8 Trends in Not-for-Profit Fundraising

By: Ashley Steffensmeier, CPA

Donations and fundraising can be the largest sources of revenue for not-for-profit organizations. It is essential for not-for-profit professionals to be aware of trends in fundraising in order to understand and predict donor behaviors, which could lead to an increase in donations. Below are eight fundraising trends that were noted during 2018:


#1: The “Donor Journey” Reigns

Donor retention is one of the most important metrics for a not-for-profit organization. This can be achieved by focusing on the donor’s journey—from when the donor first finds out about your organization to their current relationship with your organization. By mapping out a donor’s journey with your organization, you can identify what content the individual needs to encounter at each stage in the process.

#2: All About That Data

Data can be used to increase personalization, which is vital in attracting new donors and retaining them. Organizations should track as much as they can about their donors—from basic demographics, giving amounts, and preferred communication methods. The idea is to gather as much information as possible on your donors and then tailor your fundraising approach.

#3: Authenticity Wins

Donors want authenticity. Create a culture that is in touch with human emotions, through personal contact with your donors, including in person and over the phone, to make that human connection stronger and more authentic.

#4: Video, Video, Video

Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in a text format.

#5: Make it Easy

According to a survey by Target Analytics, 47% of donors were turned off by usability problems relating to web page and website design. Make it easy for your donors to give by simplifying your online donation page.

#6: Stand Out

Some not-for-profit professionals worry that there could be some donor fatigue due to frequent and ongoing fundraisers and campaigns. Help your organization stand out by personalizing your communication to your donors as much as possible. Use storytelling to engage viewers, use YouTube and Snapchat to engage Generation Z, and automate your marketing by using a software that streamlines, automates, and measures marketing tasks and workflows. You can increase your operational efficiency and grow revenue faster, collaborate with other not-for-profits, and make recurring donations easy.

#7: Mobile First

Generations Y and Z prefer communicating via social media networks, whereas Baby Boomers prefer email and direct mail. However, nearly half of all Baby Boomers have now moved to online giving. Furthermore, donors are utilizing digital wallets. To provide convenience to these types of donors, not-for-profit organizations should consider offering a mobile application to make donations easy and simple.

#8: Demonstrate Impact

Not only are consumers becoming increasingly more conscientious, donors are as well. To respond to this trend, organizations should focus on impact reporting–explaining how donations are directly serving the beneficiaries.


Understanding the latest fundraising trends can give your organization an advantage. Use the trends outlined above to create and refine a winning fundraising strategy for your not-for-profit. To learn more about trends with fundraising and staying ahead of the curve in the not-for-profit industry, contact our office at 402-423-4343.