Benchmark Against Organizations in Your Sector

In the Benchmark Against Organizations in Your Sector section, performance of one sector or category (a group of similar nonprofits) is examined next to results for the overall nonprofit industry to determine trends that may be specific to these organizations. Nonprofits are grouped using the organization’s selected NTEE classification submitted to the IRS.

Given the historic year for food banks, which significantly outperformed all other verticals, this year’s highlights provide an overall industry benchmark and an overall industry benchmark minus data from food banks.


Animal Welfare

The number of fundraising emails increased dramatically for this sector in 2020, more than double (11.86%) the industry median (4.93%).

Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Arts and Cultural organizations succeeded in driving the highest number of email clicks (1.85%) compared with the industry median of 1.30%.

Disaster and International Aid

Total online revenue growth for this sector (16.81%) exceeded the industry median (14.23%).

Environment and Wildlife

Online funding levels for this sector continued to see positive growth, indicating a success in building a strong movement of environmental stewards.

Faith Communities

Faith Communities saw the strongest increases in online fundraising and engagement out of all sectors other than Food Banks.

Food Banks

Food Bank constituents responded strongly to donation asks with an industry-leading fundraising email conversion rate of 1.22%.

Health Services and Research

This sector experienced a negative 18% drop in revenue year-over-year and was the only sector in this year’s study that experienced negative growth.

Higher Education

In 2020, the average online transaction for Higher Education was $203.43, almost $40 more than the next closest group.

Hospital Foundations and Hospitals

These organizations outperform the industry benchmark for percent of email list that donates (14.58% vs 13.44%).

Human and Social Services

Organizations in this vertical lead all others with the highest average sustainer amount, $46.38.

Public Broadcasting Stations

Email unsubscribe rates were 0.09 for public broadcasting stations, well below the industry average of 0.14%.

Public/Society Benefit

Sustainer revenue as a percentage of total revenue (22.08) was twice the industry median (9.02%).


As email lists grew by 12.97%, so did the number of emails sent. Canada saw an increase of 32.16%, compared to the industry median of 15.91%.