The Focus on Fundraising for 2023 – Part Two

April 14, 2023

Thank you for joining us for Part 2 of Summit Marketing’s Focus on Fundraising for 2023. This time we’ll delve into three critical trends: “Enhanced staffing and nonprofit culture,” “More personalized donor experience,” “Attracting Gen-Z” and “Flexible giving options.”

3. Enhanced staffing and nonprofit culture

The great resignation… quiet quitting – nonprofits aren’t immune from the paradigm shifts plaguing the workplace in the aftermath of the pandemic. At the same time, many organizations are still holding fast to a “scarcity mindset” that leads to decreasing resources, low pay, long hours and, ultimately, burnout and turnover. Combined, these issues can create chronic staffing challenges that can impact nonprofits in their efforts to successfully attract and retain qualified employees.

But here’s the good news: As nonprofits gain increasing recognition for meeting the needs and of a hurting world, fundraising is gaining respect as a profession – and development departments must act accordingly. Seek qualified associates, pay them appropriately and create a positive environment in which they feel valued. Consider options like working remotely or flexible schedules which can allow for their individual situations. Offer continuing education opportunities to enhance their skills and value in the marketplace.

Bonus tip: And just as you would cultivate key donors, use the same touchpoints (cards, special gifts, personal texts and emails) to let them know they’re appreciated.

The bottom line: As you invest in your team members, they invest in your organization in return, and that leads to greater outcomes for your mission and those you serve.

How we can help: One of the simplest ways to demonstrate your commitment to employee satisfaction is to make their roles more manageable. Summit Marketing’s FREE Fundraising Training Camp offers insight into the techniques, tools and technologies that make a fundraiser’s job more rewarding (and more fun.)

4. More personalized donor experience

Creating a donor-centric or transformational experience should always be the foundation for your fundraising efforts. But it’s even more critical now when supporters are being forced to reshuffle financial priorities and make hard choices about how to allocate their household’s every dollar.

Where to focus: Every interaction with donors should bring them closer to your cause,” says Tammy Nigus, Summit Marketing’s Senior Communications and Creative Director. Drawing on the human desire for acknowledgement, affirmation, appreciation and aspiration – and utilizing data already in their files – nonprofits’ focus should be on creating donor-specific touchpoints that fulfill donors’ needs while cementing their relationship with the organization.

Just as important: As critical as these messages themselves is how they are delivered. With all the options today’s technology offers, it easy to blitz donors with communications they find unwelcome, irritating or even confusing. Instead, take a message-first approach and tailor your communication to your donors’ desires and be consistent with it across the channels they prefer.

The bottom line: In donor-centric communications, the organization becomes the conduit connecting donors to the recipients of their generosity or, more specifically, to the fulfillment of their personal desires and legacy.

How we can help: Summit Marketing’s “Hug Your Hundreds” and other signature programs can provide communication tools, guidance, training and support to evaluate and strengthen your donor-centric culture.

5. Attracting Gen-Z

Born between 1997 and 2012, Generation-Z numbers 72 million and is the first to grow up wholly in the digital era. According to INSIDER Intelligence, these individuals are tech-savvy and mobile-first and have high standards for how they spend their time online. Ideologically, this cohort eclipses all generations before it in embracing diversity and inclusion.

Why this matters: Predicted to have huge spending power by 2026, nonprofits need to start establishing relationships with Gen-Zers now and ensure they can meet their digital expectations.

The good news: Nonprofits can meet Gen-Zers where they are by using technology and strategies already in their toolbox. As NonProfitPRO reports, this cohort seeks to be part of something bigger than themselves, they require authenticity and ongoing communication and they love subscriptions. Use Snapchat, Tik Tok, Instagram and YouTube to share real stories. Volunteering, matching gift and loyalty programs will connect them to your cause. And relate monthly recurring donations to the subscriptions they’re already in the habit of supporting.

From Una Osili: While younger donors tend to be more skeptical, they are also the cohort most comfortable with new and emerging technologies which allow for increased transparency and opportunities to build community and trust.

Bonus tip: Incorporate game elements like point and reward systems into fundraising campaigns and loyalty programs, as it taps into Gen-Zers’ affinity for gaming and natural desire for competition and achievement.

How we can help: Summit Marketing can guide you in tailoring your omnichannel communications to the emerging Gen-Z market, as well as developing unique gamification campaigns as part of your overall plan.

6. Flexible giving options

As more people feel the anxiety of economic uncertainty, it becomes more difficult for nonprofits to raise money from – and retain – individual donors. While recognizing donors’ preferred ways to communicate and give is always key to a donor-centric program, in times like these it is especially important to make giving as easy and comfortable as possible.

Double down: For starters, put even greater emphasis on offering sustainer programs like The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Club® to make gift payments manageable and more convenient for donors to include in their monthly budgets. And streamline the omnichannel experience by promoting the programs online as well as through direct mail. Providing QR codes and URLs in mail appeals empowers donors to give while your cause is fresh in their minds and in the way they choose. (Additional options are discussed in more detail in Trends 7 and 8.)

Consider this: “Especially now, be empathetic to donors’ possible financial struggles,” says Jennifer Viscomi, Summit Marketing’s Client Services Manager. “Let them know you appreciate their gifts, whatever the size, and the sacrifices they may be making to remain loyal to your organization.”

Bonus tip: Use touchpoints like handwritten thank-yous and personal phone calls to convey your sincere gratitude for donors’ loyalty through hard times.

How we can help: Summit Marketing’s omnichannel marketing strategies are designed to maintain your brand and messages across all channels, allowing nonprofits to match donors’ needs and giving preferences.

There more to come! In Part Three of Summit Marketing’s Focus on Fundraising for 2023, we’ll conclude this series with our final trends: “Emphasis on new technology,” “Rise of giving vehicles,” The elements of age and volunteerism,” and “Why mission matters more than ever.”