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  • Александър Николов

Top Nonprofit trends for 2022


Still in the early stages of 2022, we may still say that our prediction for the future is that we will live in unpredictable times. The nonprofit organisations are often on the frontline with the ongoing crises. If we should highlight one main trend - it is unpredictability. Nevertheless, we keep an eye out for a number of trends that have a significant impact on the mission-driven organisations’ management and development.

The growing importance of social media should be emphasised as it has become a permanent part of society today, especially in the lives of young people, and continues to grow more and more every day. Different digital platforms and apps will prove to be very useful to nonprofits as each one of them can be used to appeal to a different kind of demographic. Other highlighted technological trends are the usage of smartphones and the benefits of text messages for donations. Finally, being mobile-friendly should become a priority for nonprofit organisations, as people tend to prefer using their mobile phones when it comes to donating and volunteering as it simplifies the logistics, making it easier to be involved.

Fundraising needs to become personalised in order for nonprofits to establish a connection with the donors and thus create loyal customers. Furthermore, philanthropy should strive to become digitalised. In modern days digitalisation provides easy access to communication and also allows for fast donations. One specific type of online donation is through social media apps and platforms such as Facebook Fundraisers. When it comes to fundraising, nonprofit organisations must create safeguards and be prepared for disasters. Online donations will come in handy during a time of crisis, but in order for them to be effective nonprofits need to plan ahead and think about a back up plan for their fundraising campaigns. Additionally, corporate-giving is on the rise and nonprofits must pay attention to this. Partnerships with corporations will give nonprofits the opportunity to increase their outreach, funds and number of donors, by sharing the resources both companies have.

Finally, volunteering is of great importance to nonprofit organisations. That is why nonprofits should focus on popularising and maintaining hybrid events where people can participate as they see fit - in person or remotely.

1. Technology

Social media:

9 out of 10 people with Internet access are using social media today. One of the best decisions for a non-profit organisation is to pay attention to the developments of social media and engage with the ever-growing audience that uses them. Sharing, marketing and promoting are getting easier with the newest forms and updates of social media. Nonprofits can use social media to connect to the entire global audience, or they can target only specific groups of people if they wish to. Different social media platforms can perform different tasks and are useful in more than one way.

Social media is a place to:

  • Share snippets of your story through videos and images

  • Promote a donation campaign

  • Show volunteers in action,

  • Introduce followers to your cause

  • And don’t forget to use hashtags!

Creating a communications plan is key. You’ll want your messaging to stay consistent across all platforms, but tailoring your socials post to the specific strengths of each platform will increase engagement. To boost that, Impact Drive developed DigiComs that establishes the tools for digital communication for mission-driven organisations.

Social media has in recent years been used by people as a space where social movements can begin and grow. This is referring specifically to the Gen Z generation, whose members were raised completely in the Internet era and for whom it can be said without hesitation that social media is essential. As Gen Z enters the workforce, nonprofits should really focus on ways to easily connect with them, primarily investing time and effort in social media.

The best known social media platforms for nonprofit organisations right now are Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Facebook is the most-widely used of the three - approximately 2.9 billion people use it monthly, and it offers great options for promoting events and charities. However, it is not preferred by younger generations. Instagram is more popular with people under 30, while at the same time 37% of adults in the United States use the app. Through photos, videos and stories nonprofits can easily share information or news, as well as gather support for different movements/charities. TikTok is a platform used mainly by Gen Z. It blew up popularity-wise in the past two years and is still going strong in 2022, with around 37 million members of the Gen Z demographic regularly using the app. TikTok is a platform that is used mainly for entertainment purposes, but as the usage of the app develops over time, nonprofits can find that it is a good space for sharing thoughts on important matters and gaining support for projects or movements.

Other technology in rise:

Nonprofits must really remember how important and popular smartphones are in the modern world. By 2022, an estimate of 271 million people in the United States alone are using smartphones. Nonprofits should embrace going mobile and gain from the many benefits of smartphones, such as donations via phone, mobile volunteer registration, and email communication. These methods of mobile communication and participation are much easier than doing the same work on a computer or on paper.

Text messages should not be disregarded by nonprofits when it comes to sharing information or communicating with customers. Text messages have an open rate of 99%, while 97% of the opened messages are read in the first 15 minutes after they are received. It is a great way to communicate with people as it is fast and effective, and provides other opportunities as well, such as donating through SMS. The Bulgarian Donor Forum shows that in Bulgaria 2 575 483 BGN were donated through SMS to 270 different charities in 2020. Approximately 55% of the donations made by SMS were through mobile phones.

Being mobile-friendly is extremely important today. More and more nonprofits are ensuring their content and donations are mobile-friendly. People should be able to easily make donations to your organisation online, through phone applications like Apple Pay. Being mobile-friendly has many more benefits, including fast volunteer registration for those that want to take part in a charity online. Content that is sent through emails should also be mobile-friendly - links and images must be displayed normally and correctly when opened from an email on a phone. Finally, nonprofits should include videos on their websites, particularly linking Youtube videos to their sites and making sure that they can be opened without problems. This will be a big plus for organisations as, on average, people watch 30 minutes of videos per day and according to Yans Media, in 2021 between 57 and 75% of all videos were watched through a mobile phone.

2. Fundraising and philanthropy

Personalised fundraising:

Personalised Donor Experience is the way for Gen Y and Gen Z. Personalised communication is a tool that nonprofit organisations can use for better performance. It will certainly influence a customer a lot more to purchase a product if they feel affected in any way. Fundraising needs to be more personal and should not focus so much on the actual money-spending. Rather, donors are more likely to become loyal supporters if nonprofits demonstrate that their organisation shares the donors’ values.

