Digital fundraising trends for 2021

Nothing better to start the year than taking stock, looking up and turning on the high beams. Global trends affect us much more than we think. Being clear about the big picture and the evolution of digital audiences will help us with our projects for the new year.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a huge challenge to nonprofits. The economy has entered in a very deep recession that we do not know if it will last in time or give way to a rapid recovery in some parts of the world.

This poses a difficult scenario for the third sector, since economic recessions have historically meant a decrease in donations. But 2020 has also shown that the sector is versatile and resilient. Although restrictions on social interaction have caused the cancellation of events and face-to-face fundraising actions that are essential for the generation of resources, non-profit organizations are evolving to strengthen their digital channel. The determination and courageous attitude of many entities in the face of change, is allowing them to maintain and increase relationships with their social base and donors.

In 2021 we think that this digital transformation process will be consolidated. In addition, in this post, we will detail the digital marketing trends expected for 2021, and how they can influence the relationship between organizations and audiences. Perhaps COVID-19 has made it more present to us but we already knew that the only thing that does not change in life is that everything changes.


Virtual relationships

Physical events raise resources, allow organizations to engage with supporters, and form an essential element in building relationships with their audiences. Furthermore, face-to-face has been one of the main channels for attracting new donors for the majority of third sector entities in Spain. But, in 2020, it has been practically impossible to continue the activity of this channels, and this limitation has had a significant impact on fundraising.

The absence of physical events has caused many third sector organizations to turn to the organization of virtual events. And everything seems to indicate that this trend will consolidate in 2021.

Virtual events have many advantages in terms of cost reduction, exceeding attendance limits or geographical barriers and ease of participation, but they do not generate the same sensation of human warmth and bonding as physical events. In addition, they are difficult to monetize since in a physical event people are used to paying a ticket, while in a virtual one this is more difficult to achieve.

We believe that virtual events are here to stay. And that the trend that started in 2020 will also cause the growth of hybrid events that combine the best of both worlds. They allow you to simultaneously have in-person and virtual assistants, comply with social distancing restrictions (which, even with the arrival of the vaccine, will be maintained for a long period of time) and maintain the element of personal relationship so useful to strengthen the relationship with the social base.

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More presence on social media to increase scope and video format

Social media platforms are widely used by nonprofits to communicate with their social base and reach new audiences. In 2021, this activity will intensify on the most popular networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But in addition, it will begin to invest in digital advertising to complement organic growth strategies and the use of videos of less than 1 minute in length, produced and designed for networks, will be extended. Is predicted that in 2022, online video will generate more than 80% of Internet traffic.

In addition, entities that are not doing so yet will start using the functionalities for direct collection offered by various social media platforms. And the use of the “stories” function will increase, which is growing in impact and use by brands, consistent with the hegemony of mobile and audiovisual.

It is not very clear that third sector entities enter and start using platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok because, at the moment, they do not offer an interesting audience and type of interaction for fundraising.


The importance of data and lead generation

The increase in digital activity is generating great concern about ethics in the processing of personal data. And this trend will increase in the future. People expect their data to be protected and they want to know how it is used. In addition, regulations are increasingly restrictive in terms of the ability of organizations to keep and use them. Therefore, in 2021 protecting the privacy of the people who interact with us on the digital channel will be even more important.

On the other hand, non-profit entities have discovered that capturing leads through the digital channel is an extraordinary tool to grow and improve their capacity to attract resources. And this will be one of the strategic lines that will increase its relative weight within the mix of fundraising actions of organizations.

The increase in the volume and sources of data that organizations will experience will make them need to rethink their information systems. They will need to integrate different environments and specific tools to manage the relationship with their social base such as CRM applications (Customer Relationship Management).


More opportunities with brands

Digital consumption is making brands increase his public position on big issues of social justice, sustainability, and ethics. The digital consumer is a more informed, proactive consumer who is shopping more consciously and has power over where and how they spend their money. And this type of consumer expects brands to do more than just public relations. He hopes that they are consistent, that they are transformative, that they do not turn their back on social problems. In this way, brand positions are increasingly explicit and resounding in the area of corporate social responsibility.

Third sector entities will take advantage of this growing receptivity of brands to establish agreements that allow them to increase the capture of private resources and raise awareness in society with the great challenges that lie ahead.


Well trained for the future

2020 has shown that entities have a great capacity for adaptation and resistance. And it has also caused them to start, or accelerate, in their digital transformation process, especially significant in terms of communication and digital fundraising. 2021 gives us the opportunity to take advantage of this circumstance and take a definitive step towards digital that will bring us many good news and benefits: it will facilitate the relationship between entities and the social base, it will help to improve processes and reduce costs, it will allow to establish new ways of fundraising…

The strange year that we have passed has been a hard training, exhausting on many occasions, but it has also made entities face 2021 with much greater capacity for innovation, resilience, professionalisation, versatility, solvency… Innovation is the constant that makes organisations adapt to the times and evolve or, on the contrary, stagnate and lose themselves in irrelevance. If the environment improves with the arrival of the vaccine, we have reasons to hope.