At this time of year, we naturally begin to reflect. In the charity world, we reflect on how well our nonprofit fundraising strategies have helped us meet our annual goals. We identify the weaknesses in some strategies and the potential for growth in others.
As we close the door on 2017, we leave you with four key takeaways on the state of nonprofit fundraising.
1. Email’s Role Is Evolving – But It’s Not Going Away
People initially worried when the M+R Benchmarks Report came out earlier in 2017, saying that open rates for emails sent by nonprofits declined by 7%, with the average just below 15%. But, we shouldn’t be too alarmed: email still accounted for more than a quarter of nonprofit fundraising done online, and in some nonprofit sectors it was even more.
All things considered, this report doesn’t indicate that email should be scrapped; in fact, it should continue to be used, but in a new way. Think of it as a relationship-builder. In addition to sending fundraising appeals, send useful information and interesting features, too. Tell audiences gripping stories, send videos and share statistics that can be easily shared or retweeted. Your communities will appreciate the engagement.
2. Social Media Is Still Going Strong
Use email alongside other powerful electronic tools, such as social media. In 2017, we certainly didn’t see a decline in social media’s ability to push messages, content and appeals out to the masses. By next year a third of the world’s population is expected to be active social media users.
Doubting the importance of social media for fundraising? Take a look at the success of #GivingTuesday. This campaign, which primarily takes place on social media, raised $275 million in 2017, up 55% from the previous year.
Social media is an effective tool to increase your nonprofit’s brand awareness, garner additional donors and recruit supporters. Maintain an active presence, and use it as more than just a fundraising tool. Supporters want to engage in conversations, view raw footage and read authentic content. Social media is the cheapest, most efficient way to give that to them.
3. Videos Are the Future of Nonprofit Fundraising
This year, we’ve seen video become a powerful tool in content marketing, accounting for 69% of Internet consumer usage. According to Cisco, video is expected to account for 85% of all Internet traffic in 2019!
Video is useful for nonprofit fundraising, as it captures the images, sounds, voices and feelings of a story all at once. When audiences watch a fundraising video, which might depict a beneficiary sharing his or her story, or a spliced slideshow set to music, their emotions swell. Then, they are more inclined to pay attention to organizations’ important data and statistics, which might culminate in one final call to action. Such videos are effective in driving donor response rates.
4. Nonprofit Web Sites Must Become Mobile-Friendly
The writing has been on the wall for some time: get your mobile technologies up to speed. The reality is that more and more Americans are using mobile phones for anything from shopping to mobile giving. Plus, they’re spending more time on their smartphones and less time on their desktops and laptops. Geomarketing recently reported that the number of hours people spend on their mobile devices increased to three hours and 15 minutes per day, while the time they spent on computers decreased.
Making your technologies mobile-friendly meets donors where they spend their time and makes the experience positive for them. If you don’t make this update, you are essentially leaving donations on the table.
2018 will bring yet another wave of new strategies and advanced technologies. If you choose just one thing to ensure your nonprofit’s viability and put it in the best place possible, make sure your fundraising is mobile-friendly.