Feb 18, 2023

Top 8 Fundraising Trends for 2023

fundraising trends for 2022

Raising awareness about your organization is the first step to creating a successful, meaningful fundraising campaign. To see an increase in donor retention rates and loyalty to your cause, your nonprofit needs to design a positive experience. Staying abreast of market trends, methods, and fundraising tactics is an excellent way to get donors to remain in touch with your organization.

2023’s Top Fundraising Trends

If it seems challenging to spread the word about your campaigns, consider implementing some new ways to get your organization or charity on the radar. We did our research to determine the top eight fundraising trends to look out for in 2023. 


1. The Rise of Social Media 

what medium most influences you to give charity?

Compared to other avenues, social media is a low-cost, high-impact outreach tool for nonprofit organizations and charities. In our research questions about communication mediums that influence respondents to give to charity, 15.6% of people said social media was more effective as an influence to donate. This percentage is considerably higher than the remaining methods — 5.07% for mail, 2.25% for email, 1.17% for text messaging, and 0.69% for phone calls as preferred mediums of donor influence.

Social media has always been an excellent marketing tool, and its use has grown astronomically in the past few years. About 72% of the public say they use at least one type of social media.

This research indicates social media accounts can be a popular choice for spreading a message because of their wide audience. Social media marketing is a trend with staying power, as organizations can share news and promote their mission online even on a shoestring budget.

Here are the top benefits of implementing social media outreach for your nonprofit:

  • Building a connection with your target audience and demographics who find value in your cause
  • Prioritizing platforms that meet your goals and needs
  • Simplifying your fundraiser’s reach through comments, likes, and shares at no cost
  • Creating content with a focus on personalization
  • Attracting new donors and maintaining engagement for existing donors
  • Enabling participation from the entire community
  • Growing your network with interactive content 
  • Choose from several platforms to raise awareness about your fundraiser and draw in potential long-term donors, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Clubhouse

Consider which tools will offer the most effective reach with the relevant demographic you are trying to appeal to. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on any emerging platforms that can provide fresh opportunities for marketing your fundraiser and organizational mission.

You’ll want to have enough time to dedicate to each platform and communicate with users, so try to keep your social media accounts limited to the apps and websites that truly fit your organization.


2. Personalized Experiences for Donors

Another popular trend for 2023 is to consider why donors care and give generously. Every donor has a passion and purpose for remaining a part of your mission. However, it’s easy treat donors as a bank without considering their reasons for giving. Raising awareness about your organization through fundraisers is a perfect opportunity to educate new and existing donors on how they can support your cause.

When crafting communications, focus on the donor’s experience. Why are they interested in supporting your cause? What opportunity do you have to open their hearts? Instead of creating fund-focused messages, communicate in a way that connects donors to your organization.

Here is one of the ways you can adapt to new trends — shifting your approach to reaching and connecting with donors can take the focus off money and place it on your appreciation for their involvement. With a personalized experience, donors can also choose how they prefer to engage and communicate with your organization, which is an excellent way to empower them.

For example, you can include opt-in permissions for subscriptions and other services that allow donors to choose their communication preferences. While some donors want instant updates and text-to-donate capabilities, others may prefer less frequent program updates or only want to hear about specific events or fundraisers. Donors who are adept at social media navigation may engage entirely on your organization’s platform.

Customize interactions with your donors, sponsors, and supporters based on their intent, lifestyle, and communication preferences. There’s much to learn by looking at your specific donor base.

3. Supportive Work Atmosphere

Every organization should focus on having happy staff members. A well-rounded organization includes flexible hours and reasonable compensation for those who bring your mission to life. A negative work environment can adversely affect your ability to maintain success and see your desired growth, so to treat your employees, volunteers, and staff as precious resources.

Your organization may even see more productivity when staff members feel comfortable coming forward with concerns and suggestions while advancing and developing their skills. Try to provide support in any way you can, such as holding regular meetings, creating a suggestion box or separate email for comments, and maintaining regular check-ins with your devoted workers.

Ensure your staff has access to wellness and mindfulness resources to set them up for success when working toward new goals. Your team may even present you with new trends or ideas other organizations follow to boost your productivity and donor engagement.

4. Diverse Teams 

As with any company or organization, diversity is essential. While diversity itself is not a trend, it is an integral part of any nonprofit’s success. Your team makeup reflects your organization’s values. Renew and invest in your efforts to best mirror your constituent base and community.

Diversifying your team will help diversify your donors and supporters. Show how inclusion and equity are a priority for your mission. Ensuring your team embraces diversity will also help empower your staff and make them feel like valued members of your organization.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies can change your overall organizational structure. Many donors will appreciate your commitment to diversity and feel connected to your cause, helping you access new donor communities. As a nonprofit, it’s your job to serve your community and ensure your workplace represents everyone — which is essential for attracting and retaining team members and donors alike.

Here are some ways to implement diversity to succeed in your nonprofit.

