In April NTEN produced their latest benchmarks on online and social media fundraising (http://nonprofitsocialnetworksurvey.com/). It’s packed with useful facts and figures and is well worth a read. But it does contain one quite contentious figure, which I haven’t yet seen challenged.
NTEN reported that the average value of a Facebook recruited donor, 12 months after acquisition, was around $214 (£138)
That’s a very attractive sum, but there was no mention of the number of such donors the charities were reporting, and the figure has been reported as the average 12 month value of a Facebook ‘like’.
To know that, you need to know the number of donors recruited, compared to the overall number of likes.
That figure isn’t in the report. But we might get closer to it from some other figures that are.
According to the report, 88% of charities reported raising $1000 or less via Facebook in 2012, and the average number of ‘likes’ was around 8,300 per charity.
So for those 88%, I hazard that the true value of their Facebook Likes is more like $1000 / 8300.
That’s around 12 cents (8p), or less.
And even if the average value of the donor is correct for them, they would therefore have secured no more than 5 such donors from among their 8,300 fans over the course of the year – an acquisition rate of about 0.06%. In fact that’s quite similar to the benchmark click through rate for Facebook ads.
NTEN also reported the average cost of acquiring a Facebook ‘Like’ as $3.50.
So this represents a pretty stonking negative return on investment – 0.03:1, or a 34 year break-even period.
It certainly strengthens my view that we are still very far away from seeing Facebook as a viable, sustainable fundraising channel.