Internet users are becoming more and more comfortable with the medium, taking advantage of high speed broadband access to try more of what the Web has to offer.

Nonprofits need to keep pace with their online strategies and implementation, because higher expectations will be created by donor and activist exposure to sophisticated tools and sites in the commercial space.

Some relevant stats:

    • From Nielsen/Net Ratings, 78% of home Web users connected by high speed last month. And home broadband users spend 33% more time online – almost 35 hours per month – than dial-up users, viewing more than double the pages.
    • From Mediamark Research, some the online activities that have seen the biggest growth in the last year include (among all U.S. adults): made a purchase for personal consumption (34% have done, up 6%), used Instant Messenger (27%, up 21%), downloaded music (16%, up 23%), watched online video (11%, up 124%), visited a blog (7%, up 164% … thanks no doubt to The Agitator), made a phone call online (3%, up 198%). Of course e-mail is still the killer app, with 70% of all U.S. adults using e-mail. And two activities especially mportant to causes – 40% of all U.S. adults obtain the lastest news/current events online, while 31% pay bills online.
    • Speaking of online video, eMarketer estimates (higher than Mediamark) that over one-third of the U.S. population – 108 million – will view video on the Internet at least once per month on average during 2006.

So online phone calls, blogs and video have seen the biggest growth. Certainly the last two have implications for how nonprofits communicate, as these user universes expand.

More active Web users have a special significance to nonprofit marketers, apart from their communications preferences.

A study just conducted for Yahoo finds that among consumers who have made purchases online, full 40% also qualify as “brand advocates,” defined as: “adventurous opinion leaders who are socially well-connected, express their opinions and viewpoints and continually discover new content online.” Brand advocates like to write online about their purchases. They watch online videos (45% say they watch online video “several times a week) and 32% either write blog posts or message board entries.

Our takeaway for nonprofits:

    • Endangered species: print newsletter writers!
    • Most important species: online strategists!

Re-visit our earlier post: Your Most Important Hire.

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