9 Brilliant Fundraising Trends (That can Help You Raise More)

Learn these top 9 fundraising trends with our article!

The end of 2017 is quickly approaching. At the start of this year, we listed the trends and predictions contained in the article below.

So, in looking forward to 2018, we decided to take a look back at what we’d stated and make updates as needed! Now, you’ll find an updated review of some of the most prominent trends impacting the world of fundraising.

In this article, we’ll take a look at nine developing trends:

  1. Matching gifts will become more automated.
  2. Crowdfunding won’t just be for creative projects anymore.
  3. Nonprofits will become more tactical about their websites.
  4. Fundraising software will be more integrated.
  5. Donors will increasingly use mobile giving channels.
  6. Organizations will use previously underused formats to engage donors.
  7. The leadership crisis will become a major focus for organizations.
  8. Nonprofits will leverage expert advice for specific fundraising campaigns.
  9. Organizations will use text-to-give for more than just events.

Keep reading to learn more!



Trend #1: Matchings gifts will become more automated.

360MatchPro capitalizes on the matching gifts fundraising trend.

What if the matching gift process were easier for both you and your donors? You may already be aware that matching gift software can make it easier for supporters to search for their employers.

For example, Double the Donation’s matching gift search tool allows donors to find their employers’ matching program from a database full of hundreds of companies in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

When searching for their company, donors will be directed to a page with details on that specific matching gift program. Everything from the matching gift ratio to the maximum matched amount to the submission guidelines is recorded for donors to see.

Think of matching gift automation tools as the next step in matching gift software.

Essentially, automated matching gift software is like a CRM for matched giving. It can help organizations:

  • Send out automatic email reminders. If donors make a gift using their work email addresses, matching gift software can identify their specific matching gift programs as well as send them reminders about deadlines and information on how to submit a request.
  • Filter donations by top matching gift potential. Your team has limited time and resources, so it’s important to focus on the opportunities with the most match potential. Matching gift software can help you find donations that meet that criteria.
  • Track matching gift status. Using one-click notifications, donors can notify your organization when a request has been submitted. This way, you can track gifts through the process to gain a more accurate estimate of how much you’ve raised through matched gifts.

These are just some of the many features automated matching gift software can provide.

How it’s changing fundraising:

Automated matching gift software is changing how your nonprofit handles matching gifts. Most donors don’t know that this opportunity exists, and if they do, they forget to put in a request. By sending donors regular reminders, you can promote matching gifts and teach donors how to put in a request.

When your donors have more awareness of the program, they’re more likely to participate. Sending out matching gift reminders can potentially help you double your fundraising next year.

The bottom line: Automated software helps optimize your matching gift program so that your nonprofit can reach its full fundraising potential.



Trend #2: Crowdfunding won’t just be for creative projects anymore. Fundly is a crowdfunding platform that maximizes social fundraising trends.


Crowdfunding uses social sharing to bring in support for any project, but nonprofits are starting to harness this powerful tool to raise funds.

Starting a crowdfunding campaign is simple. You just have to pick a platform, set up your page, and start sharing your goal with your supporters. Donors can give as much or as little as they want and will hopefully share your campaign with their friends and family to spread the word.

Crowdfunding campaigns work as great companions to other fundraisers, such as auctions, product fundraising, and so much more.

For example, Fundly has a long list of fundraising ideas that pair well with crowdfunding, including but not limited to:

  • Selling custom calendars
  • Charity auctions
  • Walkathons
  • Fundraising dinners
  • Tree planting fundraisers
  • Galas
  • Concerts
  • Art shows

If you’re hosting another event, you can use crowdfunding as a way to promote your fundraiser and raise more money to fund your event.

Let’s say you’re hosting a silent auction. You can create a crowdfunding campaign to help you raise additional money and more awareness. Those who can’t attend your silent auction can donate to your crowdfunding page, and all your supporters can share the page with their peers, spreading your reach even further.

Plus, since guests may be from varying income levels, crowdfunding gives supporters the opportunity to contribute any amount that’s comfortable for them.

Here’s one more example. Imagine that your nonprofit is a hospital that has an annual walk that funds the oncology wing of your hospital. Your walk to fight cancer is always a big hit and gets people out and moving while raising money for a worthy cause. You can actually pair that event with crowdfunding and raise significantly more money.

You can go the straightforward route and have a campaign page up and collecting donations as a lead in to the event, or you can set up team fundraising and ask your walkers and runners to create their own pages to run campaigns.

By multiplying the number of people fundraising, you multiply the number of opportunities you have to raise money.

How it’s changing fundraising:

Still not convinced crowdfunding is a great choice? Take a look at these advantages for nonprofits:

  • Engage donors. Your supporters can give to your campaign and encourage their friends and family to give. Sharing their passion for your cause can strengthen their bonds with your nonprofit.
  • Spread awareness about your cause. Crowdfunding has the potential to spread like wildfire. Supporters will share your cause on social media and other avenues. Who knows? You might just catch the eye of some important supporters or new donors.
  • Gauge public interest. Not every project is going to resonate with donors. Creating a crowdfunding campaign can help you get a feel for how open the community is to your project.

