Nonprofit Fundraising and Marketing Tech Trends to Watch in 2019

I’m not one to recommend following trends just for the sake of following trends ― especially when it comes to technology. But, I do think it’s important to keep an eye on the latest tech that may be worth trying to help boost your nonprofit’s fundraising and marketing results in 2019.

Based on what we’ve been seeing at Cathexis Partners in our work with nonprofits, here are six nonprofit tech trends to watch in 2019:

  • Livestream fundraising. Livestreaming video on social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook is a growing trend. Essentially, livestreaming is when someone is videoed doing something In Real Life (IRL). The example most people are familiar with is Facebook Live, but other platforms such as Twitch are also successful. Watching people playing video games is what drives the most traffic to Twitch, but folks are also hosting talk shows, creating arts and crafts, and presenting musical performances all IRL. According to COHORT3’s recently released guide, “Twitch, the largest livestream platform, has 150 million monthly active users, and they are growing fast ― at about 50% per year for the last six years.”

    Organizations including Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals are raising millions of dollars via livestream fundraising. Several peer-to-peer fundraising platforms, including Tiltify, DonorDrive, and Blackbaud’s JustGiving support livestream fundraising. For more information about livestream fundraising, RSVP for our upcoming webinar with Cohort3, The Future of P2P Giving: Your Guide to Successful Livestream Fundraising Events on January 22.

  • Cryptocurrency donations. There is a large tax incentive to donate in cryptocurrency, so it’s not surprising that hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency were donated in 2017. Because the IRS has classified cryptocurrency as property for tax purposes, it is just like donating stocks or real estate; however, it can be instantly converted to U.S. dollars on the public market. More organizations are starting to accept cryptocurrency. Some examples include United Way, Charity Navigator, and the Lupus Foundation.

    Alex Wilson, founding partner of The Giving Block, a consulting firm with deep ties to the worldwide blockchain and crypto community, had this to say about cryptocurrency: “Fifteen years ago, nonprofits were skeptical about taking credit card donations. Now almost everyone does. We believe that cryptocurrencies will follow a similar path of adoption.”

    For more information about cryptocurrency donations, RSVP for our upcoming webinar with The Giving Block and Lupus Foundation of America, What Every Nonprofit Should Know About Cryptocurrency.

  • Video content. Video content continues to be popular. In fact, more than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day. Tap into video storytelling for your nonprofit using YouTube giving tools, and take your fundraising and marketing even further. NonProfitPro has some useful tips in this blog article on successful video storytelling.

    Here are a couple of examples of organizations that do a great job of communicating their mission via video:

  • Donor advised funds. Donors can create accounts and make contributions of cash, stock, real estate, or other assets such as artwork, via donor-advised funds, and take an immediate tax deduction for the gift. Tools like DAF Direct make it easy for nonprofits to start accepting donor advised funds.
  • Marketing and support automation. Marketing and support automation ― or automating actions such as sending emails, texting, managing social media, and even answering questions via online chat ― is a growing trend that allows you to automate as many manual tasks as possible so you can focus more on raising funds and delivering on your mission. Here are a few resources to get you started on:
    • Chatbots ― These automation tools can be used as a sort of virtual assistant to offer extremely responsive, automated customer service (answering questions, troubleshooting technical issues) or market to customers (offering up relevant products, providing information about services) while allowing your staff members to focus on other, higher-value tasks.
    • Texting automationResearch shows that 49.7% of emails end up in spam folders and only 20% are opened, while text messages have a 98% open rate. Platforms like Hustle bring automation to SMS by storing scripts that staff, volunteers, or call centers can easily text to constituents based on their interaction or lack of interaction with a campaign.
    • Facebook automation ― Platforms like GoodUnited are using the same theory and approach for texting automation within Facebook.
  • Facebook fundraising. Facebook remains a relatively popular social media platform, and Facebook fundraising, which allows you to leverage the Facebook platform for peer-to-peer fundraising, continues to gain momentum for nonprofits. In fact, this year, Facebook raised more than $125 million for charities and individuals on #GivingTuesday. This year’s donations were nearly 3X higher than 2017’s $45 million. For more information about Facebook fundraising, read my blog article What to Know about Facebook and Peer-to-Peer Fundraising.

These are just a few of the trends we’re seeing, and I’m certain more will pop up in 2019. You may not have time to (or even want to) try them all. But, I do think it’s worth dipping a toe in some of these tech trend waters. They’re working for many nonprofits, and they may work for yours as well.

If you’re interested in learning more about any of these trends, or would like help implementing any of them, contact us at Cathexis Partners.


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