What’s Trending for Nonprofits in 2017

January 11, 2017

2017 Nonprofit Trends
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

While many of us are grateful for the end of 2016, 2017 is an opportunity to turn over a new leaf and fight for the many important nonprofit missions that serve and sustain our communities. 2017 will see both an expansion of useful technologies as well as a return to the basics which build and elevate the authentic relationships between nonprofits and their supporters.

So what’s in store for nonprofits over the course of the the upcoming year? Read on!


Email marketing is making big a comeback.

Social media, the hottest trend of the last decade, is expected to take a back seat in 2017. With its “declining engagement and reach” across platforms over the course of 2016, traditional email marketing, on the other hand, is on the upswing. Emails still have very high open rates (56%), and are the number one activity people do with their smartphones. Nonprofits, therefore, will need to refocus their fundraising efforts toward building effective email marketing strategies.

As more emails are opened on mobile devices than on any other kind of device, consideration of mobile optimization will continue to be paramount.

Recurring donations are the way of the future.

Donations made on a sustaining basis are on their way to becoming the new norm for nonprofit giving. There are many benefits to having a sustaining gift program — if your nonprofit is not already setup with an effective fundraising platform, 2017 is the year to start with a robust and flexible way to receive recurring donations and maintain crucial, loyal relationships with your donors.

P2P persists as an essential fundraising tool for any growing nonprofit.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) campaigns are a great way to raise a significant amount of funds. Moreover, they allow your supporters to get personally involved and invested, at little cost. In 2017, consider organizing a P2P event campaign, which can include runs, walks, cycling, parties, and social media campaigns like the Ice Bucket Challenge. P2P campaigns have the potential to go viral and achieve a lot with little resources. Read more about creative and unique P2P campaign ideas for your nonprofit.

We will see a rise in mobile payments.

Digital payment options are on the rise with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay. These in-app and and online payment systems allow users to make purchase with the tap of a finger, with all credit card information already stored on hand. We may see this kind of mobile wallet technology used to empower nonprofit fundraising over the course of this next year. Additionally, there are continuously innovative methods for accepting payments through social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, which may open the door for nonprofits to fundraise in new and various ways.

We will return to humanity in 2017.

While the plethora of current and incoming technology expands nonprofits’ abilities to fundraise creatively, a feeling of authenticity and human connection is what will make your nonprofit stand out from the rest, as well as encourage donors to come back. While it is important to utilize these new tools, do so with personal consideration. If you have important donors, go the extra mile and give them a phone call or a handwritten letter and ask for their feedback. Keep your relationships authentic, and ensure that your staff and organizational structure is cohesive, enthusiastic, and on board with your mission. An emphasis on effective storytelling will continue to be one of the most important strategies for your nonprofit in 2017. This personal touch will give your nonprofit a real competitive edge in maintaining crucial connections in our technology-saturated world.

What lessons did your nonprofit learn over the course of the past year? What strategies do you plan to implement for 2017? Share with us in the comments below.

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