Now that we’re all back from holidays and fully into the new year, it’s a good time to look ahead and see what trends will be popping up for nonprofits in 2018! The world of fundraising doesn’t stay still, and your nonprofit or charity ought to be ready for whatever direction the industry may lean. There are always new and exciting trends emerging, and it pays to be ahead of the game – both figuratively and literally.

Here’s what we foresee taking center stage in nonprofit trends for 2018:

Social advertising

Year over year, social media has expanded to become a huge part of our everyday lives. In fact, it’s become so pervasive that the advertising industry has largely moved towards social media rather than staying in older mediums like print or radio. Although it’s true that print advertising is still considered more legit (since anybody can publish anything online), the cheaper costs and wider reach of social advertising are huge advantages – especially when you’re a charity with not a lot of overhead.

Many social media platforms have noticed this shift in advertising trends, and have responded to it by offering cost-effective ad platforms that integrate directly within their apps or websites. Instagram is allowing for targeted ads that show up in users’ feeds, and Facebook offers cheap methods to promote and advertise your posts. Throughout 2018, we predict that ads will become an even bigger part of social media – and after a small investment, it could pay off by getting more eyeballs on your charity.

Partnerships in corporate social responsibility

According to the 2017 Cone CSR Report, 3 out of 5 American citizens look towards businesses to take the lead in positively affecting societal and environmental change. This means that there’s a ton of people who are very conscious of the brands and businesses they make purchases from. We’re all becoming more connected than ever, and more people want to know what companies stand for.

In 2018, there will definitely be an emergence of partnerships between charities and big businesses in a show of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Not only is it good karma, it benefits the bottom line on both sides.

If you’re a nonprofit, approach companies to see if they’d like to partner with you when it comes to employee engagement such as volunteer opportunities or payroll giving. If you’re a business, take a look at some charities both local and international and find one with a cause that closely aligns with your core values. (And if you want to know how to get started with a CSR program, we have a free ebook for that!)

Integrated data

Buzzwords like “the cloud” and “big data” have reached prominence in the last few years, and together they’re all about making data talk to each other – think about the way that Google integrates all its applications and programs together, or loyalty card apps on your smartphone that automatically know when to pop up.

While big data has been a trend, it’s still apparent that you need to look at your own data for good predictions. That’s why an emerging trend for 2018 is easy big data – that is, methods to integrate your data all in one place. You want to be able to pull donor records, emails, demographics, donation patterns, and so on from one handy location. It’s not about having to fish for the data you need – instead, easy big data will read, compare and contrast everything for you, which makes it way easier to predict donor behavior. (psst – have you tried a cloud-based fundraising program yet?)

Those are just three trends we predict will be huge for nonprofits and fundraising for 2018 – if you’ve got a crystal ball and can think of any others, please be sure to share them with us! Nonprofit teamwork is always on trend, no matter what the year, and we’re always here to help.


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