The biennial Nonprofit Tech for Good Report is out!

Based on a survey, the goal was to understand how nonprofits use technology for digital fundraising and marketing. The report has lots of interesting findings you should review.

I am going to share a few of the results with you, along with takeaways and analysis you can learn from.


📈 Data point: 94% of organizations have a website that is optimized for mobile.

That’s excellent! Given that so many people today use their phones to browse, Google, check for info and more, a mobile friendly site is a must.

Please check: Make sure that every single page of your site is mobile responsive, especially the online donation form. Given that over 50% of people read emails on their phone, a decent amount of traffic to that page is from phones. Want more donations? Make sure that page is optimized for mobile.


📈 Data point: 68% utilize email marketing.

One-third of organizations aren’t?! That’s bad.

Email has so many advantages:

  • One-to-one conversation with an individual subscriber
  • Can be used for fundraising, storytelling, demonstrating impact, advocacy and much much more
  • Great platform for building relationships
  • Mobilizing people to take action is just one click away.

Email should be a major piece in your diversified fundraising and marketing portfolio.

Wanna learn how to upgrade your email efforts, in five minutes a week, for free? Sign up for The Send!

📈 Data point: 68% are sending an email once a month or less.

When I work with clients on their email strategy, this is a pain point I have to solve. Sometimes there isn’t a dedicated staff member to manage the organization’s enews. Sometimes they’re not sure what content to send out.

And then of course there’s the bosses who prefer to send fewer emails because “if we send too often, we’ll anger our supporters and subscribers.”

Just the opposite!

Think about “out of sight, out of mind.” Email is a conversation. If I hear from you regularly, then the conversation continues. But when you stop talking to subscribers for a month or more at a time, they’ve moved on to other interests. You’ve lost them.

Have a strategy so that your email is moving your fundraising and marketing forward.

📈 Data point: Only 38% delete unengaged subscribers regularly.

You shower. Brush your teeth. Clean up.

Now consider what would happen if you didn’t do those things for a week. A month. Six months.

Gross, eh?

Data hygiene is no different. If you’re not cleaning up your email subscriber list regularly, the data will get dirty. And that’s going to cause major health problems to your email efforts.

Email providers such as Gmail are looking to see if people open your emails, if they click on your links. If users never interact with your email, email providers begin to wonder why not.

Maybe your emails are spam? You know they’re not but Gmail doesn’t! In fact, at some point, Gmail might decide to send ALL your emails to Gmail addresses to the Spam folder or reject them completely.

This is just one of the reasons why removing unengaged subscribers from your list is critical. Email lists aren’t a quantity game. It’s a quality game.

Takeaway: The number of people on your list is not a metric for measuring success. The number of people clicking on call-to-action buttons in your email is.

Want more people clicking? Stop sending your emails to people who never interact with them.

Data point: 63% use personalization.

Let me add two more data points which explain how important personalization is to email success:

  • Emails with personalized subject lines generate 50% higher open rates
  • Personalized email can increase click-thru-rate up to 35%

Email is a conversation between someone at your organization and an individual subscriber. Create that by using the person’s first name in the subject line and/or opening your emails with their first name.

To quote Dale Carnegie: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Simple example: If on your website email sign up form you ask for first name, then the welcome email I receive after signing up should start “Hi Ephraim” or “Welcome Ephraim” or “Thanks for signing up Ephraim.”

Online fundraising

📈 Data point: 50% provide donors the option to cover processing fees.

That should be 100%! Your online donation form should have an unchecked checkbox which asks donors to cover the processing fees.

According to Qgiv’s Generational Giving Report, Millennials are more than likely to help cover the processing fees. And they’re not the only ones. Make sure to include it on the form!

📈 Data point: Only 39% have a year-round retention strategy for online donors.


The sector’s donor retention rate is an abysmal 45%. First time donors? 18-20%.

Acquiring new donors can cost 5-10 times MORE than retaining current ones. Yet as a whole, nonprofits stink at retaining supporters.

Part of the reason is a lack of a strategy. A fundraising strategy shouldn’t focus on raising money. It’s about building relationships- connecting with donors, engaging them in conversation, letting them know how they’re solving a problem in their community.

If your fundraising and marketing strategy focuses more on the money and less on the donors themselves, you’ll always be chasing your own tail.

📈 Data point: 70% of organizations send an automatic donation receipt via email.

What are the other 30% doing?!

The whole point of giving online is it’s instantaneous. The donor doesn’t have to write a check and mail it and your organization doesn’t have to wait a week to receive it.

So if someone donates online, they should receive a thank you email (with receipt) right away!

I’d also add that the type of email you send matters a ton.

Is your email warm, heartfelt, sincere, full of love and gratitude for the donor? Or is it perfunctory, bizlike, boring and reads like this: “Thank you for your donation of $30. We will use it to help kids in need. For tax purposes, this email…..” Snoozefest!

Fix your auto emails going out after an online donation. Why?

“The thank you is the single most important piece of communication that your donors get. They have a higher recall of it than the appeal that generated the gift.” – Dr. Adrian Sargeant, Co-Director, Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy

Gratitude matters.

Image by Sasiepre from Pixabay

Data point: 22% use text to give.

95% of people open a text message within 3 minutes.

A large percent of the population uses text to communicate. Yet for some reason, nonprofits haven’t jumped on the text train to grow their organizations.

There are different types of ways to use text. But it can help you with recurring giving, year-end appeals, advocacy efforts, campaigns and more.

Include text in your fundraising and marketing arsenal.

Social media

📈 Data point: 53% spend on social media advertising.

Unfortunately, it’s a pay-to-play world in social media land, especially on Facebook. (98% of those that spend on ads are doing so on Facebook.) The algorithms aren’t necessarily prioritizing your content and your followers see it less and less.

Want them to be exposed to more of your posts, pictures and videos? You’ll have to pay.

As much as that might pain you, paying for ads doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. A few dollars a day can help get your message in front of hundreds and thousands of people.

Spend a buck to make a buck.

Most effective digital fundraising and marketing tools

The report ranked a list of 20 tools. I was not surprised that website ranked number one. But I was surprised that social media ranked number two, higher than email.

If you’re using ads (see previous section), then social media can be a very engaging digital tool. But unlike your website and email, social media is owned by someone else. They’re pulling the levers and controlling what people are and are not exposed to.

This is why I believe in investing time and money in email to propel your organization’s growth. Social media CAN do the same but email can be a more cost-efficient driver of donations and an easier platform for building relationships.

Read through the entire report. Plenty of great data to learn from!