The bottom line: If you haven’t thought about creating a crowdfunding campaign, you might want to start. Nonprofits can benefit a lot by following this trend.



Trend #3: Nonprofits will become more tactical about their websites.

NeonCRM is a fundraising platform that can help nonprofits stay on top of fundraising trends.

The rise of online donations means that donors have more opportunities than ever to give to your nonprofit. However, that means your nonprofit needs to be more strategic about your online presence.

Your website is the headquarters for your nonprofit and the main point of contact donors have when they want to learn more about your organization.

It’s critical that you optimize your website so you can gain the most traffic, which can eventually lead to more donations. As such, if you’re accepting donations online via your website, it’s important that you find an online tool that will allow you to create the same look as your website’s design.

Having a consistent brand on your website and donation forms helps to establish trust, and donors will know exactly what organization is receiving their contribution.

If your nonprofit is looking for advice on how to design your website, Neon has a helpful guide.

How it’s changing fundraising:

With more emphasis on your nonprofit’s website, what can you expect to see in the new year? Let’s take a look:

  • Donation pages that keep donors on your site. You want to keep donors on your site longer so they can interact with the information. When donors can fill out a donation form on your site, they can return to whatever they were doing before they decided to give.
  • A creative design to target your donors’ emotions. Your nonprofit already knows the impact an emotional success story can have on your donors. You want to create that same effect with imagery on your website.
  • Responsive design. Give your supporters access to your site on any device. Your supporters are looking at your nonprofit on their phones, so make it easy to navigate and donate.

The bottom line: Now is the time to improve your website so you can reach out to those online supporters.

Bonus: Part of optimizing your website includes looking for donation forms that are easy to use and can be customized to match your brand. Use this helpful guide to online donation software to find the right tool for your organization!



Trend #4: Fundraising software will be more integrated.

Salsa provides nonprofits with software that can help them keep up with fundraising trends.

Since most tracking has moved online with the use of software, it’s now time for nonprofits to seek higher performing software that integrates with your other technology solutions.

It can be difficult to fully understand your fundraising if all your information is segmented on different software. Your nonprofit has to take the time to gather and compile all the information you need.

How it’s changing fundraising:

With more integrations popping up, the process of tracking and recording information is becoming easier. For example, your nonprofit may use different software to accept online donations and to collect donor information, but think about how beneficial it could be to combine these two features.

The more your software communicates with each other, the easier it is for you to see the whole picture when it comes to fundraising. Let’s cover three other reasons why integration is the way to go:

  • Spend less time collecting information or gathering it all in one place.
  • Track fundraising progress to see what channels are getting the most attention.
  • Integration with email and social media marketing makes it easier for nonprofits to communicate with donors.

The bottom line: Segmented technology is out the door, and now more than ever, nonprofits are starting to welcome software solutions that talk to each other and make fundraising a more unified, seamless endeavor.



Trend #5: Donors will increasingly use mobile giving channels.

Mobile outreach and fundraising are becoming popular for supporters. Now that so many people have smartphones in their pockets, they have a tool at their fingertips which empowers them to do just about anything that would have traditionally been done on a computer.

Donors are using their mobile phones to:

  • Make gifts. Options such as mobile-optimized giving pages, text-to-give, and crowdfunding campaigns make it easier than ever for your supporters to give from their mobile devices.
  • Research and learn about your cause. Configuring your website so it is accessible on devices of all sizes, from mobile to computer, gives people more options for which device to research your organization  from.
  • Interact with your nonprofit. Mobile channels open up more communication options with your supporters, such as text messaging or more specific email segmentation.

People are more commonly checking text messages, mobile email, and conducting research from their smartphones. “Mobile-izing” your organization will help you better connect with more potential donors and communicate more effectively with your current donor base.

With that said, you should consider incorporating more mobile options for your donors. Improving your mobile channels means you can interact with donors on the go using their preferred choice.

Most tech-savvy donors now expect a baseline of a mobile-responsive website and donation form.

How it’s changing fundraising:

With the increase in mobile supporters, you need to start appealing to their preferences. How? Use mobile donation forms, text-to-give, and other strategies that cater to mobile donors. 

The bottom line: Your donors are becoming more mobile in their donations and their interactions with your nonprofit. That means you need to cater to these donors with mobile donation forms and communications.



Trend #6: Organizations will use previously underused formats to engage donors.iATS payment processing can help nonprofits stay on top of fundraising trends that allow donors to give in more ways.


Formats like the payment process aren’t something often considered by the donor or nonprofits for that matter. Payment processors work behind the scenes to protect and confirm gifts from supporters. 

Often, donors are hesitant about completing online donation forms because they want to keep their payment information safe. What most donors don’t realize is that online donations are just as safe any other form of giving. By educating donors on the process, you can put them at ease.

How it’s changing fundraising:

You’ll need to be more particular about what payment processor you choose to work with because your donors safety is critical. 

