2022 is just around the corner, and peak fundraising season is upon us. As the year winds down, charities, nonprofits and everyone in-between is kicking off fundraising drives. There were many popular trends for fundraising events this year — from ubiquitous virtual events to a focus on sustainability. But, what happens after that season of giving is over and 2022 is in full swing?
We’re here to guide you through the top 2022 fundraising trends you should expect to see. Using these tips and trends you’ll be able to scale your fundraising to success.
If you ask today’s donor where their phone is, it’s probably in arm’s reach. If you ask those donors where their checkbook is, I’d doubt they’d have an immediate answer. When you’re asking donors to contribute to your charity, you want to eliminate as many barriers to donation as you possibly can.
Finding a checkbook, an envelope, and a stamp is too much of a burden for many of today’s donors. They’d rather donate with a few taps or swipes on their phone, or a few clicks on their laptop. Digital fundraising is quickly becoming the go-to way for charities to reach out to donors.
We’re used to doing everything from shopping, to ordering a cab, to buying insurance from the phone in the palm of our hand. Donors expect that same level of ease from the charities they contribute to. Whether you’re letting those folks donate by texting a keyword to a shortcode, or making it as easy as firing off a Venmo payment, you need to adopt a digital-first donation strategy. Incorporate the digital sphere into your event in a fun, interactive way like with a contactless activation or be sure to set up each attendee with a way to donate via their phone throughout the event.
We're smack dab in the middle of a subscription-based economy. The services you rely on to stream music, watch your favorite shows, and hop into workout classes are all subscription based.
One of the reasons those services are so successful is because of the higher retention rates with a subscription, or recurring based payment model. Once a user opts in to their service, that payment becomes a part of their daily financial life.
The same frictionless, high-retention dynamic applies for fundraising. FormStack reports that the average donor who opts into recurring donations gives 42% more per year than donors who give one-time donations. Additionally, the lifetime value of those supporters can be roughly 6 to 8 times higher than one-time donors.
If you dig into your Screen Time metrics on your iPhone, the odds are a majority of your time is spent on social media apps. From Facebook, to Instagram, to TikTok, and Twitter, we naturally gravitate to social media apps for everything from news to completely nonsensical entertainment. So when it comes to promoting your event, always include a social media strategy.
As a charity, you should go where your donors are — on social media. This keeps you at the front of their mind when it’s time to ask for donations. But, social media can also help you find new donors. Using the wealth of data social media companies have amassed about their users, you can target users with interests aligned to your organization.
For example, if you’re a Public Lands charity, you can target social media users who have expressed interest in rock climbing, hiking, whitewater rafting, and other sports that require the use of Public Land. Those folks might be more interested in donating. Use social media as both a way to stay in touch with existing donors and discover new ones, too.
How are your donors responding to your content? Sure, you can measure that with metrics, or you can ask them directly. To keep your finger on the pulse of your donor network, you need to have a more personable way of asking for their feedback.
Whether you’re sending out emails, push notifications, or text surveys, gathering feedback from donors on how happy they are with your organization is essential to your work. And don't forget that it's just as important to market a virtual event as it is an in-person event. You don’t want to wait for a quarterly review to discover you’ve been drifting out of step with your donors. And, if your donor pool loves a particular type of content or new campaign you’ve started up, you want to be able to double down on that quickly and confidently. Asking your donors for feedback will give you the data you need to do just that.
What connects TikTok to the donor pool that you’re still sending thank you letters to? They’re both effective means of reaching the ideal donor for your charity. While one method might be suited for a crowd that skews younger and another that leans older, they’re both valuable.
Embracing a relatively new platform like TikTok can introduce you to a new audience that’s waiting for you to meet them where they are. For example, according to Philanthropy.com, the CDC Foundation raised over $26,000 in one night on TikTok after putting together a weeklong series of fundraising livestreams.
While the bread and butter tools of fundraising like direct mail, email marketing, and in-person events aren’t going anywhere, the nonprofits and charities of today need to be active across any and all platforms.
Fundraising has to have a purpose. While the funds raised by your organization are going to a good cause, donors now want to see the long term effect and clear direction of those funds.
For example, it’s one thing to raise money to provide the unhoused hygiene kits, food, and warm clothes. That’s great. But, what donors might also want to see is how you’re, for example, addressing the causes of homelessness that lead to the need for emergency donations.
When you focus on trying to tackle systemic issues like institutionalized racism or unequal economic access, you address equity. This is obviously quite a complex subject and one your charity will have to carefully parse out when figuring out how to address equity. But, it’s one worth focusing on.
Anecdotes are incredibly powerful for storytelling and explaining your organization’s mission. For example, if you’re a non-profit focusing on protecting endangered animals, that concept might be a bit abstract for someone to really latch on to. But, if you pair that concept with a tangible story about one adorable family of pandas that your organization helped save, the average person can lock onto that and remember it.
Sharing the stories of your organization’s success is a powerful way to motivate your donor pool to continue contributing and invest in your future success.
We’ve had a long while apart from one another over the past 18 months. The COVID-19 pandemic, while seemingly on the decline, is not over. The inherent risk of attending in-person events can vary dramatically depending on where that event is being held and what safety precautions you implement.
Because of all of those variables, not every prospective event attendee is ready to return to in-person events. To maintain contact with your donors, and appeal to an audience with different levels of comfort with in-person events, hybrid events offer the best of both worlds.
Now, you can reach donors digitally or in-person with engaging content they can access at home, or face-to-face. When you’re kicking off a keynote, for example, make sure that the audience tuning in from home can participate with the same level of ease as the in-person audience. That way, you’re truly engaging your whole community of donors.
Let’s say there’s a large contingent of donors who are ready for in-person fundraising events. Instead of having them travel to your homebase, you can make a point to organize smaller, local events that appeal to that particular contingent of donors.
Hosting local events is a great way to show empathy and attention to one particular segment of your donors, and reduce the financial burden of attending the event you throw.
We are all human. We might miss an email. We might optimistically schedule a reminder to reply to an email or return a call and not get around to it even if we had the best of intentions. The power of the follow up cannot be underestimated. Instead of wondering what was wrong with your pitch, or worrying that you lost a potential sponsor, simply follow up on your first contact and see if that prospect is game to chat.
Pinging the sponsor again could inspire a new meeting to discuss your event, or lead to a referral to a sponsor that might be perfect for you.
Fundraising is hard work. There’s a risk of settling into one way of doing things and sticking to it. We’d challenge you to do two things. First, we’ll start with the more conservative approach. Take a look at the data behind your latest fundraising efforts across your social platforms and see what’s working and what’s not. Next, try a new program, a new social media campaign, a new experiment that feels right and true to your audience and see where it goes. With a mix of authentic experimentation that feels on-brand for your charity, and guidance from some good old fashioned data, you’ll be well on your way to fundraising success in 2022.