you like looking at and thinking about data and love to get your hands dirty with a data jujitsu, here’s a couple of goodies for you.


2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study

Key Finding: Online nonprofit fundraising is on the rise, with explosive growth in sustaining gifts and a larger audience of supporters reached through social media networks like Facebook!

The 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, conducted by M+R Strategic Services and NTEN, examines data from 55 nonprofits in sectors ranging from rights to environmental issues.   This year’s study – the seventh Benchmarks report – analyzes 1.6 billion email messages sent to 45 million list subscribers, 7.3 million advocacy actions, and more than $438 million online donations from over 6.5 million online gifts collected throughout 2012.    This year’s study shows the  growth of social media audiences outpaced email lists in 2012, growing an average of 46 percent on Facebook and 264 percent on Twitter. However, Facebook continues to be king for connecting with supporters on social media, reaching 149 Facebook fans for every 1,000 email subscribers.   The report provides benchmarks for FB and Twitter, including engagement rates and fan growth rate.  Download your copy here or browse the infographic here.

Echoing Justice: Communications Strategies for Community Organizing

Key Finding: More than one third (36%) of respondents allocate less than $10,000 to communications annually. Four fifths of respondents (80%) report that their communications staff have one year or less of experience or training

Echoing Justice is an action research project of the Echo Justice Communications Collaborative—a multi-year initiative to incubate, innovate, and implement movement building communications strategies that strengthen racial justice alliances and their impact.  You can download the summary and full report here or read this interview with Center for Media Justice ED Malkia Cyril in Forbes Magazine that shares the social media secrets of top movement leaders.

DIGITAL PERSUASION: How Social Media Motivates Action And Drives Support For Causes.

This research was a joint effort of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication, the exhaustive study surveyed more than 2,000 digitally engaged adults to understand how social media is influencing offline behavior in support of social causes.   The research looks at how  social media engagement produces significant offline involvement.  Of those who engage with a cause via social media, 68% donated money, 52% gave personal items or food, 43% attended or participated in an event, and more than half, 53%, even volunteered their time.  The study also reveals a nuanced analysis of cause supporters.     More than 30 pages of insights and information, the study can guide strategy for  increasing reach and impact of  cause marketing, or social media programs.  You can download the study here.



Just as were adjusting to life without Google Reader, there’s a rumor going around that Google Alerts is next one to be killed off.    Colleague Nancy Schwartz shared this post from Mashable about a new free tool called Mention.  I immediately checked it out and simply love it for its simplicity and ease of use.   Even if the rumor is not true,   I’m switching to this tool.   Some more alternatives and discussion from nonprofit folks here.

Retweet Lab

Hubspot just launched Retweet Lab.  Plug in your Twitter ID and it generates an analysis of your tweets in terms of best time to RT, best day to RT, most RT words, and other data, although the sentiment analysis might be less useful. Google Analytics Report Infographic

This tool is fun.  It automatically creates an infographic of a basic google analytics report.   Great way to summarize a basic report for folks.

How will you use the information in the reports above to help guide your digital strategy?    Take any of the above tools for a test drive?  What do you think – a regular part of your toolbox or not?






10 Responses

  1. Ann Emery says:

    Beth, Love the t-shirt! Where can I buy one?

  2. Beth says:

    Ann – you could create your own on CafePress

  3. Melanie says:

    Alerts now?? What is Google doing to us?!? 🙂

  4. Craig Grella says:

    In my experience, studies like these tend to oversimplify the data. 55 nonprofits isn’t exactly a large enough pool from which to draw industry-wide inference, especially when it’s being split into large, medium, small – 3 groups with undoubtedly different resources and needs. At last count there were 1.5 million tax exempt orgs in the US alone.

    I would also love to see some information about the tone or context of the content in the emails or social updates, as that may have just as much to do with engagement or click through rates as any assumed trend in national or international whimsy.

    With that said, I do like the thoughts generated in the “Spectator’s corner.” They take a stab at potential causes for the variance.

  5. […] March is not only great for basketball, but is also good for nonprofit research studies about digital strategies and launches of new data tools.  […]

  6. Beth says:

    Hi Craig: Thanks for your insights here … There is such limited data like the e-benchmarks study in the nonprofit sector about use of digital tools – that we’re all hungry for it despite limitations in the methods. The study gets better every year though …

  7. Beth says:

    Melanie: Follow the Mashable link – it’s still in the rumor stage, but I’m not going to get caught without my google alerts. I’ve fallen in love with Mention – it is rawks.

  8. Julie Hong says:

    Hi Beth, I agree with your concerns about Google Alerts’quality. I would also recommend Talkwalker Alerts as a free alternative to Google Alerts. Existing Google Alerts can be simply imported on this tool and results are available via RSS. If you want to try it:

  9. Beth says:

    Hi Julie: Thanks for sharing another alternative to google alerts will check it out.

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