What’s Trending Now in Fundraising for Nonprofits? [Infographic]
Fundraising is fundamental to running a successful nonprofit, as nearly every charitable organization relies on external sources of revenue to make their mission a reality. As technology has advanced and the nonprofit industry has grown, fundraising has shifted and expanded to better meet the needs of organizations and continues to change with the times.
Gone are the days when cell phones were only used to make phone calls, of compartmentalizing traditional and digital marketing (as well as on and offline donors), and when being on social media just meant having a Facebook page.
In a world where technology is king and the internet reigns supreme, nonprofits must keep up with the latest fundraising trends in order to keep their organizations afloat.
Current Fundraising Stats and Their Importance
At first glance, the current trends in nonprofit fundraising seem to promise success and a bright future to all those involved. Giving as a whole is on the rise and the number of people committing to monthly giving has increased steadily in recent years.
But the number of nonprofits is also increasing, meaning that the amount of money any one organization is bringing in may not see a significant increase and could even decrease if an charity is not putting the necessary time and energy into fundraising.
Here are some of the current trends in fundraising that nonprofits need to be aware of if they want to hold their own among the growing number of charitable organizations.
All About Online Fundraising
Online giving is no longer a new idea.
In fact, if your organization does not have an outlet for receiving donations online, you are missing out on a substantial source of income and could be risking your reputation, appearing to be outdated or behind the times. 75% of younger donors admit to being turned off of an organization due to an out-of-date website, and even older generations are joining the ranks of those giving online, with 47% of those older than 60 giving on the internet.
This means that just having an online presence is no longer enough. The level of online donations has grown consistently for many years now, and the ways in which people are donating online continue to develop and change with new technological advances and other giving trends. It is critical to keep up with new developments so that your organization can make full use of the online giving channels.
Going mobile is a must.
In 2016, mobile accounted for 68% of the internet usage in the United States, a figure projected to reach 75% by the end of 2017 and even higher in the years to come. With so many people relying on their mobile devices to access the internet, having a mobile-responsive website has become a necessity, and mobile-friendly donation pages are critical for successful online fundraising.
Currently, mobile giving makes of 17% of all online giving, which will only continue to increase as more nonprofits optimize their websites for mobile use. This can also be done for emails, allowing donors to access them easily from anywhere, and probably should, seeing as one-third of online fundraising revenue is the result of email outreach.
Engaging in Social Media
The impact of social media is undeniable, but a shift has already begun to take place, as paid social is starting to overtake organic social in the realms of marketing. Facebook and other social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter are regularly changing their organic algorithms, giving less priority to the organic posts of your nonprofit, which has caused many organizations to turn to paid advertising.
This decrease in engagement can be used to your advantage, though, if you are willing to invest financially in social media marketing. The advertising tools offered by Facebook and other sites allow you to target a select audience that is more likely to result in conversions instead of just relying on your supporters to share your content or others to stumble across it on their own.
Another option for social media engagement that is being utilized by nonprofits is having social media brand ambassadors.
Despite the trend toward paid social media advertising, 92% of people worldwide say they trust earned (or free) media, including recommendations from friends and family, above advertising of any other form. So using brand ambassadors is a way to promote your organization through a real person that others can relate to and trust.
One of the most popular new trends in online fundraising is one-to-one fundraising, which consists of both crowdfunding and peer to peer fundraising. These two methods for raising funds rely heavily on social networking and empower an organization’s supporters to campaign on their behalf.
The crowdfunding industry is projected to grow to more than $300 billion by 2025, and nearly one-third of all online donations are now a result of peer-to-peer fundraising. With more than 1,200 crowdfunding platforms around the globe, your organization should have no problem finding a way to incorporate one-to-one fundraising into its fundraising efforts if it is not already.
What Does the Future of Fundraising & Philanthropy Hold?
While it is important to make sure your organization is keeping up with current trends, it is also a wise idea to keep an eye on where fundraising is headed in order to anticipate any major changes for which you might need to be prepared.
