Our last post examined the numbers behind online fundraising. While we learned that less than 10% of all fundraising in the U.S. happens online – that doesn’t mean this trend is going way! More and more companies, nonprofits and individuals are investing in online giving than ever before. So now, it’s time to dust off the summer cobwebs and take a look at 5 major trends that will be sure to drive the future of online fundraising.
1. Crowdsourcing Continue to Drive Companies’ Charitable Giving – Crowdsourcing plays a vital role in helping companies raise awareness and drive public engagement in charitable giving. By putting consumers in the driver’s seat, companies can rally mass audiences to help solve a problem, either through competition or collaboration. While these “vote for me” campaigns have become all too common and what was once a novel concept has flooded our Facebook pages and Twitter feeds … this social media practice will not be going away anytime soon. In fact, among large corporations, a sizeable 44% have used crowdsourcing. Of these, 95 percent found it valuable to their company. Regardless of use, 83% see the potential. (For more, check out our previous post on “The Rise of Crowdsourcing Fatigue?”)
2. Independent Online Champions – More and more individuals are capable of championing an issue and extending influence among their circles of friends and family than ever before. The rise of social media (and a generation of tech savvy millennials) has given birth to a new cohort of social good champions; while middle-man sites like Kickstarter or Care2.com have made multiple causes more accessible into a one-stop platform. The trick will be for nonprofits to learn to successfully track the lone wolfs and help ensure that they have the most up-to-date information, branding and marketing materials.
3. The Blessing and Curse of Middle-man Fundraising Platforms – As mentioned in the trend above, the rise of fundraising “middleman” platforms like Kickstarter, Crowdrise, Causes, DonorsChoose and the like have created a successful clearing-house for online giving. However, they can also make it challenging for nonprofits to standout or take full control of their fundraising campaigns. For one, transactional fees and the inability to collect individual contact information for privacy purposes can prove challenging to non-profits. What can you do? It’s important to remember that these platforms are not going away anytime soon. They are increasingly generating popularity among users and changing the donor’s online experience. The best approach is to diversify your use and remember that they these sites are not the end-all solution to your fundraising woes. Use multiple channels to draw attention and donors to your site.
4. Election-driven Fundraising – Without a doubt, a U.S. election year always influences the face of charitable giving. With politically-charged social issues like women’s reproductive health, marriage and gun control frequently debated among the election media, the political campaigns themselves may not be the only ones successfully soliciting dollars. Many nonprofits touching upon these issues may experience an increase in donations among a politically-passionate group of advocates.
5. Integration of Advocacy and Fundraising – More and more nonprofits will increase their ability to successfully cross-market their advocacy and fundraising efforts. According to a recent Convio study, the number of online advocates also making online donations almost doubled from 2010 to 2011 (6.4% to 11.9% to be exact).
What do you think? What other trends are changing the face of online giving? For more fantastic analyses of online giving trends, check out these three useful posts from social good colleagues:
- 4 Social Trends Impacting the Future of Online Fundraising by Geoff Livingston (1/27/2011) Mashable
- 2011 Online Giving Trends and 5 Tactics Your Nonprofit Must Implement Today by Frank Barry 3/23/2012) Blackbaud
- Online Fundraising Stats and Trends for Nonprofits by Kivi Leroux Miller (5/16/2012) Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog
The “Back to School Yourself in Social Good” series will share the basics, the strategies, the experts and – yes — even homework, on how you can better use social media for social good. We’ll be covering topics like cause marketing, corporate responsibility and leading trends in online fundraising.