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Fundraising Trends and the Implications for Data Analytics

23-Sep-2019 9:17:00 AM / by John Paul de Silva

[ 3 minute read ]

This blog post was inspired by the webinar "5 Trends Shaping the Future of Fundraising in 2020" as presented by Monica Finch and Barrett Frankel of Classy.


Justin Trudeau at Pride Toronto - Photo by Joseph Costa on Unsplash1. The Effect of Elections on Causes and Fundraising

One of the big trends mentioned was "The Resurgence of the 'Election Effect'". Although the points raised were in reference to the upcoming American election, there are definitely implications toward the current Canadian federal election as well. After the 2016 American Presidential election, there was a surge in recurring subscription initiations especially to civil rights, social action, and advocacy organizations. Elections, in general, tend to bring out sentiment toward non-profits as policy issues such as affordable housing, healthcare, and employment tend to be at the forefront of political platforms. Besides fundraising surges around election time, there is an opportunity to increase volunteerism as people get more engaged with the causes in the spotlight. Further, there's an opportunity to add to the online conversations around social issues that's buzzing as election night approaches. The flipside, however, is that there's more noise on social media so standing out will be especially more challenging.

The implication for data management and analysis is tracking how well your social media messaging is performing amongst the noise, where are the areas of improvement, and how will you translate online efforts into volunteerism and fundraising results.

2. Experiential Giving

One trend identified by Classy is "The Rise of Giving Experiences." While giving tends to be a high-touch personal and emotional decision, electronic devices open up the possibility of online channels. For example, virtual and augmented reality devices are being used to connect people around the world. For example, a donor in Victoria British Columbia can see in real time how their donor dollars are being used to build a school in a Ugandan village. The Classy staff cautions, however, for charities to test the virtual reality gear before a wide roll out as some people have got motion sickness from the experience! There's mostly positive feedback, however. An alternative is to provide streaming video of programs for various stakeholders to experience the work being done.

Voluntourism, kind of like being a volunteer and tourist at the same time, is another giving experience that is being bolstered by companies such as Airbnb. Check out a new country across the world while helping out a community in need. The Classy staff cautions, however, that this may result in "Western saviour complex" where voluntourists provide short-term benefits but don't engage with the cause in the long-term.

Another trend identified by Classy is "The Concept of Integrated Giving Empowering Everyday Donors" but this feels like a sub-set of "giving experiences. An example of integrated giving is a charity partnering with Uber so that riders could donate on top of their fare toward the cause. Or how about giving donors the opportunity to verbally give money through Amazon's Alexa platform?

The implication for data management and analysis is first determining which of these giving experiences is most appropriate for your cause. In order to do that, you need to know your donor base well enough that you're certain that a virtual reality experience versus partnering with Uber provides the better return-on-investment. Second, you need to analyze the effect of implementing the giving experience strategy. It could be as simple as counting the number of dollars that comes from the new strategy but it's not that simple. Suppose a rider learned about your cause through Uber but didn't donate on top of the fare. They did, however, check out your website and subscribed to your newsletter.  Then, several months after that fateful ride, the rider went to your annual gala and donated $1000. More sophisticated data collection and analysis can connect the gala donation to the Uber ride.

Regardless of which trends come up, charities still need a solid data management strategy in place to understand which trends align best with their target audience and to analyze the results of their efforts.

Tags: AI, nonprofits, dataanalytics, social media, marketing strategy, big data, virtualreality, voluntourism, Experiential, #3minuteread

John Paul de Silva

Written by John Paul de Silva

Hopeful Inc.'s Director of Marketing