So what does the future of nonprofit fundraising hold?
The future of fundraising is best captured by the shift away from using the term at all. Now more acceptably referred to as philanthropy, the idea captures a shift from a financial focus to a social one.
In the past, fundraising was always about raising the necessary amount of money at the end of the day, but that mindset is becoming outdated. In order to reach the up and coming generations and inspire them to take part in what your organization is doing, it has to be about giving to a worthy cause that is truly making a huge, obvious, and noticeable impact.
As the focus shifts off of the dollar amount and onto what that dollar amount is doing to better the world, traditional methods of fundraising are being replaced with new, philanthropic tactics that utilize modern technology and embrace the socially networked world in which we live.
Here are some of the upcoming trends that are likely to be seen in fundraising’s future as it transforms into the philanthropy of tomorrow.
Pull vs. Push Marketing
Push and pull marketing are two different businesses approaches that have also been used in the nonprofit industry as organizations decide how to grow fundraising and increase their support base.
Traditionally push marketing was the main focal point for most nonprofits, including strategies such as direct mail sent to prospective donors, print ads or articles, and a website laid out like a brochure about your organization that you hope will inspire people to take interest in your cause. Basically, push marketing relies on you to broadcast a specific message through various channels and on your audience to respond to that message.
Pull marketing takes the opposite approach. Rather than trying to sell yourself, the idea is to focus your energy on engaging potential donors and building relationships that will cause people to voluntarily decide to take part in what you are doing.
Pull marketing is already being employed by many nonprofits and is where the future of fundraising and donor acquisition is headed. Social media are the perfect outlets for connecting with donors on a more relational level and can be used to foster a sense of community that will lead to greater donor involvement.
Here are five tips for making the switch from push to pull marketing for your nonprofit:
- Start a blog. Instead of pushing out what can be perceived as fundraising propaganda to mass audiences via direct mail, try writing a blog that is tailored to people who share similar interests and would be likely to become involved with your organization. This gives you the opportunity to provide useful and engaging information and them the chance to read, comment, and interact.
- Hold smaller, more intimate events. Rather than mailing out invites to an extravagant dinner or fancy gala that is more about the food and entertainment than your cause, you can host more intimate events for current supporters and their friends and family. This will give you the chance to connect with people who have already invested in your organization and to educate their circle of peers about how they can become involved as well.
- Shift your focus. Nonprofits often evaluate donors based on what they can do for the organization, but pull marketing works best when you take time to think about what you can offer them. Whether it is the opportunity to make a lasting impact on others, meet people with the same values and interests, or become a more involved member of their community, show your donors what they can gain by supporting your charity.
- Ask engaging questions. Facebook and other social media should not just be a platform for you to post content about your organization and its cause. While you want to provide useful resources, you should also utilize these outlets to ask questions and initiate conversations that will engage potential supporters and make your current supporters feel more connected.
- Empower your supporters. As opposed to just asking your donors to give time and money to your organization, encourage and equip them to be leaders. Find out what they need and provide them with the adequate resources to step up and lead their friends, family, and peers to join them in supporting your nonprofit. This will build loyalty and give them a greater sense of ownership in your mission, as well as grow your donor base.
One trend that nonprofits need to be aware of as they strategize to stay competitive with other organizations and raise necessary funds is the rise of social entrepreneurship.
This includes B Corps, which are for-profit companies that have been certified by the nonprofit B Lab by meeting specified standards of both social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, and other businesses that are pushing social agendas and measuring their success in terms other than profit margins and stock prices.
TOMS Shoes is the perfect example of successful social entrepreneurship and the power this type of business model holds in our world today. When you buy a pair of TOMS, you are not just buying yourself a new pair of shoes. You are providing shoes to a child who can’t afford shoes, helping someone in need.
Echoing the desire to shift from fundraising to philanthropy, people are much more willing to buy from a company they perceive as caring about social change and benefiting others than they are from one that doesn’t, often even when it means paying more.
