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Online fundraising still growing

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Funds raised through the Internet are continuing to grow at a healthy pace, and response rates to online solicitations are holding steady, say studies conducted over the past few years.

Three separate reports published recently agree that the amount raised online is growing rapidly, but their estimates of how much vary.

Convio’s Online Marekting Nonprofit Benchmarks Index estimates a growth rate in median dollars raised of 27 percent from 2005 to 2006.

The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, produced by M+R Strategic Service and the Advocacy Institute, says the average amount raised grew 40 percent from 2003-04 to 2004-05.

And the 2006 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis, released by DonorDigital and Target Analysis Group places the three-year cumulative growth rate in online donors at 101 percent.

The three studies say charities’ ability to accommodate donors’ rapid responses to natural disasters is critical, and two of the studies reported “significant spikes” in donations after the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

Online donor lists are growing, the studies say, with smaller lists outpacing larger ones.

And over the past two years, open rates for online fundraising messages have held flat at about 22 percent, while open rates stayed at 0.3 percent.

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