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Web fundraising grows

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By Todd Cohen

Fueled in part by the outpouring of giving in the wake of the Asian tsunami, nonprofits raised 40 percent more money online in 2005 than a year earlier, a report says.

The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study by M+R Strategic Services in New York City and the Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C., also say that, with email swamping online constituents, the rate at which they opened email messages fell to 26 percent in 2004-05 from 30 percent a year earlier.

The study analyzes data from 2003 to 2005 for 15 top national nonprofits working on environmental, legal/civil rights and environmental issues, and for three top providers of online communications tools for nonprofits.

Nonprofits with bigger online budgets had better online programs, built bigger email lists, generated more online activism and raised more money online, the study says.

While nonprofits on average more than doubled their existing email lists over a 12-month period, the study says, more than one-fourth of email addresses on the lists of most nonprofits turned bad each year.

The study also says that, while 47 percent of email subscribers took online political action, only 6 percent made an online donation.

“While the size of an organization is not necessarily the prime measure for success on the Internet,” the study says, “a robust and strategic use of funds and other resources to sell a nonprofit’s message to legislators, business leaders, potential donors and the general public, using all the online tools at one’s disposal – even in conjunction with other communications media, like direct mail – is mandatory.”

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