So what does this mean for nonprofits? Are they destined to go the way of the buggy whip?
Not necessarily. It may take a shift in mindset to adapt to the way the world of charitable giving and social activism is changing, something that fundraising experts Atul Tandon captured when he said:
Fundamentally when a non-profit starts to think, well, my job is actually two-sided: my job, my mission is on the one side to change the life of the beneficiary, so I’m changing lives; on the other side, I’m changing hearts. When the non-profit starts to think of itself as a bridge and a connector between the donor on the one side and the beneficiary and the cause on the other, well you suddenly find yourself not in the role of an activist — you’ll find yourself in the role of a bridge-builder.
Video Killed the Radio Star
Video has already become an integral part of many fundraising campaigns, and its prevalence will only continue to grow.
The popularity and emphasis on video can be seen in social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook incorporating video (especially live video) into their interfaces. And when you consider that 57% of people who watch nonprofit videos go on to make a donation and crowdfunding campaigns that are promoted by a video raise 4 times more than campaigns that aren’t, it’s no wonder nonprofits are making a move toward using video as well.
If you need guidance or inspiration on how to incorporate video into your fundraising efforts, here are a few examples of successful nonprofit video fundraising campaigns.
SMS Text to Give
When it comes to raising funds, it doesn’t get much easier than this.
Since the very first text message was sent in 1992, it has grown to become the most favored form of communication worldwide. In the US, the average person only makes 6 phone calls but sends and receives 32 text messages a day! So, by engaging donors via text message, you are providing them with a familiar and comfortable form of communication that is likely to foster a more positive response than other, more traditional methods.
Employing a text-to-give campaign provides donors with the opportunity to give in a matter of minutes directly from their phones. By simply texting your keyword to a shortcode number, they receive a link to your mobile-friendly donation page, where they can easily and quickly make their donation using a debit or credit card.
This form of fundraising is already being used, steadily becoming more widely utilized by nonprofits around the US and the world. In 2015, 14% of all online giving was done via a mobile device, and, with 91% of all American adults using smartphones, it is inevitable that this number will only continue to grow.
Transitional Vs. Permanent Nonprofits
Older generations have had the tendency to give to nonprofits in a consistent manner, viewing it as a long-term commitment and treating it as just another bill or financial obligation. But younger generations are taking a different approach. They are much more likely to give based on a perceived need with the motivation of seeing a problem resolved or some form of immediate results and less concerned with building a lasting relationship with any one organization.
This trend is leading to the emergence of transitional nonprofits, which are organizations that are formed for brief 3 to 5 year periods of time. This in-the-moment mindset has already started to take hold and seems to be where many organizations are headed. Even large, well-established organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which recently adopted a new “giving while you’re living” credo, are embracing this idea of meeting immediate needs without putting as much focus on long term endeavors.
While it still remains to be seen whether this transitional model is where all nonprofits are headed or just a new type of organization that will exist alongside more traditional charities, their shortsighted nature will certainly have an impact on the future of fundraising.
Leveraging Big Data
In the past big data was really only available to large organizations that had the wealth and resources to access it, but that is quickly changing. Big data is now available to most everyone and being used more and more to improve donor relations and allow nonprofits to more accurately reach their target audience.
Most organizations have already been monitoring RFM (recency, frequency, and monetary value) data, but the increasing availability of big data could potentially unlock a whole new realm of donor acquisition and engagement. And this wealth of information could not have come at a more opportune time.
As nonprofits are being called to connect with donors on a more personal level and build relationships and a greater sense of community, access to big data allows them to answer this call and connect with donors in a more relatable and relevant way than ever before.
Ever heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Did you know that it raised more than $100 million in just 30 days?
Or what about the crisis in Haiti? In the year that followed the 2012 earthquake, Americans gave $1.4 billion to various organizations to assist in the relief of the Haitian people and the rebuilding of the country. It is opportunities like these that nonprofits are learning to use to their advantage, a trend that could shape the future of fundraising for nonprofits.
