Fundraising Trends to Watch in 2016

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Can it really have been a year since we last predicted up-and-coming fundraising trends? It seems so — it’s that time of year again! Here are some fundraising trends that we think will make a big impact on the nonprofit industry next year.

1. Do-It-Yourself Fundraising

“DIY” fundraising has been the topic of many, many conversations in the nonprofit industry this year, and for good reason — it’s getting very popular! DIY fundraising allows supporters to put their own spin on fundraising for a good cause. Common iterations are people “donating” birthdays or other special occasions and encouraging friends and family to donate in lieu of gifts. Bake sales, car washes, garage sales, hikes, and other activities are all versions of DIY fundraising, and fundraisers are increasingly looking to move their fundraising activity online.

Another interesting twist in DIY fundraising is small, grass-roots fundraising efforts to support individuals, not nonprofits, online. If my Facebook feed is any indication of wider trends, more people in bad situations are turning to online platforms to ask for monetary help for anything from medical expenses to family crises. It will be interesting to see if an increase in personal fundraising will have any effect on the way nonprofits use social fundraising platforms!

2. Growing Emphasis on Cohesive Campaigns

Nonprofits are increasingly savvy marketers, which is a good thing! Audiences are so inundated by ads, information, and appeals that it often takes a remarkable, coordinated campaign to register in peoples’ minds.

The most successful campaigns span different channels — mail appeals and pamphlets combined with social media presence and website updates, for example — are a big boost for campaign awareness. It’s especially useful when nonprofits have one great story that they use across all channels. I’ve noticed a huge lift in the quality of stories nonprofits are telling me as their donor, and I think the emphasis on cohesive, story-based campaigns will continue to grow.

3. Higher Demands for Transparency

Again, I’m judging this largely by what I myself have been seeing on my own social channels. I’ve seen a surge in interest regarding nonprofit transparency this year, especially around #GivingTuesday. Friends and family have been posting statuses looking for reputable nonprofits to support, and there’s a lot of talk about overhead and how much money nonprofits spend on their mission today.

This is keeping with a lot of other donor trends that, as a whole, indicate that donors want to know how nonprofits use their money after it’s been donated. Donors are ready to support organizations — don’t worry about that — but they’re motivated by the idea of investing in a cause, not just in supporting a nonprofit. Like any investor, they want to know that their money is making a difference. Make sure you keep your donors in the loop.

What do you think will be an important trend in 2016?

Check out the top questions and answers that nonprofits have about fundraising.

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