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2016 Non-Profit Predictions

As we close the books on 2015 I can’t help but ponder about what’s in store for non-profits in the year ahead. In an industry that’s become so multi-faceted there’s a lot to consider. Here’s what I’m thinking…


Donor-centricity will become the norm

If donor-centric was the buzz term of 2015, 2016 will be the year of making good on the donor-centric promise. Organizations will truly cultivate these critical relationships. How? They will mail or call donors just to say thank you, with no ask. They will segment and personalize copy to like-minded groups of donors. Organizations will also test the long term value of such treatment. 2016 is where forward-thinking non-profits will implement strategies that are truly donor-centric.   


Impact will be the lead story

In 2016, non-profits will tell donors not just what their money was used for but how it made a difference to others. Infographics are an easy way to quickly relay stats in an efficient manner, but donors also crave compelling stories with measurable results. It’s not just mid-and-higher level donors that want more specifics on their contributions. Lower level $25 donors care as well. In 2016, donors will value organizations who can demonstrate true social return and also steward their donation wisely. This will have little to do with overhead figures – but the real difference the charity is making with people’s gifts. 


Monthly giving will be a key strategy

Europe is way ahead of us.  They’ve been concentrating on sustainer programs as a primary fundraising vehicle for years. Some US-based charities have followed suit and see the long-term value in this reliable revenue stream. It can be an expensive undertaking usually done with telemarketing and, more recently, DRTV. Digital is also quickly becoming a huge driver of monthly sustainers as organizations leverage technology for enabling on-the-spot asks. In 2016 more non-profits will be making the investment in sustainer programs and will build out the case in support of monthly giving. DRTV will also grow as a sustainer channel, as barriers to entry continue to decrease.  


Integrated marketing will become more prevalent

There is a common misconception that if you fundraise through multiple channels (email, mail, TV, phone, social) you have an integrated program. Not so much. A program is only integrated if you have coordinated images, messages and offers on various platforms. In 2016 non-profits will become more integrated, coordinating more campaigns in multiple places and will – in turn – experience positive results. Technology and data collection is paving the way as we can now knowingly target people on multiple platforms. 


Donor form usability will improve

Amazon is clearly a leader in making purchasing easy. What if the same leading usability practices were applied to donations? Presidential candidates have already done this to some extent by tokenizing a donor’s payment information and getting people to repeatedly make donations for as little as $3. This can add up quickly. In 2016 there will be a similar movement on the non-profit side with organizations removing barriers to making a gift. This includes one-click renewal forms and storing donor information as personally non-identifiable tokens for easy repeat donations. If we really know our donors why do we continually ask them to fill out their name and address information on every form?


What do you think is in store for non-profits in 2016? Share your thoughts with us on LinkedIn or Facebook



Angela Struebing