As we step into 2024, the landscape of fundraising is evolving rapidly, driven by technological advancements and changing donor expectations. Fundraisers across North America are adapting to these shifts to effectively engage with their communities and secure vital funding.
Let’s explore 13 key fundraising trends that are shaping the future of philanthropy. These trends range from innovative uses of artificial intelligence and automation to the growing importance of cashless giving and the power of community storytelling.
By understanding and embracing these trends, your organization can enhance its fundraising strategies, deepen donor relationships, and drive impactful change. Let’s delve into each trend, examining how they are being implemented by leading organizations and how they can be leveraged for your fundraising success in 2024.
1. Artificial Intelligence and Automation
More nonprofits are leveraging AI to create fundraising materials and automate repetitive tasks. This technology assists in generating innovative ideas and streamlining workflows but should be used carefully to maintain the organization’s authentic voice. Charity Water has successfully used AI and automation to personalize donor communications and streamline operations, enhancing donor engagement and operational efficiency.
2. Transitioning Offline to Online
The movement to online fundraising has continued through methods like apps and leveraging social media platforms with 24% of donors participating in giving through online auctions. Embracing the digital shift in fundraising, platforms like Bid Beacon facilitate the transition of traditional silent auctions to online formats. This approach broadens donor engagement, allowing supporters to participate from anywhere. Such tools cater to modern donor preferences for digital interactions, significantly enhancing fundraising efficiency and reach.
3. Cashless Giving
A majority of donors (63%) prefer using credit/debit cards for donations. With the decline in cash usage, organizations are moving towards cashless donations through kiosks, text-to-give services, and QR codes, making it easier for donors to contribute via smartphones or digital wallets. The Salvation Army introduced cashless donation options like Google Pay and Apple Pay at their traditional Red Kettle stations, adapting to the reduced use of cash.
4. Alternative Currencies
Accepting donations in forms like cryptocurrency and stocks is becoming more popular. This not only provides tax benefits for donors but also opens avenues for nonprofits to receive larger gifts from donors with less liquid assets. United Way Worldwide accepts cryptocurrency donations, providing donors with new ways to support their causes and tapping into a growing market of digital currency users.
5. Hyper-Engagement and Building Donor Relationships
Creating a sense of community around your cause and engaging donors through personalized experiences are key. This involves interactive storytelling and fostering genuine relationships. Pencils of Promise engages their donors through personalized stories and updates, creating a deeper connection with their cause.
6. Community Storytelling
Utilizing compelling storytelling methods, such as interactive videos and social media challenges, helps engage donors and showcase the impact of their contributions. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital uses compelling video storytelling on social media to share patient stories, engaging their community and showcasing the impact of donations.
7. Building Trust in the Digital Age
Prioritizing data security and transparency about data practices is essential in maintaining donor trust and securing donations. The American Red Cross has robust data security measures and transparent data practices, ensuring donor trust and security.
8. User-Generated Content
Leveraging content created by supporters, volunteers, and beneficiaries provides an authentic view of an organization’s impact and helps build a community. The ALS Association benefited greatly from the Ice Bucket Challenge, a user-generated content campaign that went viral and raised significant funds.
9. Hybrid Events
Combining virtual and in-person events allows fundraisers to reach a broader audience while maintaining the intimacy of physical events. These events focus on interactive experiences and meaningful content. Bid Beacon’s app allows organizations to effectively merge the energy of live events with the accessibility of digital platforms, creating a comprehensive and dynamic fundraising experience.
10. Donor Retention Strategies
Understanding donor motivations and providing regular impact updates are crucial for cultivating lasting relationships. Doctors Without Borders keeps donors engaged and informed through regular updates on how their contributions are being used, enhancing donor retention.
11. Hyperpersonalization and FOMO
Integrating personal details in donor communications and incorporating trends can motivate contributions through a sense of inclusion and urgency. The World Food Programme uses personalized email campaigns that highlight individual donor impacts, creating a sense of urgency and inclusion.
12. Strategic Partnerships
Collaborations with corporations, similar organizations, or local schools can foster trust, build brand awareness, and drive change toward a common mission. The partnership between Feeding America and Walmart fights hunger by leveraging Walmart’s logistical capabilities and Feeding America’s network of food banks.
13. Technology Trends
Embracing automation, artificial intelligence, and data analytics is becoming increasingly necessary for nonprofits to stay competitive and efficient. The American Heart Association utilizes advanced data analytics to tailor fundraising strategies and better understand donor behavior.
As we look toward the future of fundraising in 2024, it’s evident that embracing emerging trends is crucial for fundraisers. From the strategic use of artificial intelligence to the growing importance of cashless giving and community storytelling, each trend presents a unique opportunity to enhance engagement and maximize impact.
By adapting to these evolving landscapes and integrating these innovative approaches, your organization can not only meet but exceed its fundraising goals. The key lies in understanding your audience, leveraging technology wisely, and maintaining the authenticity and heart of your mission.