or pick a card to choose
where to begin your adventure

46 players

20-50 min


The trouble with answers is that they lead to questions.

Let’s say you tally up all your online revenue for the year, and find that it just about matches what you received the previous year. That’s an answer — a nice, tidy fact (if maybe a bit disappointing). But consider the swarm of questions it allows rushing in.

How does that compare to other organisations? What about my peers in my issue space? What does the long-term trajectory look like? Are donors still responding to email? SMS? Advertising? Speaking of advertising, are we spending the right amount in the right channels? Should we be looking for engagement on Facebook, or moving on to TikTok?

There’s always another question lurking, always more to explore. Which brings us here, to the UK and Ireland edition of the 2024 M+R Benchmarks Study, presented in partnership with Rally.

As with the global study published earlier this year (available at mrbenchmarks.com), our aim is to follow each answer to new questions and gain a better understanding of how nonprofit digital programmes are performing across fundraising, advocacy, and marketing.

The analysis in the global version of the M+R Benchmarks Study depends on data from 225 nonprofit participants, mostly from the English-speaking parts of North America and Western Europe. These wonderful people not only dedicate themselves to making this world a better place in ways large and small — they also very generously contributed data and answered our questions.

If you are one of them, thank you for being an essential part of this study.

There were a total of 46 Benchmarks participants based in the UK and Ireland. This companion report presented by M+R and Rally is our chance to separate out results from those UK and Ireland organisations to help you better understand your own programme relative to your peers’, and to identify any differences between those results and global averages.

We are deeply appreciative of our partners at Rally, who recruited participants and provided important insight into the unique context of nonprofit fundraising and marketing in the UK and Ireland. They were also very nice about correcting us when we tried to use a z to spell organising or mobilising or fundraising.

Thanks also to Ask Direct, who helped identify and recruit many of our participants from Ireland.

Now let’s go find some answers, and see what kind of questions they lead us to, shall we?

Guess Who Made Benchmarks

Paul de Gregorio, UK/ROI Management
Paul de Gregorio UK/ROI Management
Fiona Pattison, UK/ROI Management
Fiona Pattison UK/ROI Management
Jonathan Benton Data Analysis
Jonathan Benton Data Analysis
Theresa Bugeaud Data Analysis
Theresa Bugeaud Data Analysis
Taylor Duncan, Data Analysis
Taylor Duncan Data Analysis
Michelle Hertel, Data Analysis
Michelle Hertel Data Analysis
Lia Mancuso, Data Analysis
Lia Mancuso Data Analysis
Mugo Muna, Data Analysis
Mugo Muna Data Analysis
Sammy Stewart, Data Analysis
Sammy Stewart Data Analysis
Sarah Vanderbilt, Data Analysis
Sarah Vanderbilt Data Analysis
Johanna Levy, Writing
Johanna Levy Writing
Will Valverde, Writing
Will Valverde Writing
>Laura Klavon, Design
Laura Klavon Design
Lucy Midelfort, Player Management
Lucy Midelfort Player Management
Dolly Danger Valverde, Snacks
Dolly Danger Valverde Snacks
Bobby Burch, Web Development
Bobby Burch Web Development
Tom Giordano, Web Development
Tom Giordano Web Development
Matt Gordon, Web Development
Matt Gordon Web Development
Bobby Goldstein, Project Management
Bobby Goldstein Project Management
Madeline Stanionis, Executive Sponsor
Madeline Stanionis Executive Sponsor


We are M+R, and we are not playing around.

We believe that the nonprofits we work for are essential to advancing the cause of justice, alleviating suffering, and solving the greatest challenges we face.

We bring experience, talent, and unshakeable dedication to our clients through fundraising and supporter engagement, movement building and issue advocacy, and message and brand development.

We have more resources, advice, tools, and other fun stuff waiting for you at www.mrss.com

Find out more about working at M+R and join our crew at www.mrss.com/careers


Rally was formed in 2018 by Paul de Gregorio as an alternative to the traditional agency model. They mobilise public support behind world changing organisations and causes fighting for a fairer, healthier, safer, greener, more equal world.

They’re small, but mighty, working with clients to define the problem or question that needs answering and creating ambitious, impactful and effective public mobilisation plans and strategies. They then activate those plans via a network of like minded partners and freelancers to create bespoke project teams that match exactly the external skills that clients need.

You can find out all about them at www.wearerally.co.uk.


M+R Benchmarks: UK and Ireland Edition is a fun, fast-paced, data-based game experience everyone can enjoy! There are just a few important features and rules to keep in mind before you begin.

  1. Throughout the charts and analysis, we have isolated results from organisations based in the UK and Ireland. The vast majority of participants from outside the UK and Ireland are based in the United States. We will refer to “Other Countries” because we value accuracy and there are a handful of participants in Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia. But if you want to treat this as “UK and Ireland” compared to “US,” we will not be mad and you will be on fairly solid ground.

  2. For the sake of consistent comparisons, we’ve normalised all revenue and expense figures for comparison, but also provide charts in Euros where that applies. For the study, we used the conversion rates on 1 January 2024: £1 to $1.27, and £1 to €1.15.

