6 New Fundraising Trends to Keep Your Eye On In 2019

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Posted on April 4, 2019 by Harbor Compliance in Nonprofit Compliance.

Fundraising comes with its challenges, but there are effective and creative ways to meet them. If you’re looking to up your fundraising game, look no further than this year’s newest trends. From the type of digital content you use to the type of partners you work with, there are clear game-changing techniques that you should be aware of and start incorporating into your campaigns.

If you want to make informed fundraising asks, especially online, it’s important to think about all the elements that go into fundraising — some are more commonplace and reliable, and some could surprise you. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top trends and how you can use them in your campaigns:

  1. Prioritize personalization
  2. Don’t forget email
  3. Leverage corporate philanthropy
  4. Be transparent
  5. Target Gen Z
  6. Try video messaging

Even if you’re in the process of looking at potential new online fundraising platforms and trying to increase your donation revenue, these strategies can further impact your success. Are you ready to dive into these trends? Let’s begin!

1. Prioritize personalization.

One of the biggest trends to look for this year is personalization. If you don’t prioritize this, you run the risk of losing your donors’ attention, most of whom have come to expect more personalized and less cookie-cutter approaches in digital marketing and outreach. So, what are the best ways to do this? First off, you want to avoid the donor management blues and adequately prepare yourself when making fundraising asks.

Follow these tips when extending your asks:

  • Avoid generalized fundraising appeals. People don’t respond to generalized fundraising appeals. They lack personalization, of course, but doing this also implies to the donors that they’re being undervalued as potential donors.
  • Emulate the corporate giants. Tech giants like Facebook and Amazon follow their users’ viewing history and trends to personalize recommendations. Individuals now expect that same level of personalization in other areas of life, so keep this in mind when reaching out to prospective donors. What drew them to engage with your organization in the first place? Use that as a springboard.
  • Make a personalized ask. To continue the above point, be sure you’ve researched any mid-range to major donors you’re reaching out to. Ask for the right recommended donation amount based on their financial status and donation history, and take other factors like demographics into account.

The best way to make an informed fundraising ask is to keep your donor data organized and segment your donor lists. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be on your way to using personalization as a key component of your outreach.

2. Don’t forget email!

Believe it or not, email isn’t dead. It’s still considered the highest converting and most cost-effective way to reach your donors. The caveat? There are some best practices you should follow when reaching out to donors via email. Try these out for yourself:

  • Use strong subject lines. A large percentage of email recipients decide if they’ll open an email based on the subject line. If you don’t nail this right off the bat, you won’t even get your potential donors to the point where they read about your cause.
  • Use personalization. It’s time to bring up another personalization point! Don’t start your email with, “Dear Donor!” That will immediately deter readers. Use a mail merge tool so you can easily insert each donor’s name into your email template. Check out Fundraising Letters templates for additional ways to structure your email.
  • Focus on mobile optimization. Make sure your fundraising email is optimized for mobile browsers, as many emails are opened on a mobile device first. If your images and links are not easily viewable or clickable, your viewers will be less likely to respond to your fundraising request.
  • Prioritize visual interest. Use powerful images that evoke a sense of empathy in your readers. Avoid stock photos and choose real images of your beneficiaries. Tip: Use a single person and not a group whenever possible!

Be sure to clearly link back to your donation page, which should also be optimized for mobile use and easy to navigate. If you’re looking for additional information on donation software for nonprofits, you should explore these features.

3. Leverage growing corporate philanthropy.

Corporate giving is growing nowadays, and corporate philanthropy is an important trend to consider when trying to increase your fundraising appeal. When they shop, many customers and shoppers consider the image and social responsibility of corporations now more than ever. So, how can you use this to your advantage?

Try the below strategies:

  • Build corporate partnerships. Partner with a business that wants to improve or rehabilitate its image. However, before you do this, think about your audience and how they would react to the news about your partnership. Be sure the corporation’s values are in line with your own. Then, prepare a sponsorship proposal and start reaching out!
  • Focus on matching gifts. Many companies offer matching gifts as an employee benefit. Basically, when an employee makes a charitable donation, their company will match their gift. Double the Donation offers a matching gifts database that can be embedded into your nonprofit’s website. Employees can then use it to search for their employer and determine if their gift will be matched.
  • Volunteer. Offer corporate employees the opportunity to volunteer with your organization. More and more companies are allowing their employees to volunteer, both during work hours and outside, and then matching their volunteered hours with donations.

