Nonprofit trends to watch for

July 23, 2014

Nonprofit trends to watch for

Trends in the nonprofit sphere have a slightly different meaning than the fads associated with consumer preferences, fashion design and other areas, however, examining them is just as important. While the basics of charitable organizations – such as the need for outreach, fundraising and financial management – won't change, the methods and tactics used to successfully engage in these important practices are changing. Organizations need to be especially aware of the increasing encroachment of technology into the general public's daily lives and the changing attitudes of contributors, often based on generational shifts.

Here are three current and near-future trends for nonprofit groups to consider when strategizing:

  1. Conversion to mobile is a priority: Smartphones and tablets are now commonplace and other pieces of consumer technology such as Google Glass and smart watches are entering the market and gaining acceptance as well. As the Nonprofit Tech for Good blog pointed out, charitable organizations that haven't made some concessions to potential contributors using mobile devices are beginning to miss out on engagement and gift opportunities. Although redesigning a website with mobile interactivity in mind can carry a price tag without an accomplished designer on staff, it's a plunge many nonprofits will likely have to take to stay competitive in the future.
  2. Contributor trust on the rise: While nonprofits need to use more of their resources to keep up with the times and have a forward thinking technology strategy, the good news is these efforts will have a greater payoff than in years past. Fired Up Fundraising suggested that contributors are giving more and are more open to outreach efforts from 501(c)(3) groups. To maximize this positive development, nonprofits will need to be transparent and specific, providing detailed information about how donations are used.
  3. New types of hires: As Nonprofit Tech for Good pointed out, a significant number of charitable groups increased their social media budgets in 2013. Just as the need for mobile integration is increasing, the same is true for social networking. Twitter and Facebook predate the era of mobile devices, so many nonprofits are further along in developing interaction strategies for these platforms. Budgeting for more social media outreach makes sense in many instances, whether it's through hiring a new employee or expanding the responsibilities of a current staff member.

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