By Ray Gary, the CEO of iDonate, a SaaS-based provider of the world’s most innovative Digital Fundraising Platform for nonprofits. Ray’s experience in launching and building businesses spans nearly three decades, including leadership positions in multiple technology companies.
Non-profits aren’t immune to the changes driven by new technology. Technological advancements in other parts of our lives are indirectly changing the way donors want to interact with the organizations they contribute to. The reality is that nonprofits must keep up with changing donor expectations or they will be left behind… along with the communities they aim to serve.
As we slide toward the end of 2018, there are five broader digital trends that we see affecting non-profits next year.
1) Marketing Automation/Giving Automation
It’s impossible for any organization to treat all givers the same due to time and resources. The reality is, nonprofit organizations shouldn’t want to. Using marketing automation software that creates personalized appeals and puts potential givers on individualized pathways into the organization will drive deeper engagement with your nonprofit’s mission or even a specific program.
2) Using Technology to Nurture Recurring Giving
Turning one-time givers into recurring donors remains one of the largest issues for nonprofits. The benefits of recurring gifts are obvious—more predictability in funds and the ability to plan operations. However, a recurring-gift donor base requires a commitment to engagement strategies and technologies that nurture donors and make them feel connected to your organization on a more regular basis.
3) Personalized/Relevant/Contextual Communications
Make the “ask” personal. Don’t show a gift array for $25 to someone worth millions. Don’t display a giving page with messaging about projects that donors don’t care about. With the right giving technologies collecting data on your donors, you’ll be able to make recommendations that are related to things they care about. Think Netflix. If all I watch are action movies, the system isn’t going to recommend a drama. Amazon uses similar technologies to make recommendations, and consumers (and donors) are beginning to expect this same level of sophistication in their interactions with other groups and organizations they work with. Increasingly, that expectation includes non-profits, and more will start deploying the software that makes it possible.
iDonate is the fastest growing digital fundraising solution for nonprofits, helping organizations meet the needs of today’s connected donor through technology and a great giving experience. The company’s mission is to transform charitable giving by changing the way the world thinks – and more importantly, acts – around giving.
4) Continued Disruption of the Nonprofit Sector by Commercial Players like Facebook
Facebook is doubling down on deploying its commerce features, which significantly affects charitable giving. The social media platform recently removed charitable fundraising fees— 100 percent of money given will now go to the charity. This move could unseat nonprofit players like GoFundMe and GlobalGiving that charge a fee as a part of their business model. Facebook may take this even further with their latest efforts to create a $50-million matching fund to address issues like disaster relief. From here, they can set up donor-advised funds to rival organizations like Volunteer Match. With its direct access to potential donor data and unparalleled artificial intelligence engines, Facebook is poised to upset many major players in this space.
5) Moving Away from Overhead to Outcomes will Allow Investment in Technology
More funders and philanthropists are moving away from the ill-defined and wrong-headed focus on overhead, specifically limiting administrative spending as an indicator of a nonprofit’s effectiveness. No organization should be allowed to waste money, but we need to focus on how effective a nonprofit is in achieving its social outcome goals. Too often, nonprofits count the critical activities of research, evaluation, financial management and other core capacities as “overhead” when they are truly essential to the overall health of a nonprofit. In fact, this narrow focus can cause nonprofits organizations to starve themselves – an outcome that will most certainly prevent them from growing or even serving their community well at all. As more nonprofits realize they need to reorient to a business mindset, investing in technology will create opportunities to truly assess organizational health as well as cost per outcome.