Looking Ahead to 2015 and Beyond
The speed with which trends are introduced and take hold can be dizzying! This is of course true in technology, but it’s also true in fundraising, where some blindly chase The Next Big Thing, and others plan and execute as if we are immune from the need to adapt.
In the nonprofit world, here are some of the trends we’ll be watching for and responding to in 2015:
Investigations by the Senate Finance Committee and various state attorneys general have led to record fines and sanctions for deception in charitable fundraising this year. And while some of the high-profile cases represent clear violations of law and ethics, states are increasingly ready to make headlines by sniffing out any suspected lack of transparency with renewed vigor. Nonprofits must ensure appropriate internal controls and pay unprecedented attention to issues of integrity, disclosure and transparency.
‘We’re here from the government to help you’
Too often, some of us in the nonprofit community observe government doings with the notion that we’re powerless to influence them. Now, more than ever, we need a clear, powerful voice to impact policy. Here are just some issues we need to address to stay viable: The USPS has been mismanaged to the brink of bankruptcy; privacy zealots threaten our ability to target the right people with the right message; certain tax-reform schemes would take away charitable tax deductibility from the most generous donors — costing nonprofits billions in lost revenue. In 2015, we need to unite and raise our voices to be heard by our government representatives.
Where the idea of multichannel used to be novel, it is now non-negotiable. Fundraisers, even those who initially resisted the necessity of intentionally integrated targeting of donors in every conceivable channel, will increasingly recognize we’re in new territory. We need to meet donors where they are (via online, DRTV, mail, phone, radio, special events, face-to-face, mobile). Effective multichannel communication increases results dramatically; we can no longer simply pay lip service to the concept or else we will find ourselves left behind in the marketplace.
Tom Harrison is the former chair of Russ Reid and Omnicom's Nonprofit Group of Agencies. He served as chair of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.