Donor Engine’s 5 Must Know Fundraising Trends for 2021

With only two weeks left in the year, it’s time to start thinking forward to 2021. What new fundraising trends are emerging, and how can your nonprofit be even more successful in the new year? 

2020 certainly shook things up, but it also pushed nonprofits everywhere to experiment with new ways of fundraising. We had to learn how to work from a distance, take extra care in our hygiene practices and work together to fight the challenges that the pandemic brought us. 

It hasn’t been easy, but we made it! So here are the latest trends to look forward to in 2021. 

Five Fundraising Trends for Nonprofits in 2020

1.Fundraising While Playing Video Games

That’s right, Twitch fundraising is quickly becoming all the rage and can easily be done online. The Fundraising Superheroes Podcast recently had Community Manager for Twitch, Alyssa Sweetman on the show. She had a lot of great advice for fundraisers. 

The first step is to identify, steward and partner with a streamer (or influencer), as third party fundraiser, to donate their time and live stream revenue to your organization. It’s a great way to engage with a new audience while also raising funds for your organization. 

Approach finding an influencer in the same way you would identify a major donor.  Review your database for supporters against influencer lists.  Survey the board to see if anyone in their networks are connected and can help with an introduction.  Alyssa also suggests reaching out to influencers or their business managers in a short email, explaining who you are and how they can support your mission through Twitch. 

For more information, listen to our full interview with Alyssa below. 


2. Investing in a Monthly Giving Program 

Your monthly giving program is bringing in a sustainable source of revenue to your organization. Now more than ever, there is an increased need for stability within organizations. Moving into 2021, we advise that you think of more ways to promote your monthly giving program and turn one time donations into recurring gifts. 

A monthly giving program also helps bring up your donor retention because you’re investing in your donors while providing an exceptional giving experience. It’s a win-win situation. Your monthly donors feel more engaged with your organization and, in return, give automated donations each month. 

You’re creating a consistent revenue stream that is proven to deliver. The State of Modern Philanthropy found that one-time donors who converted into recurring donors had an increased chance of making another one-time gift on top of their recurring gift.

Consider making donating monthly the default option for online giving, explain to your supporters the benefits, explore creating a giving club with specific benefits for monthly donors, or invest in different channels such as telemarketing to reach out to your one-time donors or general supporter list to upgrade them to monthly donors.  

3.Video Becomes a Necessity 

People have busy lives, and you need to create fantastic content that catches their eye. Video allows you to tell your story with emotion. You can piece together interviews and b-roll and make an introductory video for your organization. Or have your founder, CEO, a major supporter or celebrity or someone who used your services  speak from the heart to deliver a thank you or solicitation. 

Videos are becoming easier and easier to make. You can record and edit right off your phone, and zoom allows you to record video in any call. According to Cisco, 82% of all online traffic next year will come from video. There are so many ways to create heartfelt, engaging videos as nonprofits. It just takes some time, planning and a great imagination. 

4. Social Media Is Changing 

You need to be engaging your followers on social media. Facebook, Instagram and now TikTok all have charitable giving features within their platforms that make fundraising easier. With the addition of Instagram stories, polls and other interactive features, you can really take the time to get to know your audience. 

TikTok is becoming increasingly popular, and a lot of nonprofits have been joining the platform. We have a complete guide to TikTok for Charity, but it has many uses depending on your mission. You can create informative Tiktoks, entertain, follow trends or share important updates. 

Social media is still an important place to experiment with advertising.  If you have the funds, it can drive acquisition through petitions and lead forms to build up your lists, which you can then engage to convert to one-time or monthly donors.  Social media often demands continually changing and testing content to ensure the advertising algorithm’s audiences are matching up with the content presented, so be sure to have resources (both financial and staff time) lined to  help lead you to success.  

5. Personalization Needs to be Turned Up A Notch

Every message donors receive needs to be relevant and urgent to them. Segmenting your donors is a crucial step in your communication process. Donors need to feel that each message they receive was meant for them and that they are being appreciated within your organization. 

Using a donor management system comes in handy here because it not only stores your data but offers insight into how donors think and feel about your organization. The best way to understand a person is through their interests, actions and demographics. All of which you can log in your CRM.  When thinking about personalization, it can go beyond their first name, think about including their past giving, who they supported in a peer to peer fundraiser or any other key information in an email. 

Driven specializes in data optimization and is more than happy to chat with you about the power your data holds. 

Online Isn’t Going Away 

COVID-19 pushed us all to go digital, and with little chance of a solution happening anytime soon, we need to adjust to doing things online a bit longer. It also pushed many organizations forward and possibly showed your nonprofit the benefits of working from home.

Some people may want to take their organizations online permanently to save on rental costs. Or have a mix of office and home workdays in the future. There are so many ways to immerse your supporters in a virtual space, a big one being livestreams.

Meet and greets, galas, fundraisers, can all be done online! You’re saving again on food, venues, and other event costs. Instead, you can invest that money into other aspects of your organization or a digital production team to take your virtual events to the next level. 

Donor Curve raised over $100,000 for one of their clients at the start of the pandemic. When COVID hit, they had to act fast, as their venue cancelled on them, and they had only a few weeks to spare before the big event. 

They went digital and reached a larger audience than they would have before, got a ton of email signatures and, of course, raised money. Video streaming is excellent for reaching larger audiences while also offering convenience. People can tune in and out when they want, and all they need is an internet connection. A lot of the current fundraising trends are catering to an online audience, which will most likely continue well into the new year. 


We wanted to share fundraising trends nonprofits can easily implement into their annual fundraising strategies. All of the digital fundraising trends we started in 2020 aren't going anywhere, digital fundraisers are a great way to connect with a broad audience  without having to leave your home. 

There are still a lot of things that can't be replaced with a digital experience, but the future of fundraising  will definitely become a healthy mix of in-person and online fundraisers. Successful fundraising means connecting with donors and keeping track of their giving trends.

Having an efficient way to track your donors data is critical. Your data is key to building successful fundraising campaigns, increasing yearly revenue and connecting with your donors. If you had a hard time keeping up with your data in 2020, make it your new year's resolution to modernize your data system in 2021. 

Donor Engine has a ton of functionalities that can assist you with your Google campaigns by allowing you to create and automate tasks for your grant, set reminders for key deadlines and follow-ups and manage pledges as they come in!

We would love to help you unlock the power of your data using a more efficient CRM, so contact us to learn more about the importance of data storage. 

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By on Dec 11, 2020, 12:00 AM

Best Practices,Fundraising

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