4 trends to know for the year-end giving season

shutterstock_1180971415With Giving Tuesday in the books, the holiday and year-end giving season is officially here. This is a vital time for fundraising and development professionals at nonprofits and schools.

That’s why it’s a good opportunity to review the latest trends impacting donors and the gifts they're making.

Read on for a look at four important trends that will make a difference for the year-end giving season. You’ll get insights on engaging millennials, communications, appeal strategy, and donation methods.

Millennials are interested in monthly gifts

It seems that in every industry there’s talk about how to best engage millennials. Fundraising and advancement are no exception, where we can bet you’ve spent time trying to decide how to target and steward those born from 1981-1997. Millennials now make up more than 25% of the population, so finding the best ways to interest them in your year-end giving campaigns is crucial.

A big trend to note is that millennials are frequently interested in monthly giving, with 40% currently enrolled in a recurring donation program. This is understandable given their typical financial situation, where they may not have big savings in the bank to draw from, but do have some disposable income to contribute each month. Given this, make sure to promote your recurring giving options in your appeals to millennials at the year-end.

Social media is the leader in driving donations

There are a variety of tactics that organizations use to promote donations at the year-end. This includes direct mail, email, radio advertising, and more. But now, the main driver for giving has become social media.

This year, 29% of donations originate from a social media post, just ahead of email, which brings in 27% of gifts. That means that LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram should all be key channels you use for your year-end giving appeals.

Remember to note that your social campaigns don’t all need to be identical, as different social networks reach different audiences. Instagram may appeal to younger demographics than Facebook, for example, while advancement departments will find many alumni donors on LinkedIn.

Incentives can help (a bit) for year-end giving

Many organizations debate the power of offering incentives for donors. For example, some will offer a physical gift like a t-shirt or stuffed animal for donations above a certain amount. New data can help evaluate how effective these types of incentives are. The answer: rewards and gifts help, but only to a degree.

The latest information suggests that 20% of donors are influenced by gift offers when making a donation. That’s a notable amount, but still, 80% say that an incentive would not make a difference to them. That suggests that it may be worthwhile to offer rewards, but only if it is above a high donation threshold or does not cost your organization too much to produce and ship.

Online giving is now the preferred method

Online giving has been growing in popularity for many years. But there have always been groups that preferred traditional donation methods, like mailing a check or giving in-person. But now, the majority of donors prefer to give online, with 54% saying that they wish to make their donations online via credit or debit card.

This giving season, make sure that your online donation forms are as effective as can be. They should be intuitive, match your organization’s branding, and appear as intended on computer screens and mobile devices. Of course, a tight integration with between your CRM and online donation form will help make all of your year-end processes as simple as can be.


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