Digital Landscape Continues to Complicate Fundraising, Nonprofit Leaders Say

March 28, 2016

Email Campaigns are Mediocre Replacements for Traditional Mail Campaigns, According to Survey by Marks Paneth; Most Nonprofits Plan to Look to Crowd-Funding for Ideas

(NEW YORK, NY-- Mar. 28, 2016) - Despite their cost advantages, email fundraising campaigns aren’t delivering the needed results, especially compared with traditional mail campaigns, say nonprofit leaders and executives in a recent survey by accounting firm Marks Paneth.

Only 3% of nonprofit leaders say email fundraising campaigns are “very effective” replacements for traditional paper mailing campaigns. Forty-three percent say they’re “somewhat effective” replacements, and 35% say they’re not particularly effective, according to Nonprofit Pulse, a national survey of 114 CEOs, executive directors, CFOs, treasurers, COOs, development directors, vice presidents and board members of nonprofits with annual budgets between $10 million and $200 million.

Interestingly, the vast majority of nonprofit leaders – 82% – say they’re concerned that increasing dependence on digital channels may actually be diminishing the effectiveness of their communications with supporters.

Glimmers of Hope

“Despite the difficulties many charities are having when leveraging digital communications to rally support, there remains a sense of optimism – a belief that better digital techniques will emerge,” says Michael McNee, CPA, Partner-in-Charge of the Nonprofit and Government Group at Marks Paneth.

For instance:

  • Nearly six in 10 nonprofit leaders (59%) say that organizations like theirs will draw on strategies employed by crowd-funding websites.
  • Twelve percent say their organizations currently use external crowd-funding sites, and another 25% say they plan to.

To receive a copy of the Nonprofit Pulse and/or to speak with a leader from Marks Paneth’s Nonprofit and Government Group, please contact John McKenna of ICR LLC at 203.682.8252 or


The Nonprofit Pulse: A Leadership Study from Marks Paneth represents the findings of a survey of nonprofit leaders in the United States. The 114 nonprofit sector leaders participating in the research include Board Chairs, Presidents, Executive Directors, Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Treasurers, Chief and are with organizations with annual budgets between $10 million and $200 million.

The research employed self-administered questionnaires completed online by respondents. The national list of professionals surveyed was compiled by Marks Paneth LLP, the research sponsor, and by Michaels Opinion Research. Interviews were completed during the period of July 21 to September 15, 2015.

About Marks Paneth

Marks Paneth LLP is an accounting firm with more than 600 people, including over 80 partners and principals. The firm provides public and private businesses with a full range of auditing, accounting, tax, consulting, trade remediation and valuation services as well as litigation and financial advisory services to domestic and international clients. The firm also specializes in providing tax advisory and consulting for high-net-worth individuals and their families, as well as a wide range of services for international, real estate, hospitality, media, entertainment, nonprofit and government services clients. The firm has a strong track record supporting emerging growth companies, entrepreneurs, business owners and investors as they navigate the business life cycle. The firm's subsidiary, Tailored Technologies, LLC, provides information technology consulting services.

In addition, Marks Paneth’s membership in Morison KSi Ltd., a leading international association for independent business advisers, financial consulting and accounting firms, facilitates service delivery to clients throughout the United States and around the world. Marks Paneth, whose origins date back to 1907, is the 34th largest accounting firm in the nation and the 8th largest in the mid-Atlantic region. In addition, readers of the New York Law Journal rank Marks Paneth as one of the area's top three forensic accounting firms for the fifth year in a row.

Marks Paneth is headquartered in New York City, with additional offices in Washington, DC, New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester. For more information, please visit

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