  3. Wherever possible, we have broken out the findings by sector. Each of our participants self-identified the appropriate sector (or, in some cases, fell outside of our defined sectors and selected “Other”). If you are not sure which sector represents your peer group, review the full list of participants to find where you belong.

  4. We also sort our participants by size. For our study, “Small” refers to nonprofits with annual online revenue in 2023 below £500,000; “Medium” is those nonprofits with annual online revenue between £500,000 and £3,000,000; and “Large” covers all those with annual online revenue greater than £3,000,000.

  5. The averages displayed in each chart and discussed throughout Benchmarks represent the median figure for a given metric for all participants who reported data. We do this to avoid having one or two outliers with extraordinary results from having too much influence, as might happen with a mean average.

  6. Not all participants were able to provide data for every metric. If a chart does not include data for a certain sector or size, it’s because we were not able to collect enough results to report a reliable average.

  7. In addition to the median figure, some charts display a range showing the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile. Half of all reported values fell within this range, which can be considered “normal” results for participants in our study.

  8. Do not compare this year’s M+R Benchmarks findings to previous editions! Because our participant pool changes each year, these comparisons would be misleading and unreliable.

  9. Wherever we include year-over-year changes, we are including long-term data from this year’s participants, rather than comparing our findings to previous editions of Benchmarks. Those previous editions included a different participant pool, so comparisons would not be reliable.

  10. If you have any more questions, please reach out to @mrcampaigns or email benchmarks@mrss.com.

And remember the most important rule of all: have fun!



  • Online revenue for the average nonprofit in the UK and Ireland was unchanged from 2022. Outside the UK and Ireland, average revenue declined by 2%.
  • Revenue from cash giving fell by 6%, while revenue from regular giving rose by 6%.
  • Regular giving accounted for 44% of all online revenue in 2023, up from 42% the previous year.

Remember back in the introduction, when we talked about a hypothetical fundraiser who found that their 2023 revenue was unchanged from 2022? Surprise! Turns out that hypothetical fundraiser represented the median experience for nonprofits in the UK and Ireland.

To be honest, zero percent change is not a very exciting result. We would much prefer to describe massive growth, incredible progress, a statistical candyland. Sadly, we decided very early on in this process to report the numbers we actually have and not the ones we’d wish to see.

Change in online revenue 2022-23

The numbers say that the average organisation in the UK and Ireland saw revenue essentially unchanged from 2022 to 2023. They say that if you were able to simply sustain and stabilise giving levels last year, you were in good company. And they say that things could be worse: outside the UK and Ireland, online revenue declined by 2% in 2023.

These numbers are quite chatty, it seems. But they can only tell us what happened in 2023, not the context that led us there. And with such a narrow perspective, we are at risk of misunderstanding what is really going on.

Let’s broaden our view to encompass the last four years of online revenue. As we noted, there was essentially no change on average from 2022 to 2023. The previous year (2021 to 2022), a 5% increase in revenue for UK and Ireland nonprofits — a nice little bump. The year before that, also 5% growth, ho hum. 

And one year further back, a seismic shift: UK and Ireland nonprofits raised 86% more online in 2020 than in 2019. This was the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a moment when people around the world reacted to an extraordinary crisis with extraordinary compassion and generosity.

Change in online revenue 2022-23

It’s this result that continues to shape nonprofit fundraising programmes. There was an enormous spike in giving in 2020, and the year-to-year changes since then have been stabilising around that higher level.

Now that we understand that larger context a little better, we can turn our attention back to 2023 fundraising. While revenue was flat, the number of gifts declined slightly, with a 2% average drop for the UK and Ireland. Across most sectors, the change in revenue tracked the change in the number of gifts. Health nonprofits fared best, with a 9% increase in revenue and 13% more gifts in 2023 than in 2022.

Up until now, we’ve been treating all online revenue as essentially the same and noted that on average, 2023 revenue was unchanged from 2022. But all giving is not the same, and the flat year-over-year numbers are papering over an important distinction.

Revenue from cash giving was 6% lower in 2023 than in 2022; revenue from regular giving was 6% higher.

This divergence — better results from regular giving than cash giving — was widespread and consistent. It applied to organisations in the UK and Ireland, and those in other countries. It applied to small, medium, and large nonprofits. It applied to sectors that struggled to maintain giving levels (like Wildlife/Animal Welfare, where a 9% drop in cash giving went along with a 1% drop in regular giving). It applied to sectors that saw overall growth (like Health, where a 4% increase in cash giving was buoyed further by a 9% increase in regular giving).

It should be no surprise then that regular giving increased as a percentage of total online revenue. In 2022, regular giving accounted for 42% of all online revenue; in 2023, that rose to 44%. Once again, every sector for which we have enough data to break out findings saw regular giving make up a larger share of revenue than the year before.

For nonprofits in the UK and Ireland, the average regular gift was £11 (€13), and the average cash gift was £60 (€69). At this rate, assuming the donor does not make any additional gifts, it would take about five and a half months for an average supporter making a regular gift to give the same amount as a cash donor.

