By Kayla Matthews, writer at ProductivityTheory.com – a blog dedicated to helping others better their productivity.


For nonprofits, fundraising can be a challenging proposition. There are strict rules regarding what you can do to collect funds, and what you’re allowed to do with that money once you have it to retain your nonprofit status. As technology continues to advance, new fundraising techniques and trends are emerging.

What are the most exciting new nonprofit fundraising trends to appear in 2020, and how can you utilize these for your organization?

1) Virtual and Augmented Reality for Donations

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are two technologies that are popular in the gaming industry because they provide an immersive experience. Virtual reality does this by creating a digital environment that you can explore with a headset and headphones. Augmented reality, however, takes virtual items and projects them on the real world. How can you use VR and AR as a tool for nonprofit donations?

To start, bring the problems your organization wants to fix into the light. For many people, issues that are out of sight are also out of mind. While someone might offer a donation, they don’t necessarily put themselves in the shoes of the people they’re trying to help.

VR and AR programs do just that, illuminating the issue so that donors know exactly what their funds are going toward and who they’re helping.

Drop in the Ocean:
A Social VR Experience by Conservation International

2) Donations via the Gaming Industry

In the last few decades, telethons were a valuable tool for raising money for nonprofit organizations. Stars would ask for donations and answer phone calls, and people would ring in to donate over the phone. In the 2000s and 2010s, the telethon gave way to a new form of fundraising — the charity live stream.

Gamers, some with enormous fan bases in the tens of millions, host live streams where they play video games and interact with their audience as a tool to raise money for nonprofits. Some of the biggest streamers can raise half a million or more in a day, and all that money goes toward whatever their target nonprofit is for the stream.

Jacksepticeye, the YouTube handle of Irish gamer Sean McLoughlin, recently raised nearly $660,000 for COVID-19 relief in less than 12 hours.

This number is a fraction of the $1.7 million that other streamers raised during a global #HopeFromHome streaming event that took place on April 7th, 2020. McLoughlin currently has 23.6 million subscribers on YouTube, but he is just one example of the potential that can come from using live streams to raise money.

St. Jude Play Live

3) Google Assistant Voice Donations

Voice assistants like the one that helps you navigate your Google Home or Android phone can make it easier for you to set reminders, send hands-free text messages while you’re driving or even automate your home through the use of smart devices.

Google’s new feature also allows users to utilize their Google voice assistant to donate to their favorite charities. All they need to do is have payments enabled on their Google account, and, from there, they can issue a voice command to donate to any 501(c)(3) charity.

Other virtual assistants are working toward providing this feature. Currently, however, they’re limited to only working with certain nonprofits. Google Assistant allows users to donate to any government-recognized nonprofit in the country.

By marketing the voice option as part of your brand, you can increase donations. It’s a matter of convenience. People may be more likely to help causes that are near and dear to their hearts if they don’t have to take the time to log into a website. Voice commands make donations easier and faster than ever.

The Power of Fundraising Technology

Technology has changed a lot since the days of going door to door to collect. Today, it can be one of the most valuable tools a nonprofit has when it comes to fundraising.

These new technology-heavy trends might seem intimidating at first. However, as we look toward the future, it’s crucial to change with the times. If you’re struggling to raise funds, consider trying out one of these new ideas.

Whether it’s novelty, convenience, or immersion that you’re looking for, technology is an invaluable tool for bringing in new donors and enhancing convenience for existing ones.


Productivity Theory, a blog by Kayla Matthews, is dedicated to helping you accomplish your definition of success. Not everyone wants the same things out of life but, whatever you want, chances are you can get it by being a more motivated and productive you.

3 Emerging Fundraising Trends for Nonprofits