Predictions for nonprofit digital fundraising in 2017


After a great 2016, we’re beyond excited for 2017. Looking forward to the year ahead, we wanted to look at some of the likely trends in nonprofit fundraising, as well as gather feedback from nonprofit fundraising professionals on five potential trends for 2017:


It is our firm belief that fundraising will continue to accelerate its move from the desktop to mobile devices this year. More nonprofits will adopt sophisticated mobile apps and mobile-friendly features such as Apple Pay and Android Pay for donations. Nonprofits that realize the enormous value of providing fundraisers with a mobile dashboard for their campaigns through mobile apps that leverage the engrained feature set of a smartphone, such as contact books, camera and social media sharing, will attract and retain advocates.

In our survey of nine fundraising professionals, 78% of respondents agreed that fundraising will be mobile-first in 2017, compared to 22% who believe fundraising will be desktop-first.

DIY/IFE campaigns continue to take off

Innovative nonprofits will continue to turn to DIY / IFE campaigns in 2017, allowing their supporters to back their missions in ways that fit their own lives and schedules better. Seeing the success of DIY campaigns by the Sierra Club, Michael J. Fox Foundation and Shatterproof in 2016, more nonprofits will expand their fundraising to support these types of campaigns. 88% of fundraising professionals we surveyed agreed that “we’ll see more DIY/IFE campaigns in 2017 than in previous years.”

Open systems win

Another trend that will certainly continue is the move by nonprofits away from closed systems that don’t integrate well with other services, to technologies that are built with the intent of connecting with a wide range of other technologies. Instead of choosing monolithic systems that fail to offer best-of-breed functionality, nonprofits will pick and choose the best solution for each of their specific needs, including CRM, email marketing and marketing automation, fundraising platform, organizational website and other systems. 78% of respondents to our survey agreed that 2017, “will we see more nonprofits choose open, best-of-breed solutions over closed, single-vendor solutions.”

Marketing automation takes a larger role

While email marketing has long been a staple of the nonprofit fundraising toolkit, adoption of more sophisticated marketing automation systems by nonprofits will continue apace in 2017. Innovative nonprofits, such as Church World Service, have already seen great returns on investment from a combination of an innovative fundraising platform and marketing automation, and  89% of respondents to our survey agreed that more nonprofits will expand their toolkits in 2017 to include these systems, which can include embedded custom autoresponders, and standalone systems such as Pardot, Hubspot and Marketo.

Snapchat use in campaigns will still be fragmented

We’re pretty bullish at Rallybound about Snapchat as a channel for nonprofits to drive fundraising. However, 67% of respondents to our survey disagreed with the statement, “2017 will be the year that nonprofit fundraising campaigns fully embrace Snapchat.” So, likely for many reasons including continued focus on Facebook and other social media platforms, Snapchat will likely be a channel that only some nonprofits focus on in 2017, at least in terms of fundraising.



Chad Catacchio


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