Outside the UK and Ireland, both regular and cash giving had higher average gifts. For regular giving, the average gift was £23 (€27); for cash giving, £105 (€121). For these nonprofits, the average regular gift would equal the average cash gift after just four and a half months.

As we’ve seen, the experience over the last few years has been one of stabilisation. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been relatively small changes from year to year in overall revenue. With regular giving continuing to increase as a share of overall giving, the gains made in 2020 have solidified and now form a higher baseline from which to continue to seek growth.

Email Messaging


  • Average email list size for UK and Ireland nonprofits increased by 20% in 2023, building on substantial increases in the previous two years.
  • Overall email message volume grew by 11% for UK and Ireland nonprofits, to an average of 26 messages per subscriber. For nonprofits in our Other Countries segment, the average volume was double this figure, at 52 email messages per subscriber per year.
  • For every 1,000 fundraising emails sent, UK and Ireland nonprofits received £89 (€103) — a 25% drop from 2022.
  • Email fundraising for UK and Ireland nonprofits accounted for 7% of all online revenue.

Email marketing and fundraising is a narrowing-down — at each stage, we lose more and more of our initial audience. It starts when we select our audience for a particular message and decide to leave out inactive subscribers, or new subscribers, or those who give above a certain threshold. And then we hit SEND and watch as the audience falls away in droves.

Many of our messages will land in spam folders, or email inboxes which are rarely if ever opened. Those subscribers who do receive the message have many ways to disengage. They’ll trash an unread message straight from the inbox, or read the email but not click any of the links. Sometimes we can get them all the way to a landing form, only to have them click away before completing the form.

Not to sound like a whiny child who keeps losing round after round of draughts, but it’s not fair.

Fortunately, we don’t have to be passive in this process. We can send timely, engaging, compelling content to interested audiences. We can measure clicks and conversions to see where people are engaging and how it's changing year over year. And there are some levers we have complete control over, like how often we are reaching that audience.

Email list sizes grew significantly faster for UK and Ireland nonprofits than for nonprofits in our Other Countries segment over the past few years. In the UK and Ireland, we saw a 20% growth in email list size in 2023 followed by 15% and 14% increases in list size over the previous two years. For our Other Countries nonprofits, the same period saw 7%, 3%, and 4% growth.

All sectors reported email list growth from 2023 to 2024 continuing a trend, but some sectors saw much bigger growth, particularly in the Health (48% growth) and Rights (24% growth) sectors.

We report list size as a net number — this is the balance of all the subscribers added to the list, and all of those who left the list through bounces or unsubscribes (or nonprofits removing inactive subscribers in order to protect deliverability).

On average, UK and Ireland nonprofits lost 4% of subscribers to bounces, and another 8% to unsubscribes.

Across the board, the participants in our study were able to reach more people on their email lists in 2023.

So we know that email audiences have grown, but how were people responding to this messaging?

Here the story changes. We saw declines in nearly all email engagement metrics. For fundraising messages, the average click-through rate for UK and Ireland nonprofits was 1.1%. This represented a 14% decline from the previous year. The page completion rate was 31%. And the response rate was 0.24%.

For advocacy emails, the corresponding metrics tended to be much higher. For UK and Ireland nonprofits, the average click-through rate was nearly triple at 2.9%, the page completion rate was 88%, and the average response rate was 1.9%.

Looking at how valuable each message was for a nonprofit, for every 1,000 fundraising emails sent, UK and Ireland nonprofits were able to raise £89 (€103).

This metric varied widely between sectors. Disaster/International Aid nonprofits were an outlier for this metric, raising £349 (€403) for every 1,000 fundraising emails sent.

The £89 (€103) overall average in this metric was 25% lower than in 2022, closely aligned with the decline in response rate for fundraising messages.

So we know that email subscriber lists were growing, and email metrics were down overall, so how did nonprofits message that list? This is the lever a nonprofit has complete control over.

Overall, UK and Ireland nonprofits sent 26 messages per subscriber over the course of 2023. The volume of messages was twice as high for those in the Other Countries segment, who sent 52 messages per subscriber.

The difference is especially striking when we look specifically at fundraising messaging. On average, UK and Ireland nonprofits sent 12 fundraising appeals in 2023. It is not unusual for a nonprofit outside the UK and Ireland to send that many fundraising messages in December alone.

In fact, the average Other Countries nonprofit sent 30 fundraising emails in 2023 — more than the total messaging of all types for nonprofits in the UK and Ireland. There were outliers: Disaster/International Aid and especially the Rights sector had volume that looked more similar to the Other Countries segment over email.

We would never say that there is a “right” number of fundraising messages to send — but we are not above heavily implying while winking exaggeratedly that sending more than 12 fundraising appeals in a year would probably improve results.

That’s a substantial gap, but it narrowed a bit in 2023. Total email volume for UK and Ireland nonprofits increased by 11% in 2023, with the majority of that increase coming from the number of fundraising messages — which increased 109%! This may seem like a major jump, but as we saw, the average number of fundraising emails sent by UK and Ireland nonprofits in 2023 was only 12.

In the Other Countries segment, by contrast, the already saturated fundraising email message volume actually dropped by 4% year over year.

