5 Communication Trends in Nonprofit Fundraising According to Report | Miratel Solutions

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5 Communication Trends in Nonprofit Fundraising According to Report

There are many communication channels available and which ones are chosen can impact the effectiveness in nonprofit fundraising and supporter engagement. The recently released 2013 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report provides some insight into which channels are being used and considered most important in nonprofit marketing plans for 2013. The online survey conducted this past November by NonprofitMarketingGuide.com analyzed responses from 1,435 nonprofits from 30 countries, 93% of which were from the U.S. and Canada. The overall report and results are a great way to see how organizations are communicating and engaging with their donors. Some of the results were to be expected while others were rather surprising.

  1. Planning – Although 45% of nonprofits surveyed had a plan for 2013, 15% had created a plan for themselves only and a low 30% had written and approved marketing plans. 37% of respondents had no formal plans and only notes, while the remainder had all the plans in their head (8%), or were doing what they did in 2012 (6%) or didn’t know (5%). As overall fundraising in 2012 experienced erratic results it’s surprising that more nonprofits are not creating and developing a strategic plan to strengthen their donation revenues. On a positive note this is a 6% increase over the 2012 results.

Image courtesy of magnetize.com.au

  1. Focus – Respondents noted that their main focus for 2013 includes donor acquisition (57%), community engagement (52%) and brand awareness (45%). What they are most excited about in 2013 includes having new opportunities to expand their reach and connect with new people, using social media more strategically and developing and implementing communication plans. On the other hand, what nonprofits are most concerned about is the inability to keep pace with and effectively manage social media, inconsistency and disagreements about how to approach marketing and lack of funding. Challenges that nonprofit fundraisers face include a lack of time to produce quality content (48%), lack of budget for direct expenses (41%) and the inability to measure the effectiveness of initiatives (29%). These are areas brought to the forefront and require special attention as we delve into the new year.
  2. Budget – Interesting to note is that the size of an organization’s budget has an impact on the communication tools they consider of most importance and likely can be directly attributed to cost. Compared to larger organizations, smaller nonprofits (with budgets under $1 million) were more likely to focus on participant and volunteer acquisition, rank email marketing and in-person events. They also spend more time producing event marketing and in-person presentations. On the other hand larger nonprofits (with budgets of $5 million and more) are more focused on donor acquisition and retention, rank websites, media relations/PR and print marketing and spend extra time on website articles, press releases and annual reports than smaller organizations.
  3. Popular Tools – Overall the top three communication tools that nonprofits considered the most important are websites, email marketing and social media (not including blogging, as it’s listed as its own category). In-person events grew in importance from 66% in 2012 to 74% in 2013 and media relations/PR was also increased in importance from 57% to 62% in the same surveyed years while print marketing dropped 9% from 67% to 58%. It’s not surprising that more and more nonprofits are focusing on digital marketing as a way to engage supporters.
  4. Content & Frequency – The top 3 content types that nonprofits plan to be working on the most in 2013 included email newsletter articles (52%), Facebook updates (49%) and event marketing (38%). Regular communication is key to keeping an organization in the forefront of donors minds and 39% planned to communicate with supporters through direct mail on a quarterly basis in 2013, followed by twice a year (22%) and yearly (13%). When it came to email communications over three quarters (76%) of respondents planned to correspond with supporters by email on a monthly basis.

I was surprised/concerned to read that more organizations are not (formally) planning as it’s a key component of the nonprofit fundraising life cycle. The 34 page 2013 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report is fairly thorough in analyzing the results and providing highlights of the research which can be used to help assemble an effective communications plan that will engage supporters and strengthen nonprofit fundraising results.


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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery servicesdonation cagingdonation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services and mail house operations and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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