With the power and influence available via social media, nonprofits are becoming increasingly proactive with their fundraising efforts instead of just being reactive. Now is the time for charities to begin preparing for and utilizing newsworthy events that relate to their mission and cause, as well as launching their own compelling campaigns, in order to connect with donors and solicit donations.
Contactless Donations: Tap-to-Donate
Contactless donor technology was first employed in 2012 and has elicited mixed responses from donors and those in the nonprofit industry. While some donors prefer to give anonymously and keep all of their personal information private, this secrecy is largely a disadvantage for organizations looking to build lasting relationships with donors.
So far, organizations employing this method of fundraising have only raised modest amounts, and it remains uncertain whether it will truly catch on.
Virtual Reality & Other Emerging Technologies
Could virtual reality and other seemingly futuristic technologies be used by nonprofits to boost fundraising efforts?
The future is here because the answer is yes, and, in some places, these technologies are already being used to transform donor experiences and encourage giving in entirely new ways. Face-to-face fundraising can be difficult because people often react negatively to the idea of being directly approached about donating to an organization, but virtual reality is being used to counter that.
For example, the WWF created a 3D Tiger Experience to engage donors in London’s Westfield Shopping Centre.
Shoppers were given video headsets that allowed them to step into the forests of Nepal to experience a tiger’s natural habitat in order to raise awareness about tiger poaching. This virtual reality experience allowed the organization to tell their story in an engaging and memorable way that gave the participants a tangible connection to the cause that also increased their likelihood to donate.
Other organizations have also started to incorporate this cutting edge technology into their fundraising efforts, and it is likely that more and more will do the same as virtual reality becomes more widely used as a whole.
Top 11 Nonprofit Fundraising Tips
So now that you are up to date on the latest fundraising trends and have an idea of what the future of fundraising is likely to hold, it’s time to make sure your nonprofit is doing everything it can to fundraise successfully. These 11 fundraising best practices for nonprofits will help you optimize your organization’s efforts to reach more and raise more.
For 67 innovative fundraisers your organization could put on, check out these hot nonprofit fundraising ideas.
1. Be Mobile-Friendly
Soon, having a mobile-friendly website and donation page will no longer be an option. If you want to stay relevant to donors and competitive with other nonprofits, it is essential to incorporate this technology into your fundraising endeavors.
You want to make sure that your entire site is compatible with tablets and smartphones, especially your donation page. By using a mobile responsive web design, you can ensure that visitors to your website will have a good user experience regardless of what kind of device they are using.
2. Simplify & Reduce
Whether you are creating a donation page or planning a fundraiser, simple and straightforward is always better. When you provide your donors with too much information to read, too many forms to fill out, or too many steps to follow, you are likely to lose them somewhere along the way. This is especially important on your donation page, where you want to be sure nothing distracts or detracts from the purpose of the page.
3. Encourage Recurring Monthly Giving
Receiving a one-time donation is never a bad thing, but having a donor commit to giving on a regular interval is almost always the more desirable option. Monthly donations guarantee a longer lasting relationship with the donor, help grow your long-term online fundraising performance, and provide a more predictable and reliable source of monthly revenue.
You can easily encourage monthly giving by adding an option to make a donation recurring on your donation page. You may even consider offering an added incentive for donors that decide to become monthly supporters.
4. Suggest Giving Amounts
Using preselected giving levels has been proven to increase average online donation size, which improves your overall donation form performance. It’s simple; rather than giving donors an empty box that allows them to specify the amount they want to give, lay out some predetermined options.
People often don’t know how much they want to or should give and are likely to round up to the amount that is closest to what they may have been considering. Sometimes people will even be inspired to give more because they assume the amounts you are recommending are the standard gift sizes being donated by others.
You can still include a place for “other” donation amounts, but most people will stick to the options already provided for them.