By tuning into the wave of corporate philanthropy, you can help drive donations to your nonprofit and gain exposure in more ways than one. Start researching corporations that share your vision and values, and give this a try for yourself.

4. Focus on transparency and authenticity.

In today’s age, the tech-savvy generation isn’t interested in flashy fundraising events. They want to know their donations are being put to good use and that they are making a difference. You have to prove to them that you’re a trustworthy steward of their money, and they can tell if your marketing appeals are not genuine.

To do this successfully, you have a few options:

  • Live stream updates. Live streaming is a great way to make your organization more transparent. Using raw footage is a powerful tactic and offers an immediate look at the work your organization is doing. Instagram stories and Facebook live are awesome platforms for doing this.
  • Use data visualization. Use infographics to engage your audience and show how your organization is using their donations. This is a helpful way to break down complex ideas and make it easily digestible for everyone.
  • Invite donors to your program locations. Allow donors to see first-hand how their gifts are changing your beneficiaries’ lives.

Donors are more likely to contribute to organizations raising money on their own for individual events, rather than mass charity-sponsored events, so improving your transparency and focusing on authenticity is very important.

5. Reach out to Gen Z.

Gen Z is an up-and-coming generation that has spending power, and they’re not afraid to use it. To them, transparency is more important than ever before.

By using prospect research to learn more about this generation, you can successfully engage them and get them involved with your cause. Gen Z is full of individuals who are willing to volunteer and get their hands dirty. Let’s take a look at ways to interact with them and form meaningful relationships:

  • Be concise. Gen Z is growing up with access to a lot of information, and, as a result, they have learned how to sort through it quickly. Win their attention by offering an engaging and immediate experience and keep your content brief.
  • Offer more than just the normal volunteer experience. Those in Gen Z want to build up their resumes, so give them work to do that helps your organization, but also teaches them something new.
  • Create mentorship programs. Give individuals the chance to shadow your employees during meetings, or find other ways to build personal connections, such as one-on-one mentoring. Treat them as your equal and give them the opportunity to grow.
  • Give them places on the board. Gen Z can bring a fresh perspective to the table, so creating a youth advisory board, for example, is a great way to get them involved. Be sure to check any state regulations on youth involvement with such boards.

Invest in Gen Z and you’ll not only forge meaningful relationships, but you’ll grow your nonprofit, as well. The younger generation is full of ideas and ready to work, so embrace this and get them involved!

6. Try a video message.

Video marketing has a better engagement rate than still images, so it’s important to incorporate videos into your fundraising technique. Videos are often prioritized in social media “newsfeed” algorithms. For platforms that serve users the content they think they’ll be most interested in, this can increase the number of impressions your content receives.

Here are some tips for creating video messages:

  • Try creating a heartwarming or funny video that can snag a scrolling reader’s attention on social media to draw attention to your cause.
  • Keep videos to an average of 2 minutes long to get the most engagement.
  • Include clear calls to action, such as donating or sponsoring an event. You can also add your text-to-donate information to the video. This is a quick and easy way to call viewers to action for your cause.
  • Use a strong ending to drive your message home.

Replace the text you’re writing with an embedded video and use smaller amounts of text around it. This will keep your viewers more engaged and drive more people toward your cause. Video messages are a fantastic way to reach out to your donors, so keep this in mind when researching fundraising trends.

Following this year’s trends can help raise your nonprofit up to new levels. But it’s important to think more specifically about each one and determine how to tailor it to your cause. Use the right donation tools to attract donors and keep donor data organized, and all of this will come together.

If you perform the right prospect research, focus on remaining authentic, and think about the new rising generation, you’ll be in a good place to grow even more. What are you waiting for? Try out these trends for yourself!

Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.