5 Fundraising Predictions for 2015

January 6, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

Conversion optimization, or improving donation flow to raise more money; the ability to engage with Millennials; donor retention and treating all donors as if they are major donors; online fundraising and mobile; and, the ability to share stories in a very visual way will be the top fundraising trends for 2015.

That’s what Rich Dietz, senior product manager for digital fundraising for Abila Software in Austin, Texas predicts. “2015 will be a big year and a transitional year for the nonprofit sector as business-minded tactics slowly gain ground and organizations think about increased growth versus simply being sustainable,” said Dietz. “Engagement strategies will reach new levels as Millennials continue to emerge in importance and nonprofits think about the best way to interact with their supporters.”

His predictions for 2015 fundraising include:

  • Conversion Optimization: Organizations will begin to think about how to better convert existing website visitors versus simply attracting new visitors. This is a business practice that many small businesses have adopted recently and will work well for nonprofits. Conversion optimization revolves around measuring, testing and optimizing the donation flow to raise more money.
  • Millennial Engagement: According to The Brookings Institute, Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. As Millennials enter the workforce and have money to spend, organizations will need to put strategies in place to best engage this demographic. Many follow a different path to becoming a donor than is traditionally done and nonprofits will need to adapt to these differences.
  • Donor Loyalty and Lifetime Value: Tracking donor engagement will be crucial. Organizations will spend more time analyzing characteristics and behaviors of all of their constituents — not just major donors — to better understand what drives their giving behavior. By tracking donor engagement, organizations will be able to further segment their appeals, personalize their outreach to donors, significantly increase donor loyalty, improve lifetime value, and treat all donors like major donors.
  • Online and Mobile: Online and mobile have played an increasingly key role for organizations the past few years, and that will continue in 2015. Social will play a key role in the “attention economy,” and responsive design will be necessary to allow supporters to access an organization’s website at any time from any device. 2014 was the tipping point for more web traffic coming from mobile devices than desktop computers. According to Pew Research Center, more than 90 percent of all Americans own a cell phone.
  • Storytelling Becomes Visual: Creating a narrative and sharing a story has always been important for nonprofits to successfully engage donors, but doing so in a visual way is becoming essential. Organizations will have to find creative and innovative ways to engage supporters in a world full of distractions, and visual components are key. Web posts with visuals drive up to 180 percent more engagement and research indicates people process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

“The nonprofit sector must continue to evolve and keep pace with behavioral changes we see in society,” said Dietz. “Organizations that embrace new ways of thinking, streamline their databases, create visual stories, and adjust their engagement approaches will be successful.”