In 2019 non-profits and charities won't be immune to the changes driven by new technologies and platforms.
Technological advancements in most aspects of our lives are indirectly changing the way donors want to interact and to engage with the organizations they support.
Charities often struggle in integrating digital strategies with their activities.
Resources are tight and sometimes there's a lack of skills and competencies and it can be hard to know what to prioritise, but you don’t have to make digital central to your organisation with a huge amount of budget and all at once.
You can take a small part of what your charity does, use that to prove that digital services can work and can deliver great outcomes for your supporters.
Non-profits must keep updated with changing donor expectations and sector trends or they will be left behind… along with the communities they aim to serve.
Here are 5 interesting digital trends that emerged last year and that will grow further in 2019:
1. Marketing Automation/Giving Automation
It’s impossible for any organization to treat all donors in the same due to time. The reality is, non-profit organizations shouldn’t want to. Using marketing automation software, that creates personalised appeals and puts potential supporters on individualised pathways into the organization will drive deeper engagement with the non-profit’s mission or a specific program, or event.
2. Charities raise their voice through Voice Search
In the charity sector, voice technology is rapidly evolving. Over 20 billion voice searches are made every month and by 2020, 50% of all searches will be carried out by voice.
While British Heart Foundation became the first UK charity to allow donations through Amazon Alexa, charity supporters are more likely to be looking for something that will fit into their daily lives and make an existing task easier and quicker.
3. The return of improved email marketing
2018 was the year of GDPR but while many charities saw the loss of thousands of email subscribers - with some charities as Cancer Research UK, losing over 80% of their email subscriber base - others saw the chance to clean and set up their mailing lists as a new opportunity to better engage with their supporters.
Improved email marketing means smaller but more involved subscriber lists, a renewed attention to email and user’s journeys, an improvement in the way data is collected and managed and close attention on what is working when it comes to email marketing, including marketing automation and personalisation.
4. Facebook's Charitable Giving Tools become more powerful
Facebook's Charitable Giving Tools have received some criticism from charities about their limitations, mainly around GDPR compliance and the amount of data that charities can get from the platform.
At the moment, Facebook only gives charities the donation amount but doesn’t pass on the donors' data that charities could use to create an ongoing and direct relationship with their supporter.
That will all likely change with the introduction of tools for Facebook Messenger that allows it to act more like a CRM and integrate with existing CRM Systems, with relevant permission from users meaning that users can give permission to charities to contact them via email.
This means that charities can more closely integrate their Facebook supporters with their usual fundraising efforts.
5. Instagram Stories continues to be an engagement success story
Last year saw Instagram Stories take off as the "next big thing" in social media engagement.
While the vertical format and low response to donation ask means that Instagram Stories might not suit all charities, the wide range of creative options and the higher engagement rates that they are driving means that Stories will continue to be a success story long into 2019.