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Non-Profits and the Web

Posted on 2.16.2006
New Study Shows Nonprofits Raised 40% More Money Online in 2005;
E-Mail List Growth High, But E-Mail Turnover Rates High Also

A new study examining the increasing importance of the Internet to nonprofits revealed a surge of online donations along with marketing and advocacy benefits from building an Internet constituency.

The ENonprofit Benchmarks Study, released this week, is the first of its kind to look at the overall effectiveness of nonprofits using the Internet to raise money, build e-mail lists, and influence political causes. The study provides an across-the-board look at how well leading American nonprofits are performing online.

“These days, for dot-coms, success on the Internet is based on sales and revenue,” says Benjamin Smith, vice president at M+R Strategic Services and a study co-author. “For nonprofits, success online is more difficult to measure. Is it the quality of information provided, donations collected, or impact on policy? This study helps nonprofits identify key success metrics to evaluate their programs.”

The study analyzes data on online fundraising and political activism, e-mail messaging, e-mail list growth, and other metrics from 2003 to 2005. The data came from 15 top national nonprofits working in on environmental, legal/civil rights, and international aid issues, and from three top providers of online communications tools for nonprofits.

The ENonprofit Benchmarks Study (available online at was co-authored by M+R Strategic Services and the Advocacy Institute. It was sponsored by the Advocacy Institute, Beaconfire Consulting, Convio, Donordigital, GetActive Software, Kintera and M+R Strategic Services. Additional funding was provided by the Beldon Fund and the Surdna Foundation.

You can review and discuss key finding from the study in the Website Services Forum.

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