Of our three primary variables for fundraising emails, two (audience size and message volume) were higher in 2023, and one (supporter response) was lower. In other words, UK and Ireland organisations sent more fundraising emails to more people, but each message sent generated less engagement and less revenue on average.

Change in Email Revenue 2022 to 2023

Despite these shifts, this all came out in the wash for UK and Ireland email fundraising. Overall email revenue held steady year over year. This is in contrast to email revenue in the Other Countries segment – which declined 7% from 2022 to 2023.

And of course not every sector saw their revenue remain flat. Disaster/International Aid nonprofits reported an increase in donor support, with 9% average growth in email revenue. Health nonprofits, by contrast, saw average email revenue was 29% lower in 2023 than in 2022.

With all these changes, the overall share of online revenue from email ended up making up just slightly more of the percentage of the fundraising total for UK and Ireland nonprofits in 2023, moving from 6% to 7%. Email revenue continues to make up more of the share of online revenue for the Other Countries segment, making up 17% in 2023.

Large and Medium nonprofits relied on email revenue for 8% and 9% of their online revenue respectively, while Small nonprofits only raised 4% of their online revenue from email in 2023.

Despite the challenges of email fundraising, with total revenue flat year over year, email programmes continue to be a key part of online success, and that doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon.

Mobile Messaging


  • Mobile audience sizes lag behind email list sizes — UK and Ireland nonprofits had only 79 mobile subscribers for every 1,000 email subscribers.
  • But! Mobile audiences increased by 4% in 2023.
  • Revenue from mobile messaging increased by 1%, cash giving increased 2%, and mobile regular giving grew 42% over the previous year.
  • Mobile messaging drove 1.7% of all online giving, a drop from 2.8% in 2022.

For those of us who have a tendency toward wordiness, the limitations of text messaging can feel constraining. But used properly, 160 characters is more than enough to communicate clearly and effectively. Let’s try it:

2023 data shows mobile is a small-but-growing part of digital programmes. Audiences were dwarfed by email, but a 42% increase in regular giving is a bright spot!!

There — 160 characters on the nose, and you get the idea. Still, the details are very interesting, so let’s dig a little deeper.

Mobile audience sizes were much smaller than email lists — on average, UK and Ireland nonprofits had only 79 mobile subscribers for every 1,000 email subscribers.

Mobile audiences have been on a growth trajectory for the past several years — subscribers increased by 4% in 2023, a lower rate of growth than in previous years. In 2022, mobile lists grew by 7% on average, following a 23% increase in 2021 and 36% in 2020. All of these figures represent net growth, accounting for both new subscribers and those removed from the list.

The number of mobile messages that UK and Ireland nonprofits sent their subscribers increased by 14% with much of the growth coming from an increase in fundraising messaging, which also grew 15%.

As nonprofits continue to explore tactics and seek to increase the value of their mobile files, messaging volume can range widely. For UK and Ireland nonprofits, those at the 25th percentile for fundraising message volume sent just 0.36 mobile appeals per subscriber in 2023 — which indicates that many people in these audiences didn’t receive any fundraising messaging at all. At the 75th percentile, nonprofits sent 9 messages per subscriber over the course of the year, creating a very different supporter experience.

The change in mobile revenue overall was relatively flat from 2022 to 2023, growing 1% overall. Mobile cash saw huge spikes in previous years, and that growth has stabilised this year, growing only 2%. Organisations are still seeing big growth in mobile regular giving, with 42% growth in 2023.

Mobile revenue continued to make up a small share of overall online revenue. Revenue from mobile messaging declined from 2.8% of all online revenue to just 1.7% (mobile revenue overall increased by just 1% but fell as a share of the total as giving from other channels outpaced mobile giving).

Website Performance


  • Organic traffic (website traffic generated by unpaid search results) comprised 46% of website visits for UK and Ireland nonprofits in 2023.
  • The average conversion rate for a website’s main donation page was 21%.
  • 70% of nonprofit website traffic came from users on mobile devices (including both phones and tablets).
  • Users on mobile devices made up the majority of donation transactions (58%), but desktop device users drove the majority of donation revenue (56%).
  • The average gift made on mobile devices was £44 (€51); for desktop users, the average gift was £84 (€97).
  • Google’s shift from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 has made aggregate year-over-year data collection more difficult by… actually, it’s a bit more complicated than what we usually try to fit in these little SCORECARD call-outs, so you should probably just read this whole section.

Sorry, we really want to tell you about website performance, but we can’t yet. First, we need to talk about the challenges this year in tracking website performance — and give you some tools to make tracking your own programme easier.

Don’t blame us. Blame the faceless corporate behemoths that can upend years of careful planning and arduous effort on a whim. (In this case: Google.)

Many folks involved in doing analytics will be intimately acquainted with the fact that on 1 July, 2023 Google Analytics 4 (GA4) officially replaced Universal Analytics (UA).

What’s changed with tracking from GA4 to UA?

UA used “cookie-based” tracking that allowed the platform to record web activity on the site during a user’s session on the site. Instead of tracking sessions, GA4 uses an event-based data model.

