Nonprofit Fundraising     |     27 March 2024

5 Nonprofit Fundraising Trends to Know in 2024

Your blueprint for embracing nonprofit success in the new year

15 minute read

A neon sign reading “Architect drawing a bluebrint

In the fast-paced world of nonprofit organizations, keeping a finger on the pulse of the latest nonprofit fundraising trends is essential for survival and growth. While sticking to “the ways we’ve always done them” is certainly convenient, it’s a surefire way to be left behind. On the other hand, paying attention to what’s working and where fundraising is going allows you to get the most from your fundraising efforts. 

Read on to learn more about these trends and how you can implement them in your fundraising strategy. 

Five biggest nonprofit fundraising trends in 2024. 

Trend 1: Digital Transformation and AI Integration

The fusion of AI with fundraising strategies is opening doors to innovative ways of managing and engaging donors. In this new world, AI tools predict which supporters are most likely to contribute to a specific campaign or identify patterns in donor behavior that lead to more personalized outreach efforts. These aren't futuristic dreams—they're today's reality.

Real-world Impact

Charity: water's journey with AI paints a vivid picture of what's possible when nonprofits harness the power of technology. By leveraging AI to analyze and optimize their Facebook ad campaigns, they discovered the narratives and imagery that resonate most with their audience. This approach led to a significant uplift in engagement and donor recruitment, showcasing the tangible benefits of integrating AI into fundraising strategies.

As we embrace these technological advances, the importance of maintaining personal connections has never been more clear. The magic happens when automation and personal touch converge, creating an efficient and heartfelt fundraising approach. This balance ensures that while we're reaching out through screens, we're touching hearts and minds in the most meaningful way.

With Silent Auction Pro, you can access a robust set of digital features covering event management, marketing/communications, and AI-powered reporting for better donor management

Trend 2: The power of recurring donations

In today's unpredictable financial climate, giving a little bit is becoming more popular than large, one-time gifts for nonprofits and their supporters. While economic ups and downs can make financial planning tricky, setting up recurring donations is becoming a go-to strategy for people who want to keep supporting their favorite causes without breaking the bank. 

The support from donors who give regularly is at the core of what keeps a nonprofit going strong. Whether they send in a donation every month, every other week, or once a quarter, these donors are all about consistent support, making a big difference in a world that's always changing.

The three main benefits of recurring giving in 2024

  • Making it through tough economic times: Recurring donations are a smart move, letting donors spread out their support in smaller, more manageable amounts. It's a way to keep up the giving spirit, even when times are tough.
  • Jumping on the subscription bandwagon: We're all used to subscription services, from streaming movies to delivering groceries. Nonprofits are getting in on this action by setting up their own versions of recurring donations. It's all about making giving as easy as any other part of our daily financial routines.
  • Boosting engagement with donors: What really makes recurring donations shine is the chance to get donors more involved with what you're doing. Nonprofits can build stronger bonds with their supporters by keeping them in the loop about how their money is helping. This close connection can help keep donors around for the long haul, turning one-time gifts into ongoing support.

Examples of excellence in recurring donor programs

The Adventure Project: Specializing in entrepreneurial support for those in extreme poverty, this organization exemplifies the impact of focused, regular updates and personal stories in engaging monthly donors. 

The Red Cross: With its widespread recognition and emergency response efforts, the Red Cross demonstrates the strength of a well-established brand in promoting recurring donations. Becoming a "Champion" through monthly donations helps donors see their money put to good use immediately. 

World Vision: By allowing donors to sponsor individual children, World Vision personalizes the donation experience. This approach highlights individual stories to create empathy and support. 

With personalized landing pages, text-to-give options, and customized URLs, encouraging recurring donations has never been easier. 

Trend 3: Expanding Horizons with Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

A group of people at the starting line for a
								charity run

Fundraising is witnessing a transformative shift, with peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising becoming a powerful tool in the nonprofit arsenal. Gone are the days when P2P fundraising was synonymous with annual 5K runs or charity walk-a-thons. Today, the concept has evolved into countless innovative events that reach beyond traditional boundaries, offering a fresh perspective on engaging supporters and expanding donor bases.

