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2022 Classy Collaborative – Trends for Nonprofits

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Are you a nonprofit professional trying to figure out where your time is best spent? What should be your highest priority? I spoke at the 2022 Classy Collaborative and we found five leading trends for nonprofits and hot topics of conversation.

  1. What’s the future of our sector look like with a potential recession ahead?
  2. How do we build sustainable recurring giving programs with all different size teams?
  3. How can we remove friction in the online donation experience and provide the options donors want?
  4. Are our organizations inclusive? We need to look at our donor base, board members, staff, and volunteers to ensure all voices are represented and heard.
  5. Are you using social media to foster and cultivate relationships based on what your supporters are actually looking for?

Let’s dive deeper into each one.

Dana Snyder speaking at Classy with Red Cross and NAACP

Future of the Sector: Understanding the Trends That Will Shape Our Tomorrow

What’s become the norm for fundraising since COVID? People expect hybrid events. Make sure to amplify your impact by offering the virtual option and don’t think you’re creating a lesser experience virtually. The opportunity of this change is you have the ability to meet someone like Jane Goodall from the comfort of her own home. You get a different Jane when she’s in her safe space. It creates a different level of intimacy.

As you think about your online giving experience, make sure to consider:

  • Are you offering enough donation payment methods?
    • 55% of donors say they would likely donate through Paypal and Venmo if these methods were available
    • The number raised to 66% when looking at Gen Z
  • Does your CRM and social team create opportunities to elevate the personalized experience and conversation with authenticity to build donor trust? 
    • Tap into breaking boundaries with donors
    • Tap into breaking boundaries with volunteers and development staff 
  • To gain trust, the new generation demands outcomes and we must value our $25 grassroots donors.

Panel: Soraya Alexander: Chief Operating Officer | Classy, Victoria Vrana: Deputy Director, Philanthropic Partnerships | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Laura Nieto: Director, Community Outreach | Southwest Airlines, Anna Rathmann: Executive Director | Jane Goodall Institute the USA, Will Fowler: Chief Financial Officer | The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

The Power of Recurring Giving

Recurring giving is the gold standard when it comes to non-profit fundraising. While major gifts/donations are still valuable and should be pursued, recurring giving programs ensure a consistent stream of revenue for your nonprofit. 

  • Name Your Recurring Giving Program 
    • Keep your organization’s mission, brand, and story top of mind. 
    • Use branding on all fundraising efforts, and incorporate recurring giving messaging in everything you do.
  • Set Up Automated Communication & Optimize Accordingly
    • When someone becomes a new donor, have an automated email welcome sequence ready to go.
    • Make sure you’re segmenting these donors and have specific monthly emails with information on the impact they’re creating.
    • Track what type of content your audience is interested in and tailor your content to what they find value in.
    • Test your online donation tool, website, landing page, etc to optimize direct response marketing
    • Consider asking recurring donors why they give and what is their motivation to give.
  • Create Donor Personas
    • Personas are fictional representations of your ideal donors. They provide a way to see your brand through the eyes of a potential donor so that you can tailor your message to meet their needs. 
    • Start with your existing donor database and gather demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data. 
    • Consider creating segments of donors, not yet donors, volunteers, sponsors, large donors, supporters/advocates, occasional donors, etc.
  • Create A Lifelong Donor Through Stewardship
    • Treat monthly donors like members, valuable investors, and participants.
    • Donor stewardship involves managing gifts as donors intended, informing donors about the progress and impact of their gifts, and keeping them involved with your organization as they enter into the cultivation process.
    • Share impactful stories and highlight partners driving the work, how lives have changed, and how communities have improved.
  • Reactivate Lapsed Donors 
    • Re-engage and re-activate donors by meeting them where they are BEFORE they lapse. The sooner you can reach a donor when they lapse the more likely they will reconsider.
    • Show appreciation and gratitude for their generosity and support.
    • Share impactful fundraising stories and inspire the donor to feel that their involvement made this story possible.
    • Add a personal touch when re-engaging by personalizing your message or simply picking up the phone and making a call.
    • Don’t forget to make the ask! Give a clear call to action and steps the donor can take to get involved.

Panel: Eileen Timken: Advancement Officer | La Jolla Institute for Immunology, Cheryl Ewell: Director of Development | Hire Heroes USA, Alan Stininger: Executive Director, Development Operations & Programs | Shriners Childrens’, Brittney Bartlett: Associate Director of Individual Giving | MADRE

Create and Foster Your Community on Facebook and Instagram

Build a place for supporters to come together as a community through online social media platforms where you can be part of the discussion and response to become a trusted source for valued information.

Donors like to see where their dollars are going. Create content that demonstrates the transformation and impact of donations.

  • Every time you post online it gives people a reason to like or unfollow you
  • Create content the community is interested in 
  • Share helpful tools, resources, and information
  • Provide different options for supporters to engage with your organization
  • Speak to the community in the moment through Facebook or Instagram LIVE.

Panel: Kendra Sinclair: Social Impact Partnerships Manager | META, Sarah Barnett Acting Co-Executive Director, Development and Communications | ACCT Philly, Elizabeth Sile Director of Digital Communications | Breast Cancer Research Foundation

What Classy Learned from Analyzing Over 54,000 Fundraising Campaigns

Optimization is key. This might sound redundant, but it’s so crucial. Traffic from mobile devices overrides desktop for most campaign types. Ensure you optimize your fundraising campaign for a seamless mobile experience.

  • Outreach Timing
    • Time your outreach with current giving tendencies. 
    • Giving tends to peak on Tuesday at 10 am. Tuesdays & Fridays are peak days.
  • Keep it Short and Simple
    • Have multiple payment options that are also mobile-friendly (Paypal, Venmo, digital wallets)
    • ACH fuels larger gifts
    • Reduce the number of clicks
  • Engage With Donors
    • Build a proactive nurture strategy and don’t always engage with an ask or appeal.
    • Send personalized & custom messages:
      • Holiday, birthday, major milestone, organic touch points opportunities to connect as human
      • Offer perks, incentives, swag
      • Offer early bird access or VIP access to events

Panel: Brett Vanderblock, Data Analytics Manager | Classy & Hannah Durbin, Content Specialist | Classy

Individual Giving Trends & Behaviors

Giving is not a zero-sum game. Collaborate with other organizations working on the same cause area that can bring in other demographics that you may not be able to reach.

  • The next generation of donors is trusting based on outcomes and impact.
  • Build donor trust through emotional connection. Use data and stories of impact to build donor trust.
  • Create a sense of urgency in your organization’s cause area and create a sense of ability for a donor to make an impact.
  • Learn to innovate and adapt: Analyze the performance of communications conversion rates that are driving donors to give and innovate in real-time to increase generosity for your mission.

Panel: Woodrow Rosenbaum: Chief Data Officer | Giving Tuesday, Soraya Alexander: Chief Operating Officer | Classy, Jeannie Sager: Director | Women’s Philanthropy Institute

  1. […] attending the Classy Collaborative, one of the big trends and discussion points was not forgetting $25 […]

  2. […] growing your organization, and advancing your mission. As we move forward in the a world changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s worthwhile to revisit your brand to ensure you’re working from a strong foundation going […]

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