Digital Fundraising Hurting NonProfits

Despite their cost advantages, email fundraising campaigns aren’t delivering the needed results, especially compared with traditional mail campaigns, say nonprofit leaders and executives in a recent survey by accounting firm Marks Paneth.

Only 3% of nonprofit leaders say email fundraising campaigns are “very effective” replacements for traditional paper mailing campaigns. Forty-three percent say they’re “somewhat effective” replacements, and 35% say they’re not particularly effective, according to Nonprofit Pulse, a national survey of 114 CEOs, executive directors, CFOs, treasurers, COOs, development directors, vice presidents and board members of nonprofits with annual budgets between $10 million and $200 million.

Interestingly, the vast majority of nonprofit leaders – 82% – say they’re concerned that increasing dependence on digital channels may actually be diminishing the effectiveness of their communications with supporters.

Glimmers of Hope

“Despite the difficulties many charities are having when leveraging digital communications to rally support, there remains a sense of optimism – a belief that better digital techniques will emerge,” says Michael McNee, CPA, Partner-in-Charge of the Nonprofit and Government Group at Marks Paneth.

For instance:

  • Nearly six in 10 nonprofit leaders (59%) say that organizations like theirs will draw on strategies employed by crowd-funding websites.
  • Twelve percent say their organizations currently use external crowd-funding sites, and another 25% say they plan to.

The Nonprofit Pulse: A Leadership Study from Marks Paneth represents the findings of a survey of nonprofit leaders in the United States. The 114 nonprofit sector leaders participating in the research include Board Chairs, Presidents, Executive Directors, Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Treasurers, Chief and are with organizations with annual budgets between $10 million and $200 million.

The research employed self-administered questionnaires completed online by respondents. The national list of professionals surveyed was compiled by Marks Paneth LLP, the research sponsor, and by Michaels Opinion Research. Interviews were completed during the period of July 21 to September 15, 2015.