Sep 22, 2021

5 Hot Fall Fundraising Trends


It’s the middle of summer, and though we still have some time until fall, that doesn’t mean we can’t start talking about the exciting fundraising trends headed our way. After a year of virtual and socially distanced events and at-home appeals, we can expect a vibrant fall season colored by the new technologies that took hold during the 2020 lockdown. 

Here are five of the hottest trends you’ll want to incorporate into your fundraising plans right away:

1. Mobile Responsiveness

If you ventured out to eat during the pandemic, you may have noticed many restaurants have given up printed menus in favor of QR codes diners can scan to read the menu and even order their meals. This means that much of your donor base has become accustomed to using their smartphones to interact with the world around them over the past 18 months. So, now is the perfect time to consider digital response for your nonprofit. Try using QR codes or text message keywords to provide your donors with information, special opportunities or ways to give.

2. Snail Mail

More than ever, people are spending lots of time at home. Your nonprofit can tap into this with physical touch points such as postcards, to bring a little cheer into someone’s home. For the past 20 years, many nonprofit and for-profit companies have been moving away from direct mail and into email which has led to a glut of email in all our inboxes. A simple, well-done, sail mail piece can go a long way to help you connect with your donors—especially millennials and Gen-Z. Yes, people under 40 also love direct mail*.  Make sure to make your call-to-action mobile responsive–even though people like getting mail, returning an envelope is a practice that is not likely to resurge anytime soon.

3. Concise Messaging

Although direct mail is trending, digital outreach is here to stay. Short video content is particularly hot right now. The trend, initiated by TikTok and adapted by Instagram, will continue to move up the popularity scale, and not only among the younger target groups. If you choose to dip your toes into video content, make sure to keep content short. According to research, videos that are an average of 26 seconds receive the most comments on Instagram.** The focus on brevity should also roll over to your printed, email and online content. In these channels, keep your messaging short and sweet and use bullet points where you can. According to one study, the ideal length of an email is between 50 and 125 words!

4. Contactless Payments

While people may be starting to leave their houses more this fall, they are still going to remain cautious about germ transmission. That makes now the perfect time to try a contactless payment system at your fundraising events. Instead of sharing a pen with their neighbors to fill out a pledge card or swiping their credit cards on a machine that hundreds of others have used, your donors can pull out their personal smartphone and make their gift. You can also use contactless payments for raffle tickets, food and beverages and anything else for which your organization needs to collect payments.

5. Multiple Social Media Channels

Just a few years ago, social media fundraising was synonymous with Facebook. But, as Facebook faces increased legal scrutiny and controversy, the platform is beginning to fall out of favor for users. For nonprofits—especially smaller ones that cannot afford a robust social media team—it is becoming harder and harder to generate engagement with donors on Facebook. Users see between 1% and 5% of the content that is available to them on Facebook. That makes it increasingly expensive to generate enough engagement to increase awareness about your nonprofit. Now is the time to explore other platforms where you may be able to get more return on your outreach investment. Being able to increase organic reach on a variety of social media channels may go a long way to cement your nonprofit’s profile in your community and around the world.

These five hot trends are simple to put into action and should help your nonprofit build upon any recent success so you can continue to grow your mission. Don’t miss the opportunity to bring in more new donors and build meaningful relationships with your audience with these few actions this upcoming fall season.


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