  • Connect visitors and donors to your cause through research, data, and success stories.
  • Enhance your commitment to DEI by setting new diversity goals aligned with your community.
  • Regularly remind your supporters of the importance of diversity and authenticity.
  • Give donors of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to shine and support them within your organization.
  • Empower your team with tools that track diversity initiatives and outcomes.
  • Use data and other resources to uncover the diversity of your donor base.
  • Be aware of holidays across all backgrounds and customize your communication to fit those celebrations.
diversity as a means to success

5. The Importance of SEO 

Strong SEO is invaluable for any organization, especially for online awareness and fundraising. Many donors conduct independent research to find events, campaigns, or organizations that match their passions and personal giving goals. In fact, 38.7% of respondents to our survey said they were most inclined to give to a charity based on their independent research. It was the most influential medium.

Even if your website content aligns with what relevant donors are looking for, they may never even come across your campaign. With SEO, your nonprofit will rank higher in online searches from generic or specific keywords. For example, if your animal organization is in Chicago, a donor could find you through a “Chicago nonprofit animal rescue” search.

Improved SEO is an excellent way to boost your engagement and participant interaction, particularly for online donations. When your social media platforms and website description cover the SEO bases relating to your mission, donors can easily find you and connect with your campaign.

Combine SEO with optimized technical features to ensure a smooth experience for navigation and donations. A well-designed and easily visible website will be more effective for raising awareness about your nonprofit.

Here are some added benefits of SEO on your websites and platforms.

  • Helps you raise awareness: People who later become donors will often search for a social cause to learn more about it. If your website is among the first results, you will gain more visibility and attract relevant traffic. Nonprofit SEO effectively spreads your message and aligns your online content with your organizational goals. 
  • Increases traffic: Ranking higher in search engine results means more visitors will see and share your website. This increased traffic will put your nonprofit on the map and bring in more donors who are searching for a cause like yours. 
  • Boosts your credibility and reputation: Regularly improving your website content provides the perfect opportunity to work with evolving strategies in your organization. Your SEO content will reflect any updates in your campaign, keeping the public informed and building your nonprofit’s reputation. Publishing authoritative, well-researched links relevant to your cause can answer any questions donors and visitors might have. Sharing your knowledge will exhibit your expertise as a nonprofit. 
  • Extends your campaigns’ run: SEO offers a cost-effective way to advertise throughout the year if you have a regularly occurring fundraising campaign. For example, you might run a Giving Tuesday campaign each November. SEO can put your page at the top of the search results when donors start their research, which may begin days, weeks, or even months ahead of time. Of the $7.8 million our partners raised for Giving Tuesday 2022, over $600,000 came in before the day itself.

6. Positive Relationships with Donors 

Successful fundraising encompasses more than increasing your participants and donors. Remember, donor retention is more relevant than the number of donors you acquire. You must maintain donor loyalty with the same vitality and clear communication they received when they first signed on to your organization.

Rather than putting your entire focus on gaining new donors, consider shifting it to ensuring your existing donors feel inspired and engaged with your organization.

While it’s crucial to use different strategies to attract new donors to your cause, steady gains of loyal supporters are more meaningful than fleeting donations.

Think about how vital it is for donors to form long-term connections and relationships with a cause they are passionate about. Donors who want to understand your mission will start conversations and significantly contribute to the purpose that drives them to put their time and energy into your nonprofit.

One way to help maintain positive relationships with your donors is to periodically check their files and information to determine which donors can give and which ones may be experiencing challenging situations. Some donors may continue to give regardless of their economic circumstances, so you must give that commitment back to them and show them you value their partnership.

Here are some ways you can boost your donor relationships in 2023:

  • Take every opportunity to emphasize your nonprofit’s mission and show you are making progress to impact change.
  • Customize and optimize your donation platforms to allow opt-in options for sharing sensitive information and subscriptions.
  • Offer peer-to-peer fundraising events, virtual volunteering programs, and other means for donors to participate in your campaigns.
  • Invest in nonprofit tools, such as fundraising software, that help you draw insights about your participants and donors.
  • Create automated emails to ensure donors only receive important, relevant updates and information.
  • Enhance the security capabilities of your data collection tools and other platforms that hold donor information.

No matter how you decide to enhance your relationship with your donors, focus on creating an experience they’ll want to share with others. Enticing your donors to talk about your campaign by word of mouth is one of the best ways to spread the word, as our research shows word of mouth is the second-highest preferred method — with 36.51% — that influence people to give to charity. 

7. Organizational Agility

Organizational agility is similar to the concept of businesses needing to stay competitive. The inability to adapt to a constantly changing environment is detrimental to your nonprofit’s success. Renewing your traditional methods and transforming your usual means of outreach to new fundraising trends can help your mission maintain its growth and engagement.

renewing your traditional methods

Preparing for the unexpected is perhaps the most important skill to implement this upcoming year. If you have many exciting events, raffles, galas, or meetings scheduled, come up with contingency plans in case of potential event changes. It’s also wise to keep participants, donors, and supporters in the loop with clear communication and any change of plan with your attendees.

