Valuable Fundraising Lessons We Learned in 2017

December 22, 2017 npEngage Team

In the waning weeks of December, many of us find ourselves reflecting on the past year, wondering where all the time went and what goals to set for next year. 2017 is no different. Standing on the brink of the 4th Industrial Revolution, this was certainly a year of transformation, from a changing political landscape, to a string of terrible disasters, to new technologies impacting how we engage with our supporters. The challenge ahead is how to adapt and develop your fundraising practice based on the trends we can see now, and still be agile moving forwards. Fortunately, npENGAGE contributors provided their expertise and insight to drive us forward this year.  Here are just a few of the big ideas they shared in 2017:  

The Truth is in the Numbers

Many npENGAGE contributors shared about the ever-increasing role of big data and analytics this year. This is vital to any fundraiser. You can’t create a plan to move forward without knowing where you are currently, and how and why your funds come in the way they do, and where from. It seems simple to say, but the advanced analytics that are available today will help you build tomorrow. You need to pay attention –  because your board members and constituents will be.  This year, npENGAGE contributors broke down the how and why and provided a great lens on the ways big data can help your fundraising and your mission.

The Millennial Mind, Heart, and Wallet

Another vitally important transformation is the integration of a new generation into the workforce and society and what that means for your organization. Millennials are no longer the future, they are here, now and bring with them a new ethos, motivation, and spending practices. This kind of change directly affects how nonprofits engage with their supporters, not only in terms of soliciting donations, but also enabling them to support your mission in other ways. It is crucial to explore how to maximize your investment in them and not just thank them for their investment in you.

A Mission With a Story to Tell

All the data in the world and a complete understanding of current and future generations will mean nothing if you can’t successfully market and share your story in an effective, impactful, and meaningful way. The desire to know the who, what and why is a massive driving factor for truly successful fundraising. This is an industry filled with care and passion, and connecting with your supporters requires that you acknowledge and act accordingly.  This year, npENGAGE contributors provided great insight as to how and why you should share your story.

  • Improving Fundraising Outcomes Requires Emotion Not Just Logic: “The most scientifically constructed ‘ask’ or strategy can’t make up for a donor’s lack of money or a lack of confidence in your organization… For many donors, giving is far more emotional.”
  • 4 Steps to Creating Your Nonprofit’s Storytelling Strategy: “Storytelling can be used to support your organization’s advocacy, communications, marketing, and fundraising efforts by helping you build stronger connections with your audience. To ensure that the stories you tell support these activities—and your calls to action are answered—you must do some strategizing and planning.”
  • Your Brand Story: Change the Fundraising Game by Driving Donations and Building Relationships: “When done properly, a powerful and compelling brand story can literally be a game-changer for your nonprofit. It will help connect your mission with existing and prospective donors on a much deeper and emotional level. In today’s challenging and competitive environment, organizations who don’t tell their story well risk donors choosing another organization who does a much better job at telling theirs.”

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