At its core, P2P fundraising empowers your supporters to become ambassadors for your cause. By creating individual or team fundraising pages, they tap into their personal networks, extending your reach far beyond what traditional methods could achieve. This approach introduces your mission to potential new supporters, creating a pipeline for major gifts. 

Peer-to-peer fundraising in action

From marathons to birthday fundraisers, the success stories of P2P fundraising are both inspiring and instructive. Concern Worldwide's annual participation in the New York Marathon allows runners to post a campaign page asking friends and family to contribute to their campaign. Similarly, Facebook's birthday fundraisers demonstrate the platform's ability to create donor engagement. 

Crafting effective peer-to-peer campaigns

To capitalize on the benefits of P2P fundraising, nonprofits must focus on crafting campaigns that connect to their audiences. Encouraging supporters to share their personal connections to your cause can make a huge difference in gaining new supporters. Make sure to equip participants with the tools and incentives to create compelling narratives to maximize the impact of their efforts. 

Trend 4: Embracing the unconventional donor

Many nonprofits are seeing the benefits of welcoming a new breed of donors to help reshape how causes are shared and contributions are made. Influencers, celebrities, and the passionate Gen Z demographic are stepping into the fundraising arena. This shift represents not just a change in who gives but how giving is evolving in the digital age.

Influencer marketing

Influencers and celebrities have long been recognized for their ability to sway public opinion and consumer behavior. They are increasingly using their platforms for various causes, offering nonprofits an incredible opportunity to spread their message. Think about causes like the Small Steps Project, backed by people like Beyonce, Madonna, and George Clooney, or The Trevor Project, with promos and PSAs recorded by Daniel Radcliffe. 

While influencers may not have the reach of mega-celebrities, they can promote and share social causes with their communities. Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier, for example, is a wildlife photographer with 1.6 million Instagram followers who encourages women to participate in ocean conservation efforts and to end animal cruelty in Spain. John Allen is another name to know. This former U.S. Navy SEAL encourages support for equine therapy services and victims of gun violence to his 6,920 Instagram followers. Partnering with even a micro-influencer can spread the word about your cause and events. 

GenZ marketing

Marked by their digital nativity and a strong sense of social justice, 

Gen Z, those born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s, are marked by their digital expertise and strong sense of social justice. These donors are emerging as a formidable force for nonprofits. They are often referred to as “philanthro-kids” and seek to make philanthropy a part of their legacy, favoring organizations that demonstrate transparency, impact, and a commitment to the causes they care about. 

To engage GenZers, nonprofits must ensure their online presence is active, engaging, and informative. Utilizing up-to-date, mobile-friendly donation forms, websites, and social media strategies is essential in capturing the attention of this new generation of givers. 

Asset-based donations: 

Those who prefer to make asset-based donations make up another segment of potential supporters. The concept of non-cash or asset-based donations is set to become a huge trend in 2024. This form of giving represents a largely untapped resource. Asset-backed donations could be anything from real estate and stocks to cryptocurrencies and antiques. Donors like this method because when you donate an asset, you avoid capital gains tax while contributing 100% of the contribution. 

Nonprofits are finding that non-cash assets appreciate in value. Consider this: the investment firm Charles Schwab reported that 86% of donations come in the form of cash/checks, but 89% of wealth is held in non-cash assets. Consider the Newgate School. This Minneapolis-based nonprofit works with at-risk adults to provide tuition-free automotive training and job placement throughout the area. While the school gladly accepts cash donations, their biggest request is for used car donations. Students use these cars to learn everything they need to know about auto body and mechanics. The cars are then sold with funds going back into the program. 

Embracing the nonprofit fundraising trends around unconventional donors isn’t easy, but it’s the way things are heading. The best place to start is by building relationships with influencers and GenZ donors. It also means educating yourself on your organization’s logistical capability to accept non-cash donations and how to get the best use out of them. 

Trend 5: Simplifying donations with digital payments

Someone making a payment with their cell

One of the most surefire ways to increase donations to your organization is to make donating easy. Even a single roadblock can give a potential donor second thoughts about where their money goes. It used to be that accepting credit cards was a huge step forward from the days of cash/check donations. Today, utilizing digital wallets is the way to access your donors’ minds and wallets. 

