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As we hurtle towards yet another New Year, now’s the perfect time to start planning your 2019 fundraising strategy.

Your donor’s needs are evolving in line with developments in technology, and they’re looking for convenience in all areas of life – including their giving.

To maximise your fundraising efforts into the New Year, it’s vital you meet donors where they are to increase engagement and optimise your fundraising efforts.

There will ALWAYS be a place for direct mail and community engagement in fundraising (more on that later), but there’s no doubt that you must focus on digital mediums in your broader fundraising strategy.

Having the convenience of an online world at your fingertips means campaigns cost less to implement, donors are easier to reach and have more choice in how to give, and sophisticated data analysis will help you adjust campaigns to ensure maximum success.

Here are our top digital predictions for fundraising in 2019.

Digital fundraising in 2019: Social media fundraising will evolve

You can’t get too far without stumbling across social media in 2018, and that’s set to grow across the next 12 months.

Social media is the one place you can find all your donors – prospective, existing and lapsed. Of course, you need to conduct thorough research and testing to find out the most popular platforms and times for engagement, but engaging content presented on the most appropriate platform will undoubtedly create a splash for your charity in 2019.

Let’s never forget that your campaign could go viral creating a sizeable revenue for minimal effort.

Analyse the effectiveness of campaigns and consider using some budget on paid Facebook or Instagram ads to reach a wider audience.

Tips for social media in 2019:

  • Don’t get overwhelmed. Pick one or two platforms and focus your attention on doing them well rather than trying to spread yourself too thinly across all the available platforms.
  • Consider using scheduling tools to avoid spending too much time side-tracked by social media
  • Remember that once donors know you’re active on social media, they’ll use it as a customer service tool, so you must integrate direct messaging into your donor service strategy to continue offering exceptional service.

Digital fundraising in 2019: Video content will become more prominent than ever

Video is undoubtedly in fashion in 2018 and is only set to grow into 2019.

As social media platforms continue to develop at breakneck speed, we’re fortunate to have tools like Instagram stories and Facebook Live at our disposal. Combine these platforms with video capabilities on mobile phones, and video and editing are no longer out-of-budget and can be used creatively to capture the attention of your audience in a way that nobody else is.

Tips for video in 2019:

  • Think outside the box. Video content doesn’t have to be sophisticated and well-planned to be effective. Take your donors on a behind-the-scenes journey using Instagram Stories or Facebook Live and start to build a more personalised relationship.
  • Create a ‘thank you’ video featuring people or situations your donors have helped and send it through the mail on a DVD. Your donors will be delighted that you’ve taken the time to mail them personally showing them the impact of their support and will be encouraged to give again.
  • Always have your mobile phones ready to record. Raw footage is often the most powerful so always be prepared for the unexpected; you never know what will happen next that you can build into your next campaign.
  • Review written campaigns and assess where you can replace text with embedded video content to increase engagement.

Digital fundraising in 2019: Roundup apps will increase in popularity

If you haven’t yet investigated roundup apps as part of your fundraising strategy, you risk being left behind.

Tips for roundup apps in 2019:

  • Thoroughly research providers before committing to an agreement. There’s a lot of competition, and it’s essential you’re satisfied before going ahead. You have a responsibility to your donor to offer the most cost-effective platform that values their privacy.
  • Investigate how other charities are utilising roundup apps in their strategy
  • Consider how much access you’ll have to donor details. If you aren’t able to access data and utilise it for future fundraising campaigns, assess whether the short-term monetary gain is worth it if you can’t steward donors to help them reach their giving potential.

Digital fundraising in 2019: Email marketing will increase

Email campaigns are a convenient, low-cost method to deliver your fundraising message using little resource. Salsa Labs reports that email has the highest ROI at $40 for every $1 spent, so it’s essential that you integrate email into your fundraising and build upon existing strategy.

Now, we’re not suggesting replacing direct mail with email marketing.

Far from it.

While direct mail is a higher investment from the outset, it’s always worth the time and revenue. According to research published by Future Fundraising Now, 73% of consumers surveyed say they prefer mail for communications.

However, both using email as a standalone fundraiser and integrating email into your direct mail campaign are both extremely effective uses of email resource.

Tips for email marketing in 2019:

  • Layer your quarterly campaign and send donors an email to let them know that a letter is on its way. Or follow up those who haven’t yet given to your direct mail appeal with an email.
  • Utilise email to send personalised thank you letters to keep costs down.
  • Thoroughly analyse data including email opens, CTR, and unsubscribes. This data will also show you who likes to read your direct mail yet donate online giving you a more in-depth insight into your donor. If your CRM or data analysis tools don’t have this capacity, contact SupporterHub today to arrange a free trial.
  • Email marketing needs to be at the top of your fundraising strategy in 2019 but look for ways to integrate existing fundraising rather than replace.

Fundraising is evolving, and in 2019 it’s essential that you utilise advancements in technology and data analysis tools to help your charity grow.

Contact SupporterHub today to arrange a free trial of a cost-effective CRM that will grow in line with the needs of your charity.