Being prepared for anything also includes developing new strategies, tools, and revenue streams to empower your team regardless of circumstances. After all, organizational agility requires everyone’s participation — including leaders, board members, donors, and executives — to ensure long-term stability.

Here are some ways to implement organizational agility and remain nimble in the face of challenges this upcoming year may bring:

  • Regularly remind your team members and donors about your organization’s goal and mission.
  • Invest in fundraising event management software that offers the right solutions for your goals.
  • Confirm your online donation forms have multiple flexible payment options.
  • Stay proactive in your plans and strategies to combat unforeseen challenges.
  • Consistently evaluate which processes work and look to the past to see which have failed.
  • Ensure all events, meetings, and communication channels remain accessible to all attendees.
  • Gather insights about your website traffic, donors’ preferred fundraising types, and giving methods.

Staying one step ahead can help ensure your sustainability even through the most challenging times, so don’t be afraid to implement new trends that will help you become more flexible. Feel free to embrace change if what you’re doing right now isn’t guiding your organization down the right path.

8. Virtual and Hybrid Events

In the last few years, many meetings and events have shifted to rely on technology. Creating virtual or hybrid meetings, events and activities is a great way to get donors involved in multiple ways. With virtual meetings, everyone will connect through an online platform.

With hybrid meetings, some people may prefer to stream from their home, office, or other location, while others attend in person. Either way, both options enable donors to interact with your mission in any way that suits them.

Many donors may have a busy schedule but still want to support your organization, so giving them several ways to get engaged shows them you understand their needs. While some donors can still make it in person, they may prefer to conduct meetings from the comfort of their homes. Hybrid events let you support donors who need or want to join from home while taking advantage of the current interest in ticketing, raffle, and live auction events. 

Implementing livestreaming platforms also allows you to connect with donors no matter where they are, keeping communication open and nurturing their interest in your cause. While it may take an adjustment period, this new trend will show its value. Enhancing live events, lunches, galas, committee meetings and fundraisers with virtual and hybrid options for donors and organizational staff will provide many benefits over time, such as:

  • Increasing ease and means of access and reach for donors.
  • Reducing costs associated with booking venues, hotels, catering, and travel. 
  • Widening geographical limits to allow organizations to interact with new sponsors and donors. 
  • Enabling more efficient design, creation, and scheduling of virtual fundraisers, marathons, and raffles.
2023 focus

Shifting Focus for 2023

Charitable giving starts with an emotional response, from a sense of duty to a need for belonging to the desire to make a difference. Those emotional roots can make donor behavior challenging to predict — charities might experience shifts due to anything from the news cycle to personal life events. 

While we may not be able to guess their motivations, we can get an idea of what causes will likely draw donor attention in 2023. We’ve tracked the most popular, growing, and declining charities by their average monthly search volume. Here are the results.

Most popular charities

The following were the three most-searched charitable categories: 

  • Catholic charities had 135,000 searches.
  • Water charities had 14,800 searches.
  • Ukraine charities had 5,400 searches.

However, these categories aren’t as clear-cut as they might seem. For example, three Catholic charities — Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and Catholic Medical Mission Board — also received enough private donations to appear in the top 50 of Forbes’ America’s Top 100 Charities. Despite being faith-based organizations, the list categorizes them under “Domestic Needs” and “International Needs” rather than “Religious.”

Most growing charities

Seeing how potential donors’ searches have changed since last year can also help predict fundraising trends for 2023. Let’s take a look at which groups have experienced the most search growth.

  • Ukraine charities: With the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war, searches for Ukraine charities grew by 26,900% from 2021 to 2022.
  • Catholic charities: Searches for Catholic charities experienced 23% growth.
  • Charities that help single mothers: Searches for charities benefiting single mothers grew by 22%.
  • Veterans’ charities: Charities focused on aiding veterans, like Wounded Warrior Project, saw 21% more searches.

Most declining charities

Just as some causes are drawing more attention, others are seeing lower search volumes:

  • Christmas charities had 46% fewer searches.
  • Mental health charities had 21% fewer searches. 
  • Water charities had 18% fewer searches.
  • Environmental charities had 12% fewer searches. 
fundraising campaigns

Enhance Your Fundraising Campaigns with GiveSmart 

Regardless of your nonprofit’s mission, it’s important to keep track of emerging trends to see where you can improve. As an organization that serves your community, you can access various tools and resources that help get your campaign off the ground and in line with donors who share your passion. 

With GiveSmart, you can hold virtual and hybrid fundraising events, manage your campaigns and gain insights into your supporters and nonprofit performance. 

When you’re ready to successfully implement these trends in your organization, GiveSmart can help you along the rest of the way. Schedule a demo today to see how our software can make your organization’s online platform a seamless experience for your participants. 

virtual and hybrid fundraising


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