One important part of effective digital measurement is being able to benchmark your performance relative to your organization’s past performance or compared to peer organizations. One excellent resource to use for benchmarking nonprofit digital results (in the US) is the annual M&R Benchmarks study of nonprofit digital advocacy. For the past 11 years, this study has gathered comparative metrics from nonprofits on email, social media, social advertising, fundraising, and web engagement.
There is a quite a lot of data as well as useful analysis from M&R. But overall the trend is that nonprofits are reaching more people more frequently in more places, and in return they’re seeing increases in revenue.
I was most interested in seeing what the trends were on digital ad spending, including social ads. Overall dollars spent on digital ads grew by 69% — but there were wide differences between nonprofits in different sectors, but large, medium, and even small nonprofits increased their ad budgets. As paid promotion becomes an increasingly important piece of the online marketing puzzle, it’s not just the giant national nonprofits getting in on the game.
The study does not conduct a comprehensive ROI study of digital spending, but does describe how much nonprofits are spending per dollar raised online. For every dollar a nonprofit raises online, they spent 4 cents on digital ads. As nonprofits, especially those newer to investing in digital ads try to determine just how much they need to budget, this might be a useful metric. It is important to note that social ads accounted for 23% of the total budget.
For details about, see the digital ads part of the study. The M&R study is an important part of your nonprofit’s digital strategy toolkit for planning and evaluation. It not only includes the data, but walks you through a process of benchmarking your nonprofit. Go download the study now!