Here are some ways to create better donor relationships:

  • Get to know your donors, large or small, and make an appropriate donor recommendation.

  • Don’t just ask. Demonstrate that your organisation shares their values.

  • Provide opportunities for your existing volunteers and donors to contribute their ideas and feedback.

  • Share donor impact.

Donors also want to know their contributions are making a difference. The younger generations (millennials and Gen Z) are motivated by a sense of social responsibility and they want to be a part of the change. Donors should feel like they are part of the solution to a certain problem and that their money is not going to waste.

To engage the next generation of donors, you will need to change how you ask for funds.

This article suggests using the following outline to appeal to donors:

  • There’s a problem occurring right now.

  • You’re needed to solve the problem.

  • Here’s how your gift, or time, will solve the problem.

This model tends to engage the proactive donor by identifying a current need and shifting the focus from the past to the present.

Digital fundraising:

Digital philanthropy is a preferred method of donating money by both donors and nonprofit organisations. We have seen a 77% increase in online revenue of nonprofits in the last five years! Successful email fundraising is quite important, as it accounts for 13% of all donations. Nonprofits should really be mindful and use email strategically.

Social media fundraising has proven to be successful, an example of which is Facebook’s “Facebook Fundraisers”, used for donations by nonprofits. Nonprofits raised estimately $1.77 through Facebook for every $100 of total online revenue. Many nonprofits rely on social media to help supplement fundraising efforts, and we don’t see that changing in 2022.

Disaster preparation and crisis prevention:

Nonprofit organisations today find themselves in a world struck by environmental and natural disasters, like pandemics, wildfires, floods, etc. What trends show is that organisations should focus on short-term plans and flexible strategies that allow nonprofits to react as quickly as possible in the face of a disaster. Nonprofits should always have a plan B in case the original strategy falls short. They must be prepared with mechanisms that can react effectively against unplanned developments. One such mechanism is to ensure online work is possible in your nonprofit organisation and that nobody will be barred from continuing to work, whether it would be volunteers or staff. Nonprofit organisations must ensure that they have a program in place to receive funds and donations before a disaster strikes because no one can be completely sure how easy it would be to create one after the start of the crisis and how many resources may become unavailable. Nonprofits should put their skills to the test. They must develop the skills of their volunteers and prepare them to deal with unforeseen events as well. Finally, nonprofit organisations must be sustainable and support prevention and adaptability programs. That way, the effects of the disaster will be felt less.

Corporate giving:

Corporate giving has been on the rise since 2021, but recently has become even more popular and some estimate that in 2022 we will see a 4-6% growth in corporate donations. This is a result of global growth in GDP and in corporate savings, which is possible due to the decreased threat of the pandemic. Nonprofits that rely on corporate partnerships for fundraising will be happy to hear this, but they should also continue to work in ways to ensure better communication and create safeguards to protect these relations. Corporate philanthropy is seeing a trend of many new giving options. One such option is impact investing, an emerging movement in which investments are made in companies, funds or organisations to create social impact in addition to financial benefits. A really important piece of advice for corporations that engage in philanthropy is to consider the opinions of their employees. If employees get to decide what charity they donate to, they are going to be more invested in working and raising funds for that cause. Employees will find corporations that let them choose which organisation(s) they donate to more appealing as a whole and the existence of the choice itself may be a factor in employees starting or continuing to work in a given company.

3. Volunteerism

Hybrid volunteerism:

In-person events were put on hold in 2020 when the quarantine began worldwide and countries went into lockdown during Covid-19. Throughout 2020 and 2021 events were held online and then transitioned into hybrid. Restrictions were lifted, and things started to go back to normal, but despite this, hybrid events remained popular. People were allowed to gather in person again and host events physically, but for many volunteers it is easier and safer to participate in an event remotely. That is why there is still a great demand for hybrid events in 2022. If nonprofits want to appease everyone, they have the opportunity to this way. Volunteers who want to participate in person have the option to do so, while those who are stopped by physical, financial or health-related reasons will have the opportunity to take part online. This method of holding events continues to be successful as nonprofits reach out to as many volunteers as possible all at once. By providing the remote option for participation, nonprofit organisations do not risk losing any volunteers due to lack of accessibility or something similar.

Corporate Volunteerism:

Recently, we have seen a change in corporate volunteerism. Corporations have started to invest in donations, volunteerism and partnerships with nonprofit organisations more than before. This is a good way of improving their company’s public image, but corporations are also ensuring that employees are treated fairly and are happy to continue working for the cause their company has chosen. This can be done by improving the conditions of volunteering and focusing on causes that match the values of the employees.

At the same time, corporations should encourage teamwork and value feedback that is given to them by the volunteers. If corporations ensure that employees have a positive experience from volunteering through a company program, said employees will have a greater chance of volunteering again with the same company. If organisations follow these methods, they will create a strong and long-lasting corporate volunteering system with dedicated volunteers.

What nonprofit organisations should do is maintain a strong relationship with corporations and team up to achieve greater results by volunteering. Such partnerships will lead to an increase in the number of donors because volunteers tend to donate more on average. The partnership will be very beneficial to nonprofit organisations specifically, because they will have the opportunity to make use of the corporations’ funds and resources and combine them with their own. The final most important gain from a partnership between a nonprofit and a corporation is the increase in visibility of the nonprofit's cause - a rise in awareness of the charity is sure to follow because of the popularity/reach of the corporation. Impact Drive is working on a project called Pro-Bono, that will be focused on the development and improvement of similar approaches of volunteering, fundraising and communication between corporations and nonprofit organisations.




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