Nonprofits in the News: Donation Trends

Understanding the latest trends in donations can help you stay relevant and current to your current and potential donors. Keeping up with their behavior patterns, new tools to help increase donations, etc. can help your organization stay afloat and thrive.

1.) Donors Want to be Investors.

Donor-advised funds (DAF) increased in popularity in 2017, and they grew 18 percent between 2014 and 2016, says Scot Chisolm, CEO and cofounder of Classy, an online and mobile giving platform, in an article by Will Schmidt. These are like savings accounts for donors in that they can give as often as they like to a DAF and then “recommend grants to their favorite charity which pulls from the account,” explains Schmidt. Donors are beginning to like thinking about their giving as investments, which are based on a portfolio and facilitated by an advisor.

2.) Donors Want to See Impact.

There is no doubt your work is important, but if your donors and potential givers don’t see that as clearly as you do, there’s a good chance they won’t give. It’s become even more important that organizations showcase how they solve problems in the world. Measuring and demonstrating impact is what helps nonprofits create lasting and powerful relationships with their supporters. The “renewed focus on social impact transparency,” as Schmidt says, is critical for organizations to recognize and act on.

3.) New Donors Have Different Ideas.

Most of the biggest U.S. foundations (based on annual giving) are headed by living donors, which is a shift from the past. This change is forecast to become even bigger in 2018, projects David Callahan of “The newer foundations, more nimble and with deeper pockets, will increasingly influence the sector,” Callahan points out. These newcomers and more established legacy foundations can help each other out in that newbies have new money and a different perspective, and institutional grantmakers have a lot of experience in the social sector.

4.) Donors Keep On Giving, Especially Online.

Despite an unsure future for philanthropic giving, a 2018 report from the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact, found that digital and mobile giving is growing. Additionally, in 2017 (the year data was collected), overall giving increased by a little over 4 percent (compared to stagnant growth in 2016), and online giving rose by just over 12 percent. Additionally, online donations constituted over 7 and a half percent of fundraising in 2017. Over a fifth of online donations were completed on a mobile device as well.

5.) Donors Want Video.

If “[s]ocial video generates 1200% more shares than text and imaged combined,” as states, then utilizing video to reach and engage your audience is critical. DonorBox suggests putting a video on your homepage so that new people can quickly see what you do, follow the organization on social media, connect with you via your newsletter, and maybe donate. You can also use graphics and a narrator to show people how you’re using their money. (See #2.)

Additionally, video is a great way to thank donors and to find new and keep old donors. Your organization might also livestream a Q&A session to get feedback and engage. Instagram Stories and Snapchat are ways to share temporary videos of your organization’s daily operations. Finally, video embedded in emails mean more opens and click rates than simple text.