5. Grab People’s Attention
Just because people are viewing your website does not mean they are going to give. You need to catch their attention and inspire them to want to support your cause.
It is important to have a prominent “Donate Now!” button that is easy to see and stands out on the page. You can also engage donors by utilizing pictures and videos throughout your social media posts and website.
Videos posted on Facebook are 12 times more likely to be shared than regular posts and posts with images get 53% more shares than posts without. By incorporating visuals into your fundraising campaigns and website, you have a significantly better chance of driving your viewers to donate.
6. Be Your Brand
Branding is important because it is a clear representation of who you are as an organization and makes you recognizable to donors. It takes time, energy, and careful intentionality to develop a consistent and cohesive brand, so why would you not want to incorporate that into your fundraising?
Your donation page should be heavily branded and clearly establish your organization’s brand and what you stand for. This legitimizes your organization and gives donors a sense of security, knowing exactly who they are giving to and why.
7. Walk the Walk: Social Proof
If you want to attract new donors and continue to bring in funds, social proof is key. The idea is to demonstrate to potential supporters that they are not the first to give to your cause or take part in your event. Building a sense of community and proving that donors will not be alone in supporting your mission makes them more confident and likely to take action.
Some practical ways to put this into practice is by keeping a running tally of money raised during a campaign on your donation page and using social media as an outlet for publicizing the involvement of supporters and updates on your campaign. Or you can list credible testimonials from well-known individuals, organizations, or foundations.
You can also check out these additional ideas for how to add social proof to your organization’s website.
8. Emphasize Security
Even though transactions online have become relatively common, people still want to know that their personal information is secure and their money safe when they make a donation. Proving the safety of your website can be as simple as including a well-recognized SSL logo on your page and some sort of trust badge in the footer. These seemingly small details can actually make a significant impact on the willingness of donors to give on your website.
9. Transparency is Key
With the growing number of nonprofits and the advances in technology that have made financial records much more easily accessible, it is becoming increasingly important for charities to be transparent about who they are, what they are doing, and for what their funds are being used. Donors are no longer willing to give in blind faith, hoping that their donations will be used appropriately. They want to know that they can trust the organization to which they are giving their money.
Try making your financial information easily accessible on your site and putting any accreditations or certifications somewhere that viewers are likely to see them. The more open and honest you appear to donors, the more they will feel they can trust your nonprofit with their donations.
10. Stay in Touch
Communication is also key, especially in the world of fundraising and philanthropy. The worst thing you can do when someone donates to your organization is to let that be the only interaction you ever have with them. When people donate, be sure to collect their contact information and follow up with them after the fact.
You should also include a way to easily opt-in to joining your email list so that you don’t miss the opportunity to connect with donors interested in becoming more involved.
11. Thank and Reward Donors
Not only do donors want to know that their money went to good use, they want to know that their generosity was recognized and appreciated. Thank you notes, especially personalized ones, are a good place to start, but rewarding donors for their donations can leave a lasting impact that leads to a sense of loyalty toward your organization and continued involvement and contributions.
The key to rewarding donors in a way that is mutually beneficial is to find a gift that aligns with your mission, is useful to your supporters, and prominently displays your nonprofit’s logo.
For example, the National Wildlife Federation sends a small field bag with the NWF logo on it to each of their donors. This ties in with their mission and the interests of their supporters and will also remind them of NWF every time they use it. It could even serve as an advertisement to the friends and family of their donors when they see them using the bag.
Fundraising for Your Nonprofit with Acendia
Are you ready to update your fundraising efforts to make sure your organization is keeping up with all the latest trends? If so, Acendia is the perfect tool for your nonprofit.
An all-in-one tech platform designed to help nonprofits reach more, raise more, and work smarter, Acendia integrates different fundraising efforts into one, easy-to-use software platform. With our software, you can ensure that your campaign is reaching the largest possible audience and your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts are achieving their full potential.
Originally published at learn.acendia.com on October 4, 2017.