GA4 tracking still uses cookies where they are available (although cookies are generally less and less available), using “Google signals” from users who have opted into ads personalisation and Google profiles. When users have not consented to Google tracking or Google signals, GA4 uses data behavioural modelling from machine learning models to estimate the number of unconsented users, sessions, and events. 

Perhaps most important of all, these changes affected our ability to report year-over-year comparisons in the 2024 M+R Benchmarks Study: UK and Ireland Edition. With the transition from UA to GA4 occuring mid-year in 2023, year-over-year comparisons of traffic, user behaviour, and other key metrics became much messier. Even something as seemingly simple as counting total users would not be an apples-to-apples comparison between the two systems because of the changes made to the underlying logic of many key metrics.

In addition, the default settings for GA4 keep only two months of data available to use in GA4’s Explorations. This change feels like an especially rude affront to those of us in the business of data analysis. Imagine limiting ourselves to a two-month window! 

For these reasons, we have decided to use only GA4 data collected from November and December in the website performance charts for this year’s M+R Benchmarks. 

The bad news here is that we have a more limited data set, and that we are not able to make year-over-year comparisons for these metrics.

The good news is that our limited data set includes the critical November/December fundraising period when many nonprofits see a spike in traffic and revenue. The even better news is that we should be able to be back to full-year reporting in the next edition of Benchmarks. More information and advice on how to handle the UA-to-GA4 transition can can be found on M+R's blog.

If you’re still reading after all that throat-clearing, we finally have some data to share with you, and it’s good stuff.

Overall, 46% of visits to nonprofits in our study came from organic traffic. (Again, this includes only November and December, though we have no particular reason to think this metric would look substantially different throughout the year.) Organic traffic includes visitors who searched for a term and clicked on an unpaid result — excluding all other sources like direct links on other sites, social media, email, paid advertising, or users simply entering a URL.

Among those visitors who did manage to make it to a website’s main donation page, 21% completed a gift. (Benchmarks participants self-select which of their donation pages count as the “main donation page” for purposes of this study. Typically it’s the one you land on when you click the giant red DONATE button on the homepage.)

UK and Ireland nonprofits in our study saw 70% of their website traffic come from users on mobile devices (including both phones and tablets), a higher percentage than the mobile traffic in other countries. Mobile users also drove the majority of donation transactions for UK and Ireland nonprofits — showing how critical it is for websites and donation forms to be mobile-optimised.

But we can’t discount desktop users! Their giving is still making up the majority of donation revenue by a slight margin — driving 56% of donation revenue. 

While the overall picture looks familiar, there were some striking differences between different-sized nonprofits. Medium nonprofits are driving the most traffic from mobile (75%), while Small nonprofits are seeing much more even distribution between desktop and mobile users across traffic, transactions, and revenue. 

Average gift was also higher for UK and Ireland desktop users than for mobile visitors — £84 (€97) compared to £44 (€51). Both of these average gifts were lower than the average gift in the Other Countries segment, which were £203 (€234) and £101 (€116) respectively.

Social Media


  • For every 1,000 email addresses, UK and Ireland nonprofits had an average of 969 Facebook fans, 379 Twitter/X followers, 579 Instagram followers, and 39 TikTok followers.
  • Nearly every organisation in our study had a presence on the Big Three social media platforms — Twitter/X, Instagram, and Facebook. TikTok was used by 54% of participants, and Threads by 29%.

There were Eras, once, in social media. The Friendster Era. The Myspace Era. The Facebook Era.

Even then, platforms proliferated and there was a lively ecosystem — but at least there tended to be a single, dominant, identifiable place to be. You were there, your supporters were there, and things hummed right along.

The world is not so simple anymore that a nonprofit can get away with just one social media platform. Some platforms may have larger audiences (Facebook!), while others have more excitement and cultural cachet (TikTok!). New options emerge and fade away with little lasting impression (Hive Social 😬). And Twitter/X is… doing whatever it is Elon Musk thinks he is doing.

There is no single place to be, and nonprofits need to do more to reach supporters where they are, and where they are headed next.

Nearly every organisation in our study had a presence on the Big Three social media platforms — Twitter/X, Instagram, and Facebook. There was also near-universal adoption of LinkedIn among UK and Ireland nonprofits (94%) and a widespread presence on YouTube (85%). Looking at newer platforms, 54% of nonprofits used TikTok, and 29% had joined Threads.

On average, UK and Ireland nonprofits had 969 Facebook fans for every 1,000 email subscribers — meaning the two audiences were comparable in size. Instagram follower count was roughly half that size, at 579 followers per 1,000 email subscribers. Twitter/X was about one-third of the email list size at 379 per 1,000 email subscribers. LinkedIn was about one-tenth of the email list at 116 per 1,000 email subscribers. TikTok follower numbers were another order of magnitude smaller, 39 per 1,000 email subscribers.

Which is all to say that nonprofits have a long way to go to build the kind of audiences on TikTok that they have developed on more mature platforms.

The number of followers increased by an average of 6% on Facebook and 11% on Instagram. And for the first time since we started tracking social media metrics in M+R Benchmarks, the average follower count for a platform actually decreased — nonprofits in our study saw the number of Twitter/X fans decline by 1%.

