Fundraising Trends and Challenges in 2016 and Beyond // on Tuesday January 26, 2016
Fundraising is tough. With all the worthy causes in the world, it can be difficult for people to prioritize who they give their hard-earned money to. There are pros and cons, as well as challenges and triumphs, to every fundraising effort. At times, it can be easy to get bogged down with all the negatives; however, there are several upcoming trends that nonprofits can take advantage of to help get their fundraising efforts off to a good start this year.
To provide us with some expert insight and advice, I chatted with Julie Matternas – United Way of Central Iowa’s Corporate Engagement Officer. She weighed in on the following trends and challenges, and top secret ways to overcome them.
What trends do you foresee for nonprofit organizations in 2016 and beyond?
“Donors want to be more personally connected to and involved with the organization they are supporting. Having an impact, both financially and personally, is an important value across the board to those who give. Many nonprofits also are using social media to their advantage to fundraise more effectively. We’ve learned that we can’t just mail a letter and hope to get a contribution in return. Nonprofits need to communicate with and involve their donors on a personal level.”
What trend(s) do you think will have the most impact on how nonprofits operate and fundraise?
“Giving is a personal choice. Donors have a strong desire to know how their contributions are being put to use, so it is essential that nonprofit organizations continue to be transparent about their finances. This includes statistics on how much of a donor’s contribution is used for administrative expenses and measurable outcomes that are a direct result of a donor’s investment. Donors very much want to see the direct impact their dollars are making, and nonprofits need to be prepared to show that information.”
What challenges do you foresee for nonprofit organizations in the future?
“With the baby boomer population starting to retire, nonprofits are seeing long-time donors decrease their contributions as they head into retirement. Replacing those significant contributors is a challenge, and they are not easily replaced by new members of the workforce. Additionally, with so many worthy nonprofits doing great work in the community, and these organizations serving more people each year, it is difficult to raise enough money to serve the community’s need.”
Do you recommend any strategies for overcoming the challenges mentioned above?
“I’d suggest developing strategies for engaging volunteers and donors so they can learn more about the organization and see first-hand the impact their support is having on the community. I’d also suggest researching and developing ways to engage young professionals in your organization’s work.”
What can nonprofit organizations take advantage of in 2016 that they may not have been able to in previous years?
“Social media is a tremendous opportunity that nonprofits were not able to leverage in prior years. Today, nonprofits can communicate in many different ways to various audiences in a more cost-effective manner. For example, it’s much easier for organizations to create a compelling video of their work and share it across a multitude of platforms quickly and efficiently. It’s much easier to tell a story today and convey a message than even a few years ago. I highly recommend taking advantage of the social media avenues your audience is engaged in most.”