To the Future and Beyond: 40 Nonprofit Trends for 2018
A few years back, we started a tradition of kicking each new year off by informing you and, hopefully, inspiring you about the top trends in the sector. And this year is no different.
The new administration brought many changes to our sector in 2017 and before the year ended, the new tax law took effect, which means no one really knows what is in store for 2018. And while many nonprofits are struggling to comprehend what will happen when donors no longer have an incentive to give, it’s important to have faith in our society. Your donors will continue to show their support for your mission and your cause, because they are truly, madly and deeply connected to your organization’s work.
So we called in our experts of the charitable sector to share their forecast of the trending ideas to watch our for in the upcoming year. While we can’t predict every twist and turn that 2018 has to offer, we can do our best to give you the promising insights, observations and insights in the following areas: big ideas, fundraising/marketing, technology, giving trends/donor relations, leadership and board development.
With these ideas, we hope it provides with more clarity and sparks your creative and innovative juices to not only adapt to the changes coming this year, but to thrive and excel.
Avoid social media overload.
Nonprofits don’t have to leverage every social media channel on the planet. Resources are tight, so take some pressure off and focus on the one or two channels that really work for you. In
2018, less is more. Most nonprofits are just “okay” at seven or eight different channels. It’s better to be great at one, maybe two.
— Joe Pulizzi, Co-Founder, Orange Effect Foundation
Further growth of co-ops.
The sector has been hurting where acquisition of new donors is concerned for some time now. The advent of co-ops has helped to lick those wounds. Co-ops model on your file and overlay
that on their database in order to achieve a better selection and improve response rates. Since they have your data, they can remove duplicates and, thus, charge only for net names. The savings
that are created by this are enough to make this the way to go for 2018. Additionally, we have seen an increase in first time gifts over rented lists.
— Angel Aloma, Executive Director, Food for the Poor
In the world of PR, thought leadership will continue to be a powerful tool in 2018. Not only will it increase brand awareness, trust and credibility, it will also help put your company on
the map. Many people think that if you write a blog post, you automatically become a thought leader. It takes strategic planning to break through all of the noise. This year, I see more companies getting serious about being an industry leader and seeking help from PR pros to shape their overall brand messaging.
— Nijha Diggs, Director of Public Relations, Smile Train
Moving beyond silos.
We as a nonprofit community must move beyond our silos. Our professional organizations need to band together to create plans, momentum and finally move the bar. This will require a collaborative (between organizations within and outside our field), multi-year approach ranging from school curriculum to media campaigns. It means moving beyond gimmicky giving days and a focus on the values and principles that make philanthropy a significant part of our American tradition and essential element in our nation fulfilling it potential and our citizens fulfilling theirs.
—Jeff Jowdy, President, Lighthouse Counsel
Back to the basics.
The big idea for this year may not seem big at all, but it’s actually a game-changer. In 2018, more nonprofits will stop chasing new trends and techniques and instead, they’ll focus on
really getting the fundamentals right. This starts with eliminating confusion from your website, clarifying your message and implementing a simple, effective fundraising strategy.
— Rod Arnold, Founder, Leading Good
Marrying marketing and fundraising.
Marketing and fundraising departments will meld together with much gnashing of teeth, but with the end result being better overall performance. Marketing success metrics will change to reflect more hard dollars. Current technology outdates the idea of the marketing department reporting, as an
example, clicks and views unconnected to specific revenue. Marketing’s job has started looking a lot more like the fundraising department’s job. Marketing professionals will learn to better connect mission to revenue and to create affinity along the way.
— Katrina VanHuss, CEO, Turnkey
Intentional planned giving.
Small- to mid-sized nonprofits will get more intentional about planned giving. The continued aging of baby boomers will drive this as these organizations receive a few unexpected bequests and strategically begin asking for bequests.
— Pamela Barden, Consultant, P J Barden, Inc.
2017 brought with it catastrophic natural disasters, conflicts resulting in an unprecedented number of internationally displaced people, political unrest and an ever-changing global landscape. Through all of this, we have witnessed the importance of the voice of the individual has the power to create a unifying global movement and, ultimately, change the world. As such, the door is now open in 2018 to focus on this type of first-person storytelling.
— Shari Mason, VP of Communications, Smile Train
To read the full cover story, please download it here.