Looking Into The Future of Online Fundraising

By eleventy marketing group

Nonprofit professionals share their vision for the future of digital fundraisingIt’s the time of year when you look ahead. You plan for the year, map out your goals. Put the finishing touches on your marketing and fundraising strategies for the coming months. Decide where and how you will focus your efforts.

Looking down the road one year can be challenging enough for nonprofits. But a new survey asked nonprofit professionals to look ahead 10 years. Their answers provide a good indication of where digital fundraising is headed in the next decade.

In today’s post, we’ll look at some findings from this survey which paint an interesting picture of the future of online fundraising.

About the Survey:

Charity Dynamics surveyed 133 professionals from 68 different nonprofits in fall 2014 to find out what they’re expecting from digital fundraising in the next decade. Their findings are presented in the report The Next 10 Years in Digital Fundraising.

5 Nonprofit Predictions for the Digital Fundraising Future

Here are some key statistics from Charity Dynamics report and what they say about expectations for online fundraising in the coming years:

88% of nonprofit professionals expect digital fundraising to grow from 7% of total fundraising to 20% or more within the next 10 years.

50% of nonprofit professionals expect 30% of donations to come from digital channels 10 years from now.

With new means of digital giving continually emerging (from Apple Pay and Google Wallet to social media donate buttons and Bitcoin) and Web-savvy Millennials set to make up a bigger chunk the donor universe, this seems like a sure bet.

Which is why it’s so important to start testing and optimizing your online efforts now. Get donors on board with your nonprofit online today and you won’t have to try to play catch-up tomorrow.

80% of nonprofit professionals believe the number of charities people give to will increase or stay the same in the next decade.

Obviously, any sort of prediction in this arena is just a guess. You never know what economic or other factors will come into play. But this number does indicate that right now, the outlook is pretty positive from the industry.

The real question may be how donors give in the next decade with an increasing numbers of nonprofits vying for their fundraising dollars across channels. Will they support more causes with smaller donations or focus bigger contributions (and volunteer efforts for that matter) on a smaller number of organizations?

The answer will have a lot to do with how nonprofits choose to build relationships with donors moving forward.

85% of nonprofit professionals feel that social media’s role in fundraising will increase.

If what we’re seeing right now is any indication, peer-to-peer fundraising will play a continually growing role in online fundraising over the next 10 years. And social media will be the communication tool by which a lot of that is accomplished.

We saw in 2014 how social media propelled the Ice Bucket Challenge to $220 million in global donations to ALS. And a recent poll by the Red Cross revealed that 71% of people on social media said they donated to a charity in the past 12 months.

No doubt about it, social media is a powerful fundraising force. As nonprofits think of new creative ways to use social networks, and as new social networks emerge, it’s seems likely social will fuel more giving for nonprofits across the board.

38% of respondents reported they feel websites will remain the top information gathering point for donors.

While the look and function of nonprofit websites will most likely evolve and change over the next 10 years (as they have over the last five years), their use as a key organization information point likely won’t change much. When donors want to know something about a nonprofit, Google or the nonprofit’s website are typically the first places they go.

What’s perhaps more interesting about this question is the next most popular answer given by nonprofit professionals answering this survey: 32% of respondents said the top information gathering point will be something new we haven’t even heard of yet.

If you think of how Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia and Kickstarter have come along and quickly changed what we do on the Web, that answer makes a lot of sense.

Top Takeaway: Test the Online Fundraising Waters

The Internet has given nonprofits a great means of reaching people and trying new things. Now is the time to do just that. While it’s become commonplace, online fundraising is really still in its infancy. As the percentage of total gifts coming in online increases, that will change.

What does that mean for your nonprofit? It means you will never have a better time to experiment than right now. Take the opportunity to test out an off-the-beaten-path online campaign and/or use social media and peer-to-peer engagement to connect with donors in unique and interesting ways in 2015.

Who knows, you may even develop some best practices or create the next innovative campaign. You may end up shaping the future of online fundraising.

Download the full The Next 10 Years in Digital Fundraising report from Charity Dynamics here.