With the new year underway, it's time to look at trends that will affect nonprofit organizations in 2021.
In all industries, many trends have resulted from the changing business landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As consumers change the way they interact with companies, organizations will need to adapt to these new ways of doing business in order to succeed.
The nonprofit industry is no exception.
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Adapt with Technology
Technology may be the biggest area for nonprofits to focus on. Almost everyone is connected to the internet with either phones, tablets, laptops, or on their desktops at home. Therefore, nonprofits must provide technological ways for people to interact with their organizations. Here are a few suggestions:
- Allow people to make donations online
- Give volunteers the ability to register and check in online or on an app
- Use SMS/texts to communicate news and updates to those who opt-in to receive them
- Use videos for marketing and fundraising
Studies have shown that people are more likely to donate a smaller amount to nonprofits monthly than larger, one-time amounts. Many think of it as a payment plan (except without the interest!) and make it part of their monthly budget. This method can also help those who want to give but can't justify a larger donation.
Another benefit is, in most cases, the donor tends to donate for a longer amount of time and gives more than they would with a one-time donation.
Create Strong(er) Corporate Relationships
This trend could be one of the most important for nonprofits to follow. There are many benefits to having good, strong relationships with local businesses and corporations:
- Businesses are an excellent source for donations, especially if their values align with those of the nonprofit organization.
- Employees tend to follow their employer's lead when it comes to donating. A strong relationship with a business leads to donations not only from the company but from employees as well.
- Along with donations, employees are more likely to donate their time and volunteer to help the organization. Offering volunteer opportunities for groups may draw more interest as well.
- Talk to businesses and see what their goals are. Be creative in aligning your sponsorship requests to meet both the company's and nonprofit's goals.
Promote Virtual Volunteerism
Not everything in the world has gone virtual, but it can seem like it. Even when we're able to return to in-person events, a portion of the population will still stay away from crowds, at least for a while.
Using a combination of in-person and virtual events to reach your target audience also encourages volunteers to get virtually (and literally) involved with your organization. Some people are more likely to volunteer if they can help out virtually from their homes.
Show How Donations Help
Who doesn't want to know where their money goes when making a donation? Some may not care, but more and more people want to know how their donation will help an organization or their cause. Obviously there are costs associated with running a nonprofit, but what percentage of a donation goes directly to benefit those the nonprofit is helping?
It is more common to see organizations that accept donations show a breakdown of how donations are distributed. List this out and provide an example for potential donors to see: "For every dollar donated, X% goes directly to help families in need" or something similar. This transparency will instill confidence in people that their hard-earned money will benefit those in need.
Embrace the Changes to Come
As we emerge from the pandemic, prepare your organization for future changes:
- Adapt with technology
- Offer a monthly donation subscription
- Create strong corporate relationships
- Promote volunteerism for virtual events
- Show people how their donations are helping
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