Nonprofit Trends for 2018 and Beyond
When you work for an organization like The Salvation Army that has many key holiday special “getting-and-giving” activities during the last quarter of the calendar year, you do not have a great deal of time to think about the short- and long-term future. Yet, when I take a break from work as the Christmas holiday draws closer, I find myself spending a great deal of time thinking about the next year and future trends for nonprofits.
We work in such a complex environment and must anticipate how to prepare for change to continue to be successful. This process includes keeping one eye on 2018 and another eye beyond 2018.
In the article titled, “The Future of Fundraising,” the author notes four trends that will reshape the nonprofit landscape, which are:
- Nonprofits will use advances in technology to engage donors face to face and at every giving level.
- Transitional organizations focused on solving problems and then disbanding will increasingly challenge “permanent” nonprofits.
- Big data will become ubiquitous and easier to manage and understand.
- Nonprofits will become proactive, rather than reactive, to opportunistic fundraising campaigns.
The author also notes that the nonprofit landscape is changing and the most effective leaders will recognize this and adapt their strategies to maintain relevancy and ultimately make an impact on the world.
Fast Company indicates that as community needs change and nonprofits are searching for better ways to deliver their services, they must invest in people and technologies, and, as this transition emerges, three top nonprofit jobs will be:
- Chief culture officer: This position will deal with the internal and external relationships with the many types of individuals they serve.
- Data scientist: Data holds the potential for learning and knowledge. Nonprofits need metrics to determine how their programs and services are performing. Armed with better data, nonprofits can stay efficient and effective, even with limited resources.
- UX designer: At the intersection of culture and data is user experience. This position understands the organizational systems and helps design new processes to help existing and new customers in a variety of ways.
As we look to long-range changes we must also look at what is right in front of us. Capterra Nonprofit Technology points out that certain technology trends threaten the security and fundraising abilities of nonprofits and what you can do to lessen these threats.
- Website encryption. Move your website from HTTP to HTTPS, which encrypts your website and all interactions taking place on it.
- Opt for electronic alternatives to personal checks. The use of checks is declining and nonprofits must seek ways for others to contribute over the Internet, via mobile campaigns and other means.
- Older generations give more. Seek to target market to various segments such as Baby Boomers and Millennials, and determine how they give, why they give and best means to secure funds from them. Note that Baby Boomers give the most annually.
- Gen X’ers give money, older generations give their time (and stuff). Gen X’ers give to health charities while Baby Boomers give toward religion and social services.
- Electronic giving is taking over. Nearly half of Millennials, Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers prefer to give solely through an organization’s website.
In addition to the trends just mentioned for 2018, Cureo encourages nonprofit practitioners to promote mobile fundraising, collaborate with others in a variety of ways, use technology to tell stories of impact with your donors and use organizational social media networks to cultivate relationships and promote brand awareness in its article titled, “4 Nonprofit Technology Trends That Should Be on Your Radar in 2018.”
And according to NLE Resources, here are 10 trends every nonprofit needs to know for the new year:
- Charitable giving is expected to grow by 3.8 percent.
- Individual giving is expected to grow by 3.2 percent.
- Estate giving will decrease in 2018.
- Health care causes will grow in importance.
- Create eye-catching website designs.
- Tell your story.
- Improve customer relationships.
- Be human and personal.
- Optimize your mobile platform.
- Invest in fundraising.
By all indications, 2018 should be a growth year for fundraising. To increase donor retention and donor giving levels, plus reduce losses in number of donors, evaluate your total fundraising program and fundraising methods. Retain methods that provide the best results and consider changing or eliminating fundraising models that have shown continuous decline. Recruit and train staff well, plus fire up your fundraising board. Seek a renewed commitment of support by your organizational leader. Study your crystal ball with confidence and hope for the new year and beyond. No one said success will be easy, but it will be easier to attain if you anticipate and prepare well for what is ahead.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, educator and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 10 years and has had the CFRE designation for the last 26 years. He has also been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for over 35 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division plus Adjunct Professor for Olivet Nazarene University. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.