TikTok audiences for nonprofits grew much, much faster than any other major social media platform, with 76% growth on average.

Despite this explosive growth, we have already seen that nonprofits had a much smaller audience on TikTok compared to other social platforms. The rate of change for audience size tells us about where people are going but does not necessarily reflect where people already are. Despite the rapid growth in TikTok followers, overall audience size was still much larger for Meta platforms and Twitter/X.

UK and Ireland nonprofits posted most frequently on Facebook, with .65 posts per day. Instagram posts came an average of 0.61 times per day. TikTok trailed far behind, with 0.1 posts per day among nonprofits active on that platform. With the changes to reporting Twitter/X over the course of 2023, we don’t have insight into post frequency on that platform.

We may still see a dominant social media platform emerge from the current tumultuous landscape. But with Meta struggling to balance its properties, potential restrictions on TikTok coming (at least in the US), and Elon Musk being Elon Musk, it’s unlikely things will get simpler any time soon. The best we can do is stay nimble, keep experimenting, and focus on finding supporters wherever they may be (which is, most likely, all over the place).



  • Nonprofit digital ads spend increased by 23% for UK and Ireland nonprofits in 2023, with average spending of £0.17 (€0.20) in digital ads for every £1 of online revenue.
  • Across digital and non-digital advertising channels, 75% of spending was dedicated to direct fundraising.
  • Among digital channels, search and social media made up the largest share of fundraising advertising budgets. Linear television made up 78% of non-digital fundraising advertising spending.
  • Spending on connected TV for fundraising advertising by UK and Ireland nonprofits increased by 171% in 2023, along with a 139% increase in digital video budgets.
  • Search advertising had the highest return on ad spend (ROAS) at £1.99 (€2.30).

When we send an email, we know exactly which inbox it is going to land in. Our mobile messages light up the phones we want, at the moment we want.

Not so with advertising. Rather than reaching directly out to a single user, we make our best guess about where interested audiences might be, and lob content in that direction. If we generate a response, we know we’re in the right vicinity and can focus our attention and optimise from there. 

It is close attention to this feedback loop that drives successful advertising programmes. We’re going to explore both sides — what organisations are doing, how audiences are responding.

To begin: for every £1 raised online, UK and Ireland nonprofits invested £0.17 (€0.20) in digital advertising. To be clear, this is not a measure of return on investment; we are comparing the size of digital advertising budgets with the total raised online from all sources.

The two sectors with the highest ratio of digital ad spending to online revenue were Health (£0.32 per £1) and Wildlife/Animal Welfare (£0.48 per £1). These were also the sectors that reported the largest year-over-year increase in spending.

Overall, UK and Ireland nonprofits increased digital advertising spending by 23% in 2023. Spending by Health nonprofits increased by 41%, and Wildlife/Animal Welfare nonprofits increased spending by 29%.

If you have already read and memorised our review of fundraising metrics, you might notice something intriguing in these charts. These two sectors with the largest increase in digital ad spending saw sharply different fundraising performance in 2023. Health nonprofits reported 9% growth in revenue, the most of any sector. Wildlife/Animal Welfare nonprofits had the largest decline, with an 8% drop in revenue.

This may reflect the unique double-edged nature of “pay to play” media. If an organisation is seeing strong fundraising results, it may be easier to justify expanding investments in digital advertising to make the most of a successful moment. But if an organisation is seeing declining revenue, it also might feel appropriate to use ads to make up those losses.

Across both digital and non-digital channels, the majority of digital advertising spending was devoted to direct fundraising efforts. This was especially true within the UK and Ireland, where direct fundraising comprised 75% of ad spending; outside the UK and Ireland, direct fundraising comprised 53% of spending.

Search was the most important digital channel for direct fundraising efforts, with 45% of all spending by UK and Ireland nonprofits. As we’ll see in a moment, search consistently delivers the highest return on ad spend of any digital channel, so it makes sense for nonprofits to maximise spending there.

Most non-search spending was devoted to display and social media advertising, but some nonprofits extended experiments into other emerging channels. Digital video and connected TV accounted for 7% of direct fundraising digital ad spending in the UK and Ireland.

While these less mature channels were a relatively small part of overall spending, they grew significantly in 2023. Spending on connected TV increased by 171%; on digital video, by 139%.

For non-digital channels, linear television made up the bulk of direct fundraising spending. In the UK and Ireland, linear television made up 78% of non-digital fundraising advertising budgets. Print was a distant second at 17% of spending, with radio and out of home advertising comprising 2% and 3% of budgets.

Increased spending was spread across non-digital channels. The highest growth rate was in radio advertising, with a 35% increase. UK and Ireland nonprofits spent 16% more on linear television fundraising advertising than the year before.

As noted above, search advertising remained by far the most cost-effect digital channel. On average, it cost organisations in the UK and Ireland £31 (€36) to generate a single donation via search. The cost per donation for Twitter/X was £47 (€54), a bit less than half the £100 (€115) average cost per donation on Meta properties.

Search advertising generated the greatest return on ad spend, raising just shy of £2 per £1 spent. Display advertising, with a significantly higher cost per donation, had a ROAS of £0.54 ( €0.62).

