What fundraising trends can nonprofit organizations expect to see in 2018? Gesture has analyzed data from many sources to come up with a list of the top 9 trends that nonprofit organizations should keep in mind when planning their fundraising and marketing efforts.

Here are the trends:

  • Storytelling
  • Social Media
  • Increase in Total Giving
  • Increase in Corporate Giving
  • Decrease in Email Effectiveness
  • Video Content
  • Fundraising Software Integration
  • Generational Shifts
  • Mobile Technology

Read more on each of these trends below! 

Increased Importance of Storytelling:

Creating a personal connection with donors is an excellent way to increase donor retention. One way to do this is to use storytelling in your marketing efforts. Your audience knows about the work they do, but they may not know why you do the work you do. You could also interview top donors to share the stories of why they give or ask board members why they care about your cause.

Use various methods to tell your story; videos, blogs, in-person speaking engagements, and social media posts are all effective ways to do this. For example, one of the types of a donation ask is an “emotional” ask. This ask involves someone who has been impacted by your organization (a volunteer, a staff member, or someone your organization has helped) speaking about why they support you. Using storytelling in this manner can help to increase donations.

More Social Media Usage:

As the population increases, the number of people utilizing social media will increase as well. In order to broaden your audience and reach donors where they are active, you will need to ensure your organization is active on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Post content that your followers will want to share with their friends and make sure that you are including the ways donors can give to your cause in your profile information.

Learn more about how your nonprofit organization can use Twitter for your marketing efforts here.

Total Giving Increase:

In 2018, total giving is predicted to increase by 3.8%. This is due to growth in three main areas: the S&P 500, GDP, and personal income. In 2016, Gesture helped charity partners raise $167 million. In 2017, that number increased to over $200 million. How can you make sure that these extra donor dollars are going towards your organization?

Some of the ways to make this prediction work for your organization are by planning inspiring fundraising campaigns, encouraging recurring gifts, and focusing on donor retention strategies. When considering your 2018 fundraising campaigns, think about what will inspire your donors to give. Then, give donors an option to automatically repeat their donation on a regular basis, like each month. Last, thank your donors and stay connected with them so that your donors will continue to make donations in 2019 and beyond!

Corporate Giving Increase:

In addition to total giving, corporate giving is also expected to increase by 2.7% due to similar reasons mentioned above for total giving.

One of the main ways that companies make donations is through match programs with their employees. In order to capitalize on this, make sure you are capturing all company gift matches by reminding donors on your donation pages that you accept those match donations. You can also increase donations from companies by networking with local business leaders. Whether it’s inviting them to your events, attending local business events, or interacting with their brands on social media, make sure that your organization is at the back of their mind so that when they are looking to make a donation or purchase a table at a gala, they think of your organization and cause.

Many companies also make in-kind donations of items or services. You can use these items in your silent and live auctions to bring in revenue to your organization. Gesture offers several corporate donation guides including a national guide and other guides separated by region and city. You can view a full menu of the guides here.

A Decrease in Email Effectiveness:

As email service providers update their algorithms that impact your messages ability to hit the inbox, explore other ways to engage with donors and use email more once you have established a digital connection with a donor.

Email deliverability is partly determined based on content. By tailoring your content to topics that are appropriate and relevant for your audience, you increase the likelihood of your email landing in their inbox and not the spam folder. Better yet, wait until you have a relationship with a donor before you email them and use emails to thank them for their donation and communicate with them about upcoming events. Once they are a regular donor, you can email them asking for donations and your email will likely be delivered.

Increased Popularity of Video Content:

By 2019, video content will be responsible for 85% of ALL U.S. internet traffic. Videos are easier than you think to produce! There is a wide selection of free video editing software you can download on computers and mobile devices allowing even a smaller organization without a graphic designer to create eye-catching video content. Whether you’re capturing images from a recent fundraising event and showing a slideshow of those images with music in the background, or you hire a professional videographer to help, video content is becoming increasingly more popular pushing simple text and photo posts lower on social media feeds.

Stay active in your donors’ eyes by joining this trend and creating interesting video content for viewers.

Greater Importance of Fundraising Software Integrations:

With the increase in fundraising software options available for nonprofit profit organizations to use, integration is more important than ever. Imagine being able to sell tickets and collect donor information on one platform and then transfer it to your CRM software so that you can appropriately follow-up with donors.

Some mobile fundraising platforms, like Gesture, give you this ability. It streamlines your fundraising operations even more and gives you the ability to focus on other areas of donor relations.

Generational Shifts:

In 2018 nonprofit organizations can also expect to see a shift in marketing tactics as Generations Y and Z surpass the Baby Boomers in size. Where Baby Boomers prefer email and direct mail, Generations Y and Z prefer being communicated with via social media networks.

Whether your donors are first time donors or long-term donors, the top two ways to communicate with these donors is via social media and email. Physical mail and in-person meetings are no longer as fruitful.

Increased Popularity of Mobile Technology:

Lastly but most importantly, expect mobile technology to grow in 2018. The 2017 NGO Tech Report noted that 85% of North American nonprofit and charity organizations accept online donations and 32% accept text donations. Globally, these numbers are 67% and 40%, so expect North America to catch up to other regions with text to give campaigns in the coming year.

Mobile technology can also help NFPs reach a broader audience. As previously mentioned, all social media networks are growing in size as the population is growing. While all of your audience members may not be able to attend your event, using mobile technology can give them the opportunity to participate in the raffles, auctions, donation campaigns, and more.