UK nonprofits saw 35% rise in online revenue in 2020

M+R Benchmarks survey cover

On average, nonprofits in the UK reported a 35% increase in online revenue in 2020 from the previous year, according to the first M+R UK Digital Benchmarks study.

Running in the US for 14 years and now brought to the UK by Rally and M+R, the UK Digital Benchmarks Study reports on data for fundraising, digital ads, email, social media, website engagement, and mobile, and at some of the differences between US and UK digital programmes.

55 UK charities participated, sharing data on all elements of their digital activity, including their digital ad spends and returns, website performance, social media activity and email results. Results went live this month.

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The study shows that the growth in online revenue was primarily driven by more people giving, rather than people giving more, with UK nonprofits receiving 27% more gifts in 2020 than they did in 2019.

They also reported disproportionate growth in cash giving, compared to both regular giving and their US counterparts. In fact, while regular giving saw 22% growth, revenue from cash giving increased by 65% over the previous year.

The average cash gift declined from £55 to £49, while the average regular gift grew slightly from £9 to £10. 

Fundraising key stats

Email & social media findings

The study also shows that most email metrics — including open rates, click-through rates, response rates, and page completion rates — improved in 2020. Email volume for UK organisations increased by 45% last year, but was still far lower than email volume for US nonprofits. Fundraising message volume in particular increased by 72% in the UK.

The average response rate for advocacy emails was 5.9%, while the average response rate for fundraising emails was 0.63%. For every 1,000 fundraising emails sent, UK nonprofits raised £211. In the US, the comparable figure is £51 per 1,000 emails.

Facebook continues to be the social media platform with the largest follower base. For every 1,000 email addresses, UK nonprofits had an average of 1,450 Facebook fans, 864 Twitter followers, and 346 Instagram followers. Twitter posts had an average engagement rate of 2.2%, and Facebook posts had an average engagement score of 0.35%.

Revenue from Facebook Fundraisers was flat from 2019 levels, and accounted for 0.54% of online revenue for UK organisations and each organic Facebook post only reached 7% of a UK nonprofit page’s fans. However, 30% of the audience reached by a given post was not already following the nonprofit.

The full results from the study are available on the M+R Benchmarks site.