Digital wallets cover everything from Apple Pay to Venmo and beyond. According to a report by Forbes, 53% of Americans prefer digital wallets over traditional payment methods. They can simply tap with their phones and transfer money in an instant. This poll also found that 70% of people would make digital wallets their primary method for shopping, and 47% said they spend/give more when using digital payments. 

Why nonprofits should take note

For nonprofits, including digital wallet technology isn't just about keeping up with trends. It's about meeting donors where they are and making it easier to purchase tickets to an event, bid on an auction item, or give to a fundraising campaign. When supporters recognize payment options they trust, they're more likely to complete their donation, potentially leading to larger gifts and more consistent support.

The shift towards digital wallets is a transformative movement towards inclusivity and accessibility in giving. These modern giving platforms also make it easier for donors to create recurring donations. Justin Wheeler, CEO and Co-founder of Funraise, observes that as social interactions have increasingly moved online, so, too, has the act of giving. If your audience is moving to online/digital giving, your nonprofit organization needs to as well. 

A strategic approach to including modern nonprofit fundraising trends

When integrating the latest trends into your fundraising plan, the key is to find a balance between the new and the tried-and-true. No one is saying you have to ditch the ways of the past, but it might be time to look at ways to embrace the present. 

Here are a few pointers to guide you through selecting which nonprofit fundraising trends might work best for your organization, how to blend them with classic fundraising principles, and ways to create an environment that values adaptability and ongoing learning.

Choosing the right trends for your cause

Not every trend will fit your organization's goals or resonate with your supporters. Start by evaluating each trend's relevance to your mission and its potential impact on your fundraising efforts. Ask yourself: “Will adopting this trend help us connect more deeply with our audience? Can it enhance our fundraising capabilities?” If the answers lean towards a yes, it could be worth exploring further. 

Balance the old and the new

Innovation is vital for any organization, but so is holding onto the principles that form the backbone that got you started. For example, while digital wallets can simplify donations, personal relationships, and storytelling remain at the heart of successful fundraising campaigns. Some people still love to give cash or use a paper bid sheet at a silent auction. Strive for a blend that respects the familiarity of traditional methods while embracing the efficiencies and new opportunities provided by modern technology. A donor-centric approach, where you really get to know your audience and donors, helps drive the balance between old and new and meet donor expectations. 

Promoting flexibility and lifelong learning

Nonprofit fundraising trends are constantly shifting, making adaptability a key trait for any organization. Encourage your team to stay curious, experiment, and learn from successes and setbacks. Creating a culture that values continuous improvement can help your organization remain resilient and responsive to the evolving needs of your community and the broader philanthropic environment. Work with partners who share your desire for flexibility and ongoing education. 

Silent Auction Pro loves to help our users scratch their creative itches. That’s why our staff stays up to date on fundraising trends and is ready to coach you through any scenario. We host regular webinars, publish articles on our blog, and have an entire help center with information to help you get the most out of our platform. 

Bringing it all together with Silent Auction Pro

A close-up of five fists coming together,
								signifying teamwork

This year offers many opportunities to form deeper connections and increase donations. If keeping up with all of the new trends and practices in fundraising seems overwhelming, you’re in luck.

Silent Auction Pro is here to be your guide. Not only do we keep our fingers on the pulse of nonprofit growth and fundraising, but we also adapt our software to reflect the latest in nonprofit fundraising trends without tossing tried and true methods that still work. Whether you’re creating a huge sit-down dinner gala, informal cocktail party with games, online-only auction, or simple crowdfunding activity, we have the right tools and best support for you.

Of course, fundraising success isn’t just about following trends but making them work for your organization. Let us help you go from trying to keep up to leading the pack. Request a free demo today and see how Silent Auction Pro can advance your cause.

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Jim Donnell   |   President and Founder   |   Florida

24 years ago, Jim joined the Kiwanis Club of Tahoe City to help give back and meet people. Through his work with Kiwanis, Jim developed Silent Auction Pro to make nonprofit auctions and events easier, and more automated. For the last 24 years, Jim has been at the forefront of event management and auction software development. He has helped customers collectively raise over $1.3 million dollars for their charities and nonprofit organizations.

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