Looking Ahead to 2015 and Beyond
It’s been a sluggish recovery with employment, housing, manufacturing and retail all struggling to get back into pre-2008 growth mode. But somewhat healthier numbers in consumer confidence and a still surging stock market point to the reopening of fundraising doors. Look for growing optimism on the economy to encourage aggressive new acquisition efforts as donors feel ready to take on new responsibility. Major gifts are due for a long-awaited surge as well, which not only adds to the net revenue but also improves ratios.
Put a brand-aid on it
In 2015, successful nonprofits will no longer accept brand and social-media campaigns that generate buzz but no bucks. Without the economy to blame for soft revenue, nonprofits will insist that all communications campaigns work together to generate net revenue. Branding will remain vital to nonprofits — as long as it supports fundraising as well as program goals.
In the nonprofit world, 2014 will be known as the year of the Ice Bucket Challenge. In a remarkable public relations coup, one organization both learned and demonstrated how social media can be marshaled to combine the raising of both awareness and revenue. Expect to see lots of imitators in 2015. The true test of a trend’s long-term worthiness will be in whether it can combine awareness and fundraising to create measurable growth and increased revenue. Watch for answers to the question that will turn a trend into a tradition: How well do efforts like these translate to
We don’t build marketing plans by looking at today’s trends. We don’t raise donor funds year over year by watching Twitter hashtags. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore the obvious. Being alert for what’s “trending” — on social media, in the mail, in boardrooms and seminars, even in government — will keep us on top of the changes shaping the landscape and enable us to reach donors with streamlined and high-octane efficiency.