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We’ve seen the fundraising landscape shift dramatically over the past several years. Many of the “tried and true” efforts nonprofits used in the past are becoming less effective. Fundraising in 2019 should feel a lot different than it did in 2009 or 1999!

If your organization has been slow to adapt, now is the time to do so. The digital divide is growing faster than ever. Many households don’t even have a landline anymore. Phone scams have made people hesitant to answer calls from unfamiliar numbers on their cell. It’s time we moved past the cold calls and generic appeals and move into the future of fundraising!

1. Be Authentic

Authenticity is key to every one of your fundraising efforts. If your organization and messages are straight-forward, genuine, and appeal to emotion and logic, you will be far more successful than with a half-hearted attempt at a flavor of the month strategy.

In 2019, go the extra mile to really connect with your donors and show them how important they are to advancing your mission. Continue to share stories of impact that motivate donors in all your communications. Or better yet, encourage them to come experience them in person.

Remember, your relationship with your donors is about much more than money. There is something special for donors about seeing your shared goals fulfilled first hand. Invite them to participate in volunteer opportunities so they can put their mouth where their money is!

2. Make it Easier to Give

We know that no two donors are the same. They prefer to give in different ways and nonprofits need to meet them where they are most comfortable. Just as some donors may not want send a check through the mail, others might not want to enter their credit card information directly on your site.

It’s about to be 2019. Some vending machines even accept Apple Pay! Shouldn’t your nonprofit? If you haven’t already, consider making the giving process easier for donors though a third-party payment processer like PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle.

Another way to make it easier for donors to give is through recurring gifts. There’s a reason why we don’t pay in full right away if we buy a new car. Most of us probably can’t afford to do so and even if you can, you probably don’t want to shell out all that cash up front. Think about monthly giving programs in the same way. You can reduce the strain of large gifts on donors by encouraging monthly payments.

Let’s say your goal is to collect $1,000 from a single donor. Do you think they would be willing to pay that today? Monthly gifts aren’t just easier on the donor’s wallet. They can actually help you raise more over time! A donor who enrolls in this monthly giving program would surpass your original $1,000 goal by 20 percent in the first year.  

Monthly gifts feel easier on your donors’ wallet and help you raise more money. According to Nonprofit Source, the average monthly online donation is $52, which equates to $624 per year. Consider the average one-time gift is $128. It’s no coincidence more nonprofits put emphasis on their monthly giving programs last year, a trend we expect to continue and grow in 2019.

3. Refine Video Strategy

Nonprofits who have yet to incorporate video into their fundraising communications often have the same concerns: “We don’t have anyone who can edit videos.” “The equipment is too expensive.” “It takes too much time that we need to devote to other initiatives.”

Stop. Your videos don’t need to feel like a Hollywood production. Donors really enjoy videos that feel intimate and show the faces of your organization or the people you help. Your smartphone is really all you need to put together a short, minute or two, video. You might consider using Facebook’s live video feature at your next event or when working in the field to bring the experience to your entire network in real time.

Last week, we mentioned that incorporating video into your fundraising outreach was one of the biggest trends of 2018. We expect nonprofits to take this approach a step further in the upcoming year.

Start the New Year Right

It’s time to stop living in the past. Some of us might yearn for the days when you could send a mailer, make a phone call, and host an event or two. But they are long behind us and fading into the rear view mirror faster than ever.

You never really know what the future holds. But we are confident nonprofits that adapt these strategies in 2019 will meet or exceed their fundraising goals. Keep an eye on our blog throughout the new year to keep up on the latest fundraising advice or sign up to get our insights in your inbox.

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