The Biggest Digital Fundraising Trends of 2018 (And How To Use Them This Year)

January 14, 2019  |  Gabby Weiss

Rapid technological developments over the past few years have left many nonprofit professionals scrambling to stay up-to-date with the newest tools and techniques without wasting time and money on passing fads. Digital fundraising is an area that has seen huge advances recently and is expected to continue growing.

Throughout 2018, the share of nonprofit fundraising occupied by online donations continued to expand, and while direct mail may not have been overthrown, it is clear that digital fundraising is steadily becoming a nearly equally important area.

To read our full report on the biggest nonprofit tech trends of 2018, what to expect in the year ahead, and how nonprofits of all sizes should be preparing to stay at the top of the technology game, click here.

In the sphere of digital fundraising, the patterns observed in 2018 will continue to inform how nonprofits should build their fundraising strategy for 2019 and the coming years. Some of the biggest trends that emerged in 2018 include:

1. High Quality, All the Time

The necessity of high-quality donation experiences, both in terms of email and donation forms, was highlighted by the number of nonprofits investing additional time and resources in providing the easiest and most enjoyable donation experience possible. From emails to websites and donation forms, speed and simplicity are a requirement, with customers expecting a seamless experience from start to finish. Professional graphics, videos, and other effects are frequently integrated into emails and donation forms, but can’t come at the cost of the lightning-fast loading speed that users expect. Overall, an emphasis on polished products and simple, engaging user experience has dominated 2018.

2. Rapid Response

2018’s fast-paced and unpredictable political climate, as well as our social media-driven tendency toward “viral” phenomenon, meant that more and more nonprofit fundraising and supporter engagement is driven around “moments.” When a particular issue, location, or event is catapulted to national news, nonprofits in 2018 found themselves scrambling to take full advantage of the sudden increase in attention, with some organizations finding more success than others.

3. Creative Acquisition

Attracting new donors continues to be a competitive process, with more organizations investing in advertising programs beyond the standard methods. Utilizing tools such as Facebook’s lookalike algorithms and similar modeling strategies, savvy organizations are using technology to identify and target likely supporters with precision. Providing a streamlined experience is equally important to this process, with results generally best when the message and images on the landing page are in sync.

4. Digital Storytelling

Though storytelling itself is not new for nonprofit fundraisers, in 2018, many nonprofits began to develop new and innovative ways of using technology to integrate narrative elements with their online presence. From interactive graphics, videos, and other personalized content, telling compelling stories through digital mediums is a crucial skill for nonprofits to develop in the coming years.

Click here to read our full report on the biggest nonprofit tech trends of 2018, what to expect in the year ahead, and how nonprofits of all sizes should be preparing to stay at the top of the technology game.