The following is a cross-post by Sally Boucher, CFRE, Director of Research for WealthEngine and manager of WealthEngine Institute, a knowledge center that provides fundraising practitioners research, education, networking and analysis of fundraising strategy. You can read the original post here.
When I started in fundraising in the 90’s, we did not have access to the internet from individual computer workstations. Email was an internal form of communication. Cell phones were the size of a chalkboard eraser, and decidedly not smart. There was no social media.
A lot has changed in the past 20 years, and it’s sometimes a struggle to keep up with the pace. With so many changes occurring and so much information to filter, it’s often hard to discern which thread to follow, which platform to adopt, or which trend will last. If you’re a nonprofit leader in 2013, and want to focus on three of the most important developments impacting nonprofits, keep reading.
- Data and analytics will become increasingly important for nonprofits in all areas of endeavor, and particularly within fundraising. Fundraisers will need to hone their quantitative skills in order to stay even with past fundraising successes, or better, continue to grow. Data science and analytic skill building will be an important focus for fundraising and nonprofit leaders.
As an example, one area of fundraising performance that is currently getting a lot of attention is donor retention/attrition. If your organization is seeking to implement strategies to improve retention rates, WealthEngine’s Growing Individual Gifts Workbook can help. We share metrics you should track, strategies to improve results, and methods to forecast outcomes. Additional resources include AFP’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project, and Getting Started With Data-Driven Decision Making, a new workbook from the nonprofit NTEN, which helps nonprofits develop analytic capacity.
- Social media and social environments will continue to change the way nonprofits relate to the world. Social media has ushered in a new era of communication that is constantly evolving and influencing organizations at every level. Nonprofits must adopt social media policies, organize teams to coordinate messaging across platforms and with traditional communications mediums, and continue the process of defining areas of responsibility for social media.
For a comprehensive look at social media in the nonprofit arena, WealthEngine’s white paper, The Social Revolution, is a must-read. It is filled with best practices for developing a social culture within your nonprofit, starting or growing your online communities, and how to engage and leverage your fans and followers for research, advocacy, fundraising and more. Other resources you might consider as you build a social presence are Beth Kanter’s blog and her newest book, Measuring the Social Nonprofit.
- Transparency and demonstrated effectiveness will separate the winners from the losers. Nonprofits that are able to showcase their impact, and maintain an honest, open and transparent posture with their constituents and the world will fare better in all areas of performance. Within fundraising, today’s donors and funders are likely to ask to see measures of impact and to seek meaningful involvement with an open and welcoming organization.
Hope Consulting and GuideStar teamed up to report research from surveys of over 10,000 affluent Americans. The resulting guidebook, More Money For More Good, has valuable information for nonprofits wishing to maximize their piece of the $300 billion Americans give to charity each year. The research shows that many donors would like to direct more of their giving to the nonprofits doing the most good. In fact, $15 billion in donations would be re-directed to the most impactful charities, if donors could discern which those were. Nonprofits wanting to know what information donors want, how they want to receive it, and how to connect with those donors, should read the report. It’s chock full of actionable strategies to help you attract your share of the $15 billion.
It may be too late for New Year’s resolutions, but if you want to help keep your nonprofit viable and on the path to greater effectiveness, resolve today to consider how you can take steps to:
- Increase your analytic capacity
- Improve your social media savvy
- Share your organization’s impact
Please share in the comment box resources you’ve found helpful to keep current with any of these trends.
Sally Boucher, CFRE is Director of Research for WealthEngine, located in Bethesda, Maryland. She is the primary author of several publications, including Best Practices for Prospect Research in Higher Education Fundraising, Growing Individual Gifts: An Analytic Approach to Data-Driven Success and Fundraising’s Social Revolution: How Social Media is Changing Nonprofit Culture and Practice. Sally has provided fundraising and nonprofit management consulting services to non-profit organizations including disaster relief, faith-based and arts organizations. She often shares her knowledge via webinars and at various speaking engagements and conferences with AFP, CASE, APRA, and AHP.