Big news for nonprofits and online fundraisers: Blackbaud, the software company behind Raiser’s Edge, Luminate and Online Express, has recently released its 2017 Benchmarks Report, which is chockablock full of digital engagement and giving data across hundreds of nonprofits over the past year. In the report, you can check how your email metrics, dollars raised and sustainer revenue stack up against others in your sector, and start brainstorming strategies for how you can improve.

There’s so much to dig into in this report—what else would you expect from Blackbaud, who has access to data from over 700 nonprofits from hospitals to arts organizations to disaster aid groups, but here, we identified a few key trends to share with you:

-Email gifts grow…as do unread messages: The number of emails sent by nonprofits increased by over 15% this year on average, which led to a rise in clicks and donations. However, open rates and click rates—the percentage of recipients who opened or clicked those messages—actually went down by 3.8% and 15.5%, respectively. It’s important to remember that while email is still a highly effective fundraising tool, too much of a good thing can still be detrimental.

-Sustainers are the new subscribers: Just like how subscription-based businesses—for music, entertainment, grocery delivery and more—have grown significantly over the past five years, sustainer giving has outperformed all other types, growing by a whopping 20.4%. If you’re not working on flipping your donors into sustainers, it’s time to start!

-Advocate, advocate, advocate: By percentage and sheer number, email constituents participated in advocacy appeals more in 2017 than the year before, with particularly large increases in environment & wildlife and disaster aid sectors. With so many political issues at the forefront of the national conversation, advocacy appeals are a useful way to engage your donor base and make them feel like they’re contributing to the success of your mission.

So, what are you waiting for? Dive into the report here and see what else you can draw from Blackbaud’s benchmarks!

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