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Our Digital Fundraising Predictions for 2022

by sue dalos

The past two years have been a time of constant change and upheaval for many nonprofits, especially around their peer-to-peer fundraising events. But as nonprofits have grappled with the challenges presented by the pandemic, they have also found a number of opportunities specifically in the realm of new digital fundraising solutions that have not only helped them to weather the storm but reach new audiences as a result.

In fact, the pandemic has irrevocably changed our relationships with technology. Across every age group, mobile device use —and mobile app use especially — has quadrupled in the past year. We now scan QR codes on menus for curbside pickup, plan group movie nights on services like Netflix, use multi-person gaming apps that allow people to play board games from separate locations, and download vaccination passports and make them available via QR codes for scanning to enter live events.
Plus, we connect “in person” with friends, family and colleagues via Face-Time, live streaming and Zoom. And we can now use activity tracking and exercise apps not just to work out but to fundraise!
All of these digital tools have empowered us to stay local but still engage with a community of like-minded people near and far. So what’s next on the horizon?
While we cannot predict the future, we can certainly read the tea leaves (visible trends) to guide planning for fundraising success in 2022.
So, as we wrap up 2021, the Charity Dynamics consulting team is offering their predictions for digital trends in 2022 and beyond.

The “It” Channel

Text/SMS will be the “it” channel for communications in 2022. Industry experts predict that text marketing will increase by 40% in 2022. To be clear, email is not dead – it works hand in hand with texting – but unlike email, texting is a two-way communication channel.

In order to be successful in incorporating SMS into your organization’s communication plan, you’ll need to understand the texting capability of your organization, familiarize yourself with privacy and permission regulations around collecting and using mobile numbers, and provide the appropriate resources and training to support your staff on the other end of the phone.

Jennifer Mylock

Principal Consultant, Digital Strategy & Customer Success

Year of the IT Stack

2022 will also be the year of the IT stack — particularly for CRM and marketing automation. An IT stack includes all the technology-based tools that help your organization run more effectively and efficiently. The pandemic has made all nonprofits reimagine themselves to meet constituents where they are and how they want to interact. This gives nonprofits the leverage to push through infrastructure investment initiatives that boards may have balked at before. And when it comes to the event experience, “hybrid” is it for 2022! A hybrid event supports both in-person and virtual experiences and includes cross-over elements that the entire community can enjoy. Not everyone will be comfortable returning to in-person experiences, especially if they work in the cause and cure space, so having this option is key to retention.

Sean Staggs

Principal Consultant, Digital Strategy & Customer Success

All About AI

The rise of artificial intelligence will create new opportunities for fundraisers to become more effective by providing automated solutions that can generate real-time, personalized communications to constituents based on their attributes as well as their interactions with your organization. AI tools will help us to better identify, segment and communicate with donors, participants, volunteers and prospects by using predictive data workflows to create user journeys, not just within the program or channel they currently engage with. but across the organization. The end result will be increased retention and lifetime value of our donors. Additionally, nonprofits will realize cost savings by reducing manual tasks for employees, thereby allowing them to reallocate their human resources to new or more productive activities! The more you can release staff from time-consuming data tasks, the more time you can invest in building and nurturing authentic relationships with donors. Just as we’ve become accustomed to Alexa and Siri to keep us on time and on task in our personal lives, we’ll all benefit from helpful reminders at work to help us stay organized and proactive in our everchanging and overextended professional lives.

Holly Michaelson

Principal Consultant, Digital Strategy & Customer Success

Augmented Reality, Voice Assistants and Podcasts, Oh My!

Expect a convergence of augmented reality (AR) and commerce. Snapchat is one of a number of platforms that lets users virtually try on apparel, make-up, jewelry and other items through augmented reality. As technology companies race to develop the next stage of commerce, innovative nonprofits will have an opportunity to translate AR commerce into new streams of revenue. Nonprofits should consider innovating on the traditional models of selling their own branded merchandise or symbolic gifts of donation (think Heifer International’s gift catalog) by creating new donation experiences through AR.

Voice-assisted technology has become ubiquitous — this tech is now embedded in most mobile devices and many of our cars and homes. According to Statista, forty-five percent of U.S. millennials use voice assistance when shopping online, and 24% of Americans 18 and older (around 60 million people) own a smart speaker. Whether through leveraging voice search, developing their own skills or content, or collaborating with corporate partners for co-marketing engagements, nonprofits have numerous opportunities to engage existing donors and reach new supporters through voice technology.

Podcasts have arrived as a mainstream medium — in 2020, there were more than 30 million podcast episodes, and according to Edison Research, 39% of men and 36% of women age 12 and over listen to podcasts monthly. So look for forward-thinking nonprofits to involve podcasts in their fundraising campaigns, just as they have in other media like print, out-of-home, radio and web.

Casey Neese

Principal Consultant, Product

Let’s Get Phygital

Despite all of the incredible technology out there, the reality is that we are very much social beings at our core. People need personal connection and real-world experiences now more than ever. So we need to be thinking about how we integrate these technical solutions in tandem with providing real-world experiences. Peloton is probably the best-known example of combining the digital and the real world into a “phygital” world. But many of the above predictions are also real-world examples of this concept. Phygital is no longer a pandemic response, rather it is a way of life and something every fundraising organization should be thinking about as they plan for 2022 and beyond.
Sue Dalos Charity Dynamics

Sue Dalos

Director of Digital Strategy and Customer Success

Onward to 2022!

As these predictions show, digital solutions won’t just be about adding value — which they certainly do! — they will also be a critical and essential component for your fundraising programs and events in 2022. But it’s also important that we don’t forget the personal, real-world touches that make what we do so vital. And with that thought, the Charity Dynamics consulting team wishes everyone of you the best for a successful year to come! And check out more informative blogs from Charity Dynamics here.  
Sue Dalos is the Director of Digital Strategy and Customer Success at Charity Dynamics.
Sue Dalos