Towards the end of February, leading organizations across the environmental, health, and humanitarian spaces convened for the ANA DC Nonprofit 2020 Conference to discuss the latest fundraising challenges and opportunities facing nonprofits.  

If you weren’t able to attend, fret not: Here’s a roundup of the top trends and takeaways we saw at this year’s conference.

Key Takeaways

1. Capitalize on the rise of monthly giving.

Driving sustainers has become the north star of many nonprofits’ fundraising programs. Some are attributing increases in monthly giving to the “Netflix effect” — monthly subscriptions are becoming ubiquitous and can be more financially palatable to folks than giving one lump sum. 

2. Let your brand purpose lead your donor outreach.

Brand purpose has become one of the ANA Nonprofit Federation’s pillar initiatives — they’ve even developed the ANA Center for Brand Purpose. Nonprofits are being encouraged to lean into their brand purpose, and more and more vendors and agency partners are identifying themselves as purpose-driven partners. We’ve been driven by purpose since we were founded in 2004, and we know that brand purpose only moves the needle when you can put your values into action.

3. Stretch your financial resources with free tools.

Unsurprisingly, many nonprofits nodded to operating in the realm of financial constraints, putting an emphasis on stretching their resources throughout the year to drive impact, while also capitalizing on big moments. This is where automation and free tools can help out in big ways. 

Speaking of which: While you’re here, check out our Ultimate Email Checklist or our guide to fundraising strategies.

Noteworthy Trends

1. Facebook fundraising

Two panels touched on both the pros and cons of social fundraising. Some nonprofits praise Facebook’s personal fundraising tool, saying it’s worth the resource investment and testing in peer-to-peer programs. Keynote speaker Nancy Frates (mother of Pete Frates, who inspired the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and member of The ALS Association Chairman’s Council) called on nonprofits to recognize it as an “emerging revenue source…[and to] adopt it now.”

Our take: While we’re seeing some success with clients, there’s still a lot to learn. 

2. What’s next in payment processing

Is electronic funds transfer (EFT) integration the next evolution in payment processing? Well, maybe. It allows users to store their bank account information (as opposed to their credit card) and can provide a more effortless donor journey. While bank account numbers are less likely to change than credit card numbers (due to lost or stolen cards and expiration dates), divulging this information is a much higher barrier ask (and requires a lot of trust). 

Our take: This type of payment processing seems to be more popular in the UK, where people often pay bills directly from their bank accounts rather than their credit cards. Still, it’s a smart thing to adopt, and many organizations at the conference said they intend to do so soon. 

3. Online / offline integration in the delivery space

One advantage that email has over direct mail is that you can hyperlink to other places on the web — say, a donation form. However, snail mail might be catching up. Twenty million people are registered for USPS’s Informed Delivery, which provides notifications and digital previews of incoming mail on a given day. Additionally, organizations can include hyperlinks with that preview USPS provides to customers along with full-color scans of the mail. 

Our take: It’s unclear how many organizations are taking advantage of this service or what data can be derived from it, but this could help mitigate some of the difficulties of timing an email (to drive action or serve as a reminder) tied to a direct mail piece — and could help drive action.


Looking to bring the latest and greatest fundraising techniques into your program? Get in touch with us.

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