10 Fundraising Predictions for 2012

Thanks to the suggestion of Joanne Fritz from the Nonprofit Blog Carnival for this great topic…here are my predictions for fundraising in 2012. You can read more predictions on the Nonprofit Blog Carnival on January 2, 2012!

  1. Social media will continue to have an ever increasing role on our fundraising capacity. However, it will be those organizations who are able to engage and convert those advocates and volunteers into donors who will truly move the benchmarks. Social media can and should be used for cultivation, solicitation and stewardship. Better use of behavioral data will help us segment and message better – tell the right story to the right person at the right time. And avoid the donors as ATMs mentality.
  2. Executive leadership in our sector is going to change. Daring to Lead has repeatedly researched and reported on the plans for executives to leave their organizations in the next two to five years. And they have not made succession plans or talked to the Board of Directors.
  3. Accountability of staff will become more rigorous. As the sector begins to hire again, staff will need to clearly show their value to the fundraising team. Calling the same donors over and over doesn’t count. What is the plan to proactively maintain, upgrade and seek new prospects and covert them into donors?
  4. Same same won’t work anymore – in direct mail, major gifts or capital campaigns. There is no box – we are working in a growing circle of influence. How we do our work has to change. Those organizations who are innovating and pushing fundraising in new directions are schooling those using the same methods they used even five or ten years ago.
  5. Professional development has to keep up and as professionals we have to continue to learn (see above). We need to continually look for learning opportunities that take us out of comfort zones, learn from people we don’t know, take example outside of the sector apply them to our work.
  6. Infrastructure is even more important than ever before. This is still an issue for some organizations. If we can’t appropriately track our prospects and donors – again, those organizations who can, will be successful. Survival of the fittest applies here. To track behavior and giving we must work smarter not harder.
  7. Video will kill the static website. We must tell stories much better than ever before. And fortunately we live in 2011, when flip cams, iPhones and many other tools are readily available to share the stories by and of those we serve. Content still trumps production value. Just do it.
  8. Stewardship as a profession and regular, sustained activity is coming into it own. Thanking a donor never goes out of style – old school via hard copy and phone as well as a sincere email note. Stewardship takes thanks to the next level.
  9. Volunteering will include engagement in real life and online. Champions for the sector will raise awareness and money through their online and offline networks to raise awareness and money. We need to be prepared to meet them where they are.
  10. The 2012 US Presidential election will cause some donors and volunteers to shift their focus. Nonprofit organizations and the sectors ability to advocate to Congress will refocus their efforts. They will realize nonprofits have a voice and can make a difference to those elected to public office to serve along side us.

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