Data-Driven Fundraising: 2020 Trends to Guide Your Strategy
It’s no secret 2020 has been a roller coaster thus far. On top of this, the past few years have shown a major evolution in fundraising tools and a marked shift in the psychology of the average donor. Things are changing. With so much unexpected upheaval, your church may be trying to find its bearings and strategically move forward. This makes understanding fundraising trends a necessity.
In late 2019, Blackbaud Institute analyzed 5,000 churches who used digital giving tools, along with the $2.7 billion they raised digitally. The findings revealed why church leaders must shift focus away from short-term setbacks and toward long-term solutions. Therefore, churches need to reframe their giving strategy with a few key elements in mind.
Giving Habits Mirror Spending Habits
Despite the startling dip in church giving during COVID, national data has shown that the economy is tiptoeing upward overall. In addition, giving grew 5.1% over the past 3 years. This single fundraising trend gives us hope.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce sales accounted for 11.2% of overall sales as 2019 came to a close. Similarly, 8.7% of giving in 2019 came from online giving. The trajectory of online giving matches that of e-commerce – a steady growth rate that reflects a fundamental, long-term shift in how people prefer to spend their money. What does this mean for strategic churches?
Consumers are becoming more fluent in digital spending tools and platforms, and this doesn’t just benefit retailers. Organizations can ride the digital spending wave and immerse their church in a new narrative around giving – Online donations are simple and convenient, and donors have a plethora of digital giving options to choose from. Once digital giving is implemented, the next hurdle is effectively communicating its value to your donors.
Master Your Fundraising Communications
An important part of any organization’s comprehensive plan is strategic communications. Most church leaders know they must communicate regularly and remind donors of the importance of giving and supporting the mission. However, our collective unfamiliarity with online communication avenues and a lack of consistency throws many churches off balance – building a strong digital presence is no easy feat. On top of this, church leaders are juggling many projects – things like newsletters, emails, and social media posts are usually the first tasks to get put on the backburner.
To uphold effective, year-round communication with your donors, its useful to delegate. Have particular church leaders in charge of certain tasks, and devise a weekly or monthly framework of what needs to be communicated in light of giving. Making sure communications are coordinated across mediums (e.g. Facebook, website, newsletter, pamphlets, etc.) also goes a long way in ensuring your message reaches more current and potential donors.
You can take your first step in developing your donors and streamlining your communications by enrolling with Donorwerx this August.
Generational Differences Matter
The average age of the U.S donor is 63, meaning most organizations need to focus a significant amount of their fundraising efforts on this demographic. This may come as no surprise. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t interest younger demographics. Providing avenues for giving that focus on specific causes is a simple and effective way to reach out to your younger members.
With a high concentration of donors over 60, churches find themselves in a difficult situation. Older members fall into the category of “least interested” in digital giving avenues. In the coming months, organizations need to take deliberate action to ensure older members are not falling to the wayside as they transition toward less-traditional giving models.
Many churches are taking a grassroots approach. For example, they reach out to members individually and offer to set up automated annual giving for older congregants.
Donor Retention is the Cornerstone
Unsurprisingly, Blackbaud’s report revealed the ever-important role donor retention plays in creating a sustainable church community. The problem is, many churches haven’t mastered this. The data showed donor retention of only 27% among offline one-time donors. Among online one-time donors, this dropped to only 24%. The same churches retained just 57% of offline multi-year donors and 63% of online multi-year donors. From these numbers, it’s clear that automated digital giving will be incredibly supportive of donor retention in the years to come.
Serve your donors, and they’ll continue to serve you. It’s a concept that’s easy to grasp, but hard to execute. Discovering exactly what donors want is a challenge. This is especially for those in the trial-and-error stages of implementing a new fundraising strategy. These changes can be overwhelming, especially for churches that have operated one way for so long. To assist with this, we offer accelerated consulting for church leaders who need a comprehensive and customized plan for moving forward in their ministry.
Pay Attention to Fundraising Trends!
Thankfully, technology is on our side as fundraising trends shift. This provides plenty of opportunities to learn and pivot with new information. As data becomes more accessible in the nonprofit world, paying attention to these key trends is vital. Doing so will help churches use data to guide their 2020 fundraising strategy.