5 Nonprofit Trends Influenced by Technology

5 Nonprofit Trends Influenced by Technology

December 11, 2019
Nandini Singh

This past year, we’ve seen the power personalized engagement had on donors. The question is: what other things will influence the nonprofit sector? And how are nonprofits changing based on their integration of predictive analytics, AI/ML, and other technologies? Let’s explore the top 5 nonprofit trends (influenced by tech) that will impact the industry as we move into 2020.

Nonprofit Trends Influenced by Tech & Analytics

1. Fundraising is becoming more accessible because of social media reach.

The first nonprofit trend influencing the industry is social media’s influence on fundraising. As competition rises, technology is helping nonprofits reach out to donors in ways that are focused. Donors can now be reached on a local, national, and global level. Social platforms allow people to connect and share information from anywhere at any time. And, most platforms allow people to donate to causes.

For example, Facebook birthday fundraisers have gained more attention over time.  Users can now make posts redirecting to a cause they support. They can then encourage their network to donate on their behalf.  Within the first year of creating birthday fundraisers, Facebook users raised more than $300M for causes. As of now, Facebook allows you to choose a cause to donate from a list of 750,000 nonprofits. So, donors can now give to any cause at any time from anywhere.

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2. Constituent Relationship Management systems & analytics will allow nonprofits to identify, segment, and engage donors more effectively.

The second nonprofit trend that is influencing the industry is the increased use of CRM systems and predictive analytics. As these tools advance, nonprofits are relying on them to find and engage donors. Fundraising teams, large and small alike, now have the tools to clearly organize donor data according to their preferences. This lets them strategically manage their fundraising.

Using predictive analytics, gift officers can gain insights on their donors and prospects. For example, they have the ability to learn about their donors’ propensity and capacity to give; their behavior; their personality; and their giving history. And, as they update the information they have on them, they can tweak their outreach. This will help organizations adapt to donors’ evolving interests. So, they will always remain relevant to them and be able to engage them purposefully.

Take the University of Maryland for example. Mary Beth Nibley, Director of Prospect Engagement, needed an easier way to manage her prospects. At the time, her team was managing prospects from Maryland’s Med school and school of social work. As a small group, they found it difficult to determine which prospects were worth pursuing. But, using predictive analytics, they found it easier to sort through their donor pool. So, they were able to segment their donors effectively and efficiently. With a CRM and predictive analytics, organizations can gain relevant donor information instantly. They also have the tools to appeal to donors in personalized ways.

3. Technology will enable nonprofits to stay personally connected with their donors, remotely.

Another nonprofit trend influencing organizations is the use of technology to connect with key donors. It’s becoming more and more important to engage donors in ways that are novel. Each donor wants to create change with significant impact and influence. So, they want to give not only to benefit communities, but also to reach the people with the most influence. In short, the CEO, or the face of the organization. Technology, in that sense, has allowed donors to connect with those channels more easily.

Take the Malala Fund for example. Patricia G. Eisner, former CDO of the Malala Fund, was able to connect with donors by doing more than sending out a personalized email or note. Using technology, the Fund was able to have Malala connect with her audience remotely. They were able to create and send personalized videos where Malala was able to address each donor individually. So, the messages weren’t just personal. They provided donors, especially major gift donors, an added incentive to take greater action, give more,  and inspire others to as well.

4. Apps and Tech Intermediaries will Re-Invigorate Donors to Give

The use of apps, and other tech intermediaries, to boost fundraising is also a rising nonprofit trend. As stated in the Giving USA 2019 report, the state of charitable giving in the United States is shifting. The number of non-donor households is continuing to increase. So, we’re experiencing a decline in mid-level donors. This is greatly impacting the revenue streams of nonprofits across the country.

So, in order to seamlessly engage donors, nonprofits are partnering with brands and services. In short, they’re creating new and easy ways for donors to give. For example, customers can now donate through apps like Lyft, Uber, and Venmo (among others). These options make it easier for nonprofits to interact with their donors and prospects. It’s also a more approachable and affordable way for donors to remain involved. So, as donors make purchases, they have the opportunity to round up the cost of their purchase so they can give. They also have a chance to give more specific amounts to organizations of their choice through these apps. The use of intermediaries will make it easier for nonprofits to gain a steady stream of gifts. They also have the potential to push donors towards everyday giving.

5. More Nonprofits are Moving Towards Crowdfunding

The last nonprofit trend that’s gaining traction is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding was, and is, primarily used for contributors to fund an initiative, online. Usually through a collection of small investments. However, crowdfunding is now projected to become an over  $90 billion industry by 2025, so it can be a valuable tool for fundraising.

Crowdfunding is beginning to help nonprofits raise money for specific projects or causes. It can also help nonprofits reach diverse audiences. This further enables them to meaningfully engage donors and spread messages that increase their impact. Additionally, projects funded on this platform can be shared via social media & can be linked to live giving portals. This encourages recurring giving and allows donors to engage directly with your organization.