In addition to direct fundraising, digital advertising is an important source of leads, beginning a relationship with supporters that has a chance to grow and strengthen in ongoing email and mobile messaging.

If you have already read and memorised our section on email metrics, you will recall that email list size increased by 20% on average. Ad-acquired leads helped drive that growth. The ratio of ad-acquired leads to start-of-year email list size was 0.16. That means that an organisation with an email list of 100,000 subscribers on 1 January would add 16,000 new subscribers through advertising efforts over the course of the year.

Cost-per-acquisition buys delivered new leads most efficiently — nonprofits spent £1.89 (€2.18) for each new subscriber. TikTok, a relatively immature platform with which only some nonprofits have chosen to experiment, delivered new subscribers at a cost of £16.30 (€18.80).

On average, UK and Ireland nonprofits spend £2.57 (€2.96) to generate a single lead on Meta platforms. However, cost per lead ranged widely among nonprofits.

At the 25th percentile, the Meta cost per lead was £1.88 (€2.17); at the 75th percentile, the cost per lead was £8.37 (€9.65). This range reflects the very real challenges of building a successful advertising programme. Even within a particular channel, differences in audience, content, timing, issue, and message can generate very different results.

Finally, we turn our attention to spending that is not really spending. Google Grants offers nonprofits the promise of search placement that behaves like paid ads, but with heavy restrictions. 

First, they are run with ad credits; we’re presenting Google Grants data in terms of “pounds spent” to put it on similar footing to other channels, but this advertising doesn’t represent actual spending.

Google also imposes caps on total budget and cost per click for Grants ads, limiting the terms nonprofits can cover using Grants. Perhaps the most important difference is that Google Grants search results appear below paid results, which makes users less likely to click.

The upshot of these differences is that Google Grants ads were not nearly as effective as paid search efforts. The ROAS for these Google Grants campaigns was £0.03 (€0.03) for UK and Ireland nonprofits; if you have read and memorised the digital advertising section that you are currently reading, you’ll remember the average ROAS for paid search was £1.99 (€2.30). Even though Google Grant placements are free, the net return is still significantly lower than paid search.

The “cost per donation” for Google Grants was also far higher than for paid search. Remember that this “cost” is in ad credits rather than payments made by nonprofits. On average, nonprofits spent the equivalent of £1,587 (€1,830) in Google Grants credits to generate one donation.

While direct fundraising metrics fall short of paid search, Google Grants can make a meaningful impact on digital programmes. Nonprofits in the UK and Ireland received 436 site visits for every £1k in Grant spend.

We may not know exactly which of our advertising efforts will land successfully. Continued experimentation — in new channels, with new content, targeting new audiences — is essential to finding what works.

Participant List

Disaster/International Aid

ActionAid UK
British Red Cross
Christian Aid
Concern Worldwide
International Rescue Committee UK
Irish Red Cross
Islamic Relief UK
MAG (Mines Advisory Group)
Oxfam GB
WaterAid UK
Women for Women International UK


Children's Hospice South West
Dementia UK
Evelina London Children's Charity
Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity
Guy's & St Thomas' Charity
Guy's Cancer Charity
Hospice UK
LauraLynn, Ireland's Children's Hospice
Marie Curie
National Deaf Children's Society
Terrence Higgins Trust
Young Lives vs Cancer


