[GUEST POST] 4 Fundraising Trends for 2021 You Should be Following

With 2020 throwing the world of nonprofits a curveball that required readjustment of all kinds, the concept of “planning” fundraising strategies for 2021 seems like an almost impossible feat. Luckily, 2020 wasn’t all curveballs — and we’ve nailed down some trends and patterns that look like they’re here to stay in 2021.

Here are our top four fundraising trends for 2021 (and beyond) you should be aware of:

  1. Young donors are the future of fundraising.
  2. Empowered donors give again, and again, and again.
  3. Digital events and campaigns are here to stay.
  4. Corporations continue to boost their philanthropy programs.

Let’s dig into each of these trends individually.

1. Young donors are the future of fundraising. 

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that young donors are a powerful fundraising force to be reckoned with. Generation Z, fondly referred to as “philanthro-kids,” made a big splash as a donor base for nonprofits this past year, and they show no signs of slowing down. These donors are connected with their communities both online and on the ground, not only allowing them to remain in touch with the causes and organizations they care about, but also making them uniquely positioned to share their spirit of giving with their peers. Once you have a Gen Z donor on board, it’s like wildfire; social media sharing allows young donors to spread messages and fundraising appeals with incredible speed and effectiveness. Make sure you’re not sleeping on this generation of super-fundraisers.

Make sure, however, you’re not overdoing it when trying to enter Gen Z-dominated spaces. There’s a fine line between effectively engaging with younger supporters on social media and exposing yourself as too eager to fit into what will always be a dynamic and ever-evolving discourse community. Gaining a young donor’s trust isn’t necessarily about following trends or being “cool” — it’s more about being earnest and accessible with your message. 

2. Empowered donors give again, and again, and again.

Over the past few years, more and more donors have transitioned to monthly recurring donation plans when they feel consistently connected to the organizations they want to support. In fact, online monthly giving revenue grew by 40% as recurring donation options became increasingly popular with online donors this past year. Don’t shy away from asking donors to give a recurring donation as they make philanthropy a consistent part of their budgeting month to month. 

One of the most effective ways to encourage donors to set up recurring gifts is to be specific about the impact those gifts have the potential to make. We recommend adding specific scenarios of impact when illustrating the different recurring donation tiers. Your supporters are far more likely to give monthly if they’re able to visualize the difference that recurring donation makes. 

3. Digital events and campaigns are here to stay.

Virtual peer-to-peer fundraising, virtual conferences, online auctions, live streaming, “no-run” runs, and more — these are all examples of online campaigns and events that spiked in popularity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. And while this year has opened the door for in-person events to take place again, virtual events and campaigns will still remain popular. Not limited to space, place, or time, digital events and campaigns create opportunities for live engagement around the world. Expanding your events and campaign offerings to a digital audience can only help grow your network of supporters, so don’t leave digital events behind just yet.

Feel free to play and explore with virtual events and campaigns that allow your supporters to interact with you and your work, find community with each other, and engage in something unique without the restrictions in-person events can have. 

4. Corporations continue to boost their philanthropy programs.

As a response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many companies bolstered their corporate philanthropy programs, most notably with matching gift policies. In the past year, many corporations expanded their matching gift programs for their employees. Some of these expansions included:

  • COVID-19 specific matches
  • Higher maximum match limits
  • Higher match ratios (e.g., 2:1 versus 1:1) 

Just as donors have stepped up in big ways to help with charitable causes, their employers have also stepped up to support them with these expanded gift matching programs. But too often donors don’t know about these programs or how they could deepen the impact they have on their gifts to your organization. This is why it’s important to actively educate your donors about matching gifts and encourage them to discover their eligibility so they can submit a matching gift request. This will not only help increase every individual donation’s impact, but it can also positively influence the amount and frequency of your donors’ gift giving.

Make the most of 2021

Regardless of what this next year brings, 2020 changed the way the world thinks about fundraising, and will likely influence the nonprofit fundraising landscape for years to come. Make sure you know the ins and outs of these trends so you’re always ready for what’s next.

by Adam Weinger, President, Double the Donation

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift tools to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Adam created Double the Donation in order to help nonprofits increase their annual revenue through corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

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