Additionally, nonprofits are starting to generate more conversations about payment processing to help donors and nonprofits become more familiar with the concept. The more you know about payment processing, the more you can engage with your donors on the topic.

That way, you make donors feel safe and comfortable about using online donations. And, when donors feel safe about giving online, they will have fewer concerns about giving.

The bottom line: Having more conversations with donors about the aspects of fundraising that are often left behind the scenes will help your nonprofit be more transparent about operations and help donors feel more comfortable about their contributions.



Trend #7: Organizations will focus more on the leadership crisis.

Concord helps nonprofits develop leadership skills, which matters for keeping up with fundraising trends.

A recent survey by the Concord Leadership Group shows that 77% of nonprofits don’t have a secession plan or any leadership development.  Even though many nonprofit leaders are close to retirement, there are few nonprofits with plans in place for the impending transitions.  This dilemma is known as the leadership crisis.

Additionally, without any leadership development in place, new leaders have to figure out strategies for success all on their own. But, nonprofit leaders don’t have time for trial and error.

How it’s changing fundraising:

Luckily, nonprofits are starting to realize the problem and develop a process to help nonprofits build plans. 

Without a strategic plan in place, your leadership can have fragmented ideas about the organization’s mission and varying ideas about how to raise funds. The more nonprofits start to solve some of these concerns, the more clear direction they’ll have about how to raise funds.

The bottom line: Hopefully, with more focus on the leadership crisis, nonprofits can start putting plans in place to help future leaders so that fundraising can take precedence again.



Trend #8: Nonprofits will leverage experts for specific fundraising campaigns.

Aly Sterling is a consulting firm that helps nonprofits follow important fundraising trends.

Sometimes your nonprofit needs the expertise of an outside source to help search deeper and create the best fundraising campaign. That’s where a consulting firm comes in. More and more nonprofits are seeking the help to gain greater insight into their supporters.

How it’s changing fundraising:

A consulting firm can help you with:

  • Fundraising strategies. Consultants can develop a strategy to help you raise more funds — whether that means increasing your marketing or improving your online donation channels.
  • Donor and prospect research. To improve your fundraising, you’ll need to develop a better understanding of your donors. A consultant can research your donors’ giving histories and create a plan to help you reach more supporters.
  • Capital campaign planning and management. Launching a capital campaign is a huge endeavor; a consultant can be there to conduct your feasibility study or write your case for support.
  • Board training and development. A successful nonprofit needs a strong board of directors. Many fundraising consultants offer workshops to teach your board strategies that will make them better members.
  • Donation software. If you’re looking for other ways to accept online donations, you can hire a consultant to help you find new software, migrate information to your new program, and train your team members.

If you’re interested in hiring a consultant, you should use a consulting association site to find a list of reputable professionals. You can narrow down your selection by asking other organizations for references.

As more nonprofits use consulting firms, they can get advice to help address some of their fundraising concerns. With a better understanding of how to market and engage donors, nonprofits can refine their fundraising strategies to help them gain more.

The bottom line: Creating a fundraising campaign is no easy task. Using the help of a consulting firm can be a great way to invest in your future campaigns.



Trend #9: Organizations will use text-to-give for more than just events.

Text-to-give is a fundraising trend that allows nonprofits to raise more.

While text-to-give isn’t new, the way nonprofits use this donation channel is starting to expand. Traditionally, text-to-give is promoted during live events to get people to donate in the moment. But, as we mentioned earlier, mobile donors are on the rise.

How it’s changing fundraising:

Use text-to-give in many other ways to encourage donors to give. In fact, let’s go over a few ways nonprofits are using text-to-give other than just during events:

  • Combine text-to-give with your text communications to encourage donors to give no matter the occasion.
  • Use text-to-give in a reactive way. For instance, in response to natural disasters.
  • Create campaigns entirely around text-to-give, encouraging donors to give on the go.

By promoting text-to-give in multiple ways, your nonprofit can maximize your donations and cater to donors who want more convenient giving options.

The bottom line: Mobile features and text-to-give are on the rise. When your nonprofit uses text-to-give in different ways, you can engage with mobile donors and make the giving process easier.

Now that you know the top nine trends for fundraising, your nonprofit can use them to improve your fundraising strategies. Consider these trends as you start to fundraise in the future. They may help you reach out to your donors or even help you exceed your annual fundraising goals.

For more information on fundraising trends, check out our list of awesome additional resources:

  1. PayPal Alternatives for Nonprofits: If your organization is using PayPal or considering their online donation tools, you might want to think about using other options first. We’ve compiled a list of the challenges organizations will face if they use PayPal as well as solutions that other software providers offer.
  2. Free Fundraising Software: Is your nonprofit on a budget? No worries! There are plenty of software providers on the market that make free or low-cost tools. Best of all, many are catered specifically for nonprofits. Keep reading to learn more.
  3. Questions About Passwordless Login: A new trend in online fundraising is—you guessed it!—passwordless login systems. With this system, donors don’t have to enter a username and password every time they want to donate. Learn more about the different ways you can implement a passwordless login system.

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