Child Poverty Action Group
Railway Children
The Salvation Army


Amnesty International UK

Wildlife/Animal Welfare

Dogs Trust
Dogs Trust Ireland
The Brooke
Woodgreen Pets Charity


Barnardos Ireland
Greenpeace UK
Make-A-Wish UK


Advocacy Message
An email or SMS message that asks recipients to sign an online petition, send an email to a decision-maker, or take a similar online action. For the purposes of this Study, advocacy response rates do not factor in higher-bar actions like making a phone call or attending an event, largely because tracking offline response is inconsistent across organizations. Advocacy email rates were calculated from advocacy emails with a simple action sent to either the full file or a random sample of the full file.
Cash Giving
A single donation, not set up on a regular schedule. Also known as one-time giving.
Cavity Sam
This is the actual name of the person you perform surgery on in the game Operation. It’s a pretty gross name.
Click-Through Rate
Calculated as the number of people who clicked on any trackable link in an email or text message divided by the number of delivered emails or text messages. People who clicked multiple times in one email were only counted once. In other words, if a subscriber clicked on every link in a message 10 times, this was counted the same as if the subscriber had clicked once on a single link.
Connected TV Advertising
Digital television delivered to a smart television or "over-the-top" device like Roku or Fire stick. Does not include streaming on a PC or mobile phone.
Deliverable Emails
Only the emails that were delivered, not including the emails that are considered inactive or emails that were sent and bounced. “Delivered” email messages may land in a user’s inbox, spam folder, promotions tab, or custom folder.
Device Type, Desktop
We use the definitions provided by Google Analytics to separate traffic data by device type. The “desktop” category includes any desktop or laptop computer with a screen larger than 7” in diagonal.
Device Type, Mobile
We use the definitions provided by Google Analytics to separate traffic data by device type. Mobile devices are hand-held devices that include a phone or a tablet.
Digital Audio Advertising
Streaming music or podcast service, delivered via a website or app. Not traditional or satellite radio.
Digital Organizing
Recruiting, engaging and organizing members, activists, and/or volunteers toward advocacy outcomes.
Digital Video Advertising
Video ads that play within other videos on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram on desktop and mobile devices. Also called "in-stream" video.
Fans, Facebook
People who “like” a nonprofit’s Facebook Fan page.
Followers, Instagram
People who subscribe to see posts from a nonprofit’s Instagram account.
Followers, TikTok
People who follow a nonprofit’s TikTok account.
Followers, Twitter/X
People who subscribe to receive the tweets from a nonprofit’s Twitter account.
Full File
All of an organization’s deliverable email addresses, not including unsubscribed email addresses or email addresses to which an organization no longer sends email messages.
Fundraising Message
An email or SMS message that only asks for a donation, as opposed to an email newsletter, which might ask for a donation and include other links. For the purposes of this Study, fundraising email only includes one-time donation asks; it does not include monthly gift asks. Fundraising email rates were calculated from all fundraising emails, regardless of whether the email went to the full file, a random sample of the file, or a targeted portion of the file.
Google Grants
A distinct Google Ads account where nonprofits can buy up to $10,000/mo in search ads using free credits. Subject to restrictions (such as caps on certain bidding strategies): think of it as a giant coupon with a lot of fine print!
Social media influencers are people who have an established presence on one or more social media platforms, with a reputation for being knowledgeable about a certain topic. Influencers regularly post content around that topic for their established, engaged follower base. These audiences, ranging from thousands to millions, follow influencers for their authentic views on their area of expertise.
Linear Television Advertising
Traditional television, with content delivered via satellite or cable. Not connected tv.
List Churn
Calculated as the number of subscribers who became unreachable in a 12-month period divided by the sum of the number of deliverable email addresses at the end of that period plus the number of subscribers who became unreachable during that period. Study participants were required to track the number of subscribers who became unreachable each month to account for subscribers both joining and leaving an email list during the 12-month period who would otherwise go uncounted.
A Russian peasant, especially prior to 1917. “MUZJIKS” generated the highest-ever score for an opening word in competitive Scrabble, earning Jesse Inman 126 points in the 2008 National Scrabble Championship.
Newsletters, Email
An email with multiple links or asks, which can include fundraising or advocacy asks. Email newsletter rates were calculated from all email newsletters, regardless of whether the newsletter went to the full file, a random sample of the file, or a targeted portion of the file.
Out Of Home Advertising
Ads appearing outdoors, like on billboards, street furniture, transit infrastructure. Can be traditional printed media or digital screens.
Page Completion Rate
Calculated as the number of people who completed a form divided by the number of people who clicked on the link to get to that form. For the purposes of this Study, it was not always possible to use the number of people who clicked on a link to a specific form, so we used the number of unique clicks in the message.
The percentage of observed values below the named data point. 25% of the observations are below the 25th percentile; 75% of the observations are below the 75th percentile. The values between the 25th percentile and the 75th percentile are the middle 50% of the observed values and represent the normal range of values.
Ratio Of Ad-Acquired Leads To Start Of Year Email List Size
Ratio of new email leads acquired through digital advertising divided email size at the start of the year.
Regular Giving
A donation where the donor signs up once to donate on a regular schedule, by setting up a direct debit or pledging a regular gift amount. Also known as a sustaining or monthly gift.
Response Rate
Calculated as the number of people who took the main action requested by an email or text message divided by the number of delivered messages.
A published report containing careful analysis or examination of a subject (e.g. the M+R Benchmarks Study). A room devoted to reading, schoolwork, or literary pursuits. Occasionally, a crime scene.
Unique Clicks
The number of people who clicked on any trackable link in an email message, as opposed to the number of times the links in an email were clicked. If a subscriber clicked on every link in a message 10 times, this is counted as 1 unique click. It is also counted as 1 strange person.
Unsubscribe Rate
Calculated as the number of individuals who unsubscribed in response to an email message divided by the number of delivered emails.
Website Donation Page Conversion Rate
Calculated from the number of donations to a participant’s main donation page, divided by the number of unique pageviews of that page. We included only unique pageviews for the one-time donation page, if a separate donation page existed for monthly gifts.
Website Page Load Time
The number of seconds before a page appears to be visually complete, as measured by the WebPageTest tool at http://webpagetest.org.
Website Revenue Per Visitor
Calculated as the total revenue from one-time online gifts, plus the value of initial monthly gifts, divided by the total number of website visitors for the year. Depending on retention, the long-term value of monthly gifts may be substantially higher.
Website Visitors Per Month
The number of monthly unique visitors to a participant’s main website.

Download the 2024 Infographic

By signing up, you agree to receive emails from M+R. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Click here to download the Infographic.

Sign up for Next Year

By signing up, you agree to receive emails from M+R. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Thanks for signing up! We'll be in touch.

Download the 2024 Benchmarks Report

By signing up, you agree to receive emails from M+R. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Click here to download the Report.