We’re halfway through 2022, marking a nice time to revisit our yearly fundraising predictions. In our December 2021 look-ahead blog, we noted five key marketing trends to watch.
So, how’d we do?
Here’s What We Predicted
Trend 1: Retain “One-Time” Donors from the Pandemic
Where we are: Many nonprofits worried that once the pandemic subsided, newly acquired donors would disappear. We have good news: The Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s analysis of 2021’s giving found that the number of donors who gave to a charity for the first time in 2020 and gave again to the same charity in 2021 increased by 26%.
In the next 6 months you should: Provide small, genuine gestures of gratitude to steward new donors. An email, a card, a social media post that gives instead of asks are all easy ways to engage new givers.
Trend 2: Host Events in New Ways
Where we are: Virtual events are not isolated to the pandemic. Though in-person gatherings are growing, we’re seeing the rise of hybrid events with both in-person and virtual components. According to Network for Good, hybrid events are here to stay because they offer flexibility, engagement, convenience, cost savings and expanded reach.
In the next 6 months you should: Test your hybrid abilities. Does your technology—think sound and visual equipment—work well for a live event that’s also being broadcast?
Trend 3: Diversify Your Communications
Where we are: The Chronicle of Philanthropy shares that the traditional demographics of philanthropy are changing. Likewise, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy tells us that there is little if any difference in charitable giving across racial and ethnic groups.
In the next 6 months you should: Ensure that you’re representing diverse groups and backgrounds across your photography, videos, donor testimonials and success stories. Use inclusive language in all your communications.
Trend 4: Partner with Non-Nonprofits
Where we are: We’re still watching for this trend to assert itself. As consumers show a preference for businesses that align with their personal values, we wonder if retail partners will try to engage with you. This trend may still emerge as a new form of fundraising, especially with Millennials and Gen Z who make socially conscious spending decisions.
In the next 6 months you should: Remain open to retailers wanting to partner with you. There is opportunity to expand the audience for your good work.
Trend 5: Tell Stories Through Video
Where we are: Video has become an irreplaceable part of any fundraising strategy. In a recent post, we noted how popular online videos and YouTube are among a key fundraising demographic–44% of Boomers visit YouTube daily. Video is a rich storytelling medium, and people share videos at twice the rate of any other form of content.
In the next 6 months you should: Identify one piece of content that would be better presented via video. A donor testimonial, a tour of your building, a Q&A with an expert—the production doesn’t have to be A+ for the story to resonate.
So, What Did We Miss?
While most of our trendspotting has been, well, spot-on, there are some things that we missed.
Inflation is impacting operating costs. Consumers, businesses and nonprofits are feeling the inflation hit. For nonprofits, one of inflation’s most tangible impacts can be felt in direct mail. The cost of paper is up nearly 40% year over year. Inflation is increasing the cost of nearly all goods and services and can diminish charitable effectiveness by eroding budgets in the face of increasing needs.
In the next 6 months you should: Plan with your printing vendor to minimize unexpected paper costs. Ensure that your strategy includes impactful emails.
New CGA rates created a new opportunity. The American Council on Gift Annuities released a new schedule of gift annuity rates. This creates a new and substantive opportunity for communicating with donors, as rates will increase from 0.4% to 0.6%.
In the next 6 months you should: Market these gifts! Here’s a FREE sample copy to get you started:
Need to put a greater focus on people-centric content. Words matter. Today’s marketing and media landscape has put an important and authentic focus on inclusivity. By using people-first language, you can communicate your respect for others. For example, you would say that someone “is living with” or “being treated for,” rather than “is suffering from.”
In the next 6 months you should: Review your copy to do the following gut check: If everyone featured in a story reads it, how will they feel?
What Trends Can Tell Us
Trends reveal a lot about us—who we are as communities, organizations and individuals. The current crop of timely ideas encourages us to tell authentic stories. By doing this, we can better manage economic volatility and create lasting, meaningful relationships.