Since you liked our seven trends for 2016 so much, we decided to do it again this year! So, we’re taking a shot at predicting the seven trends for 2017 that nonprofits should focus on the most. If we were to sum up our seven trends in just a few words, they’d be — simple, social and strategic. We hope you find these helpful and welcome your thoughts on other trends to look for in 2017.
1. Focus on quality, not quantity of content
The days of slapping up blog posts and other content all willy-nilly-like for content’s sake are over.
Consumers of content aren’t willing to accept low-quality content, and in fact, will walk away from a brand that doesn’t invest the time and effort in creating thoughtful, engaging content.
We’re talking content that speaks their language, meets their needs and provides value. So, don’t just phone in the content in 2017. Build a strong content marketing strategy with your audience’s needs in mind.
2. Increased value of a Snapchat presence
Snapchat is now the third most popular app among millennials. Wait there’s more (infomercial voice)! 60% of all smartphone users are active on the app.
So, if your organization is trying to engage millennials (and who isn’t?), then Snapchat is the obvious choice. And, if your primary audience is women, then the fact that 70% of Snapchat users are women should be of interest to you.
The key, though, is not just creating a Snapchat account. You need to feed it, water it and find out what works and what doesn’t for your organization. The reason people like Snapchat is because it’s organic. Don’t ask for donations or openly promote fundraising events. Use Snapchat to show a behind-the-scenes view of your organization.
3. Increased use of Facebook Live and other live video
Live streaming is the new video blog post. Based on our experience, views on live streaming both during and after the fact are incredibly strong.
And, it doesn’t have to be an elaborate production. Simple live streaming shots of our team wrapping gifts and showing the preparation of a video shoot we were working on garnered views into the thousands. They were just simple iPhone videos of us doing the work we do every day.
Plus, you’re killing two birds (poor birds!) with one stone by creating both live and archived, shareable content for marketing and fundraising efforts.
4. Revival of print newsletters
Bet you didn’t see this one coming. But with all the competition and noise online, the trusty print newsletter is breaking through and gaining renewed respect and use among nonprofits.
And, with printing prices coming down and database accuracy improving, it’s now more affordable to go old school with your communications.
According to the Direct Mail Association, the response rate for direct mail is significantly higher than digital. Direct mail achieves a 3.7% response rate, while all digital channels combined only achieve a 0.62% response rate. So, it’s definitely worth exploring whether or not going old school will work for you.
5. Continued move to simple design
This was one of our predictions for 2016, and it proved to be true. We think the trend will continue into 2017 as consumers like their content lean and mean.
From basic website construction to even more dependence on infographics, nonprofits can take advantage of this trend by telling their stories in stripped down and easy-to-digest bites. Give consumers a chance to breathe and take in your information.
Don’t overwhelm them with ideas, suggestions and content. Keep it simple, and your nonprofit will see the benefits. “Less is more” should be your motto this year.
6. All-hands-on-deck fundraising approach
Directors and other nonprofit leaders are seeing the value of engaging staff, volunteers and board members in all aspects of fundraising. They’re taking the time to train and equip them with tools to be ambassadors and de facto fundraisers.
Fundraising is no longer only the director of development’s job. It’s the responsibility of every team member. So, be intentional about arming your team with the tools they need to represent your organization well.
Even if this means simply encouraging them to share your social media posts to increase the reach and engagement of your posts!
7. Funders will give larger gifts to fewer organizations
Increasingly, givers want to go deeper with the nonprofits they’re invested in and see a marked difference on the causes they care about. Givers are more judicious about where their benevolent dollars go, looking closely at impact metrics, organizational management and stewardship of resources.
So, focus on donor cultivation this year. Even givers you might not designate as high-capacity could become your most significant givers over time. Work to win more of your givers benevolent dollars, show them the impact their giving has and invite them to write themselves into the realization of your mission.