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Nonprofit Trends Expected in 2024

What's in store for '24? We lean on nonprofit leaders and then add our two cents!

Nonprofit Trends Expected in 2024

The past few years can undoubtedly prove that no one has a crystal ball, and no one is able to mitigate threats and capitalize on sure things with ease. CharityEngine, sadly, can’t predict the future either. What we can do is listen to some industry leaders and see what they’re predicting, then throw our own thoughts on top of their analysis.

I recently came across a Forbes article titled “20 Nonprofit Experts Share Trends to Watch in 2024.” Forbes has a Nonprofit Council, which is an invitation-only organization for senior-level execs in successful nonprofits. For this article, they surveyed some of these leaders and relayed their predictions.

You can read the whole article, but there are a few points that line up with CharityEngine, so we wanted to examine them a little more closely.

Invest in Technology

This is a bit of a no-brainer as we are a technology company, but we are already seeing increased fundraising software shopping by nonprofits. The article says that “tech will play a pivotal role in ensuring a nonprofit’s adaptability, resilience, and success in an ever-changing landscape.” We can take that a bit further and talk about the features we see being critical to any nonprofit’s 2024 planning:

  • Robust reporting and analytics are game-changers. Acquiring donor data is important, but what you can do with it—how to mine it for insights—is equally important. When technology maps hundreds of thousands of data points and uses artificial intelligence and business intelligence to spit out information that can inform your outreach, your fundraising and donor management approach will be based on knowledge, not guesses.
  • And when technology can segment your audiences and help you personalize your donor communications, you are able to connect with supporters and see greater conversions. According to Double the Donation, personalized emails see average open rates that are more than 82% higher than generic emails. Can you imagine if 82% more people opened your emailed fundraising appeal?
  • A platform with natively built tools means that there aren’t data silos. At a glance, you can see that a donor attended an event, was the second-place bidder on an auction item, opened your most recent email, and last donated to a campaign six months ago. The power of that aggregate information is immense!

The Essential Guide to Nonprofit Fundraising

Lean into AI

Number two on the list is AI. Artificial Intelligence is prominent water-cooler conversation these days, and for good reason: there are questions and debate over governance (the Forbes article says that “organizations should be thinking now about how to navigate policies for its responsible use”) and it’s also finding its way into technology, helping you know when, where, and how to approach constituents for support.

AI is certainly here to stay, and it’s helpful for nonprofits to explore ways it can make your outreach easier. Use ChatGPT to create social posts or help with standard language for grants. AI can give you insights into the best time to ask a supporter for the optimum donations, and it informs our advanced fraud protection to detect fraud before it hits your system.

Tell a Good Story

Not a new trend, and perhaps almost a cliché trend, storytelling as an approach has been bandied about for quite a while. We’ve talked about how to embrace storytelling and had some nonprofit experts share stories of how it’s effective in donor engagement. So what’s new for 2024?

The article mentions resonant storytelling, which means sharing the impact of your work on people’s lives. In a world in which “people are overwhelmed with stories of political polarization, AI, inflation, etc., consider what stories will cut through the noise and inspire people to engage with you.”

You can tell impact stories in many ways. A foodbank client live-streamed a tour of his warehouse to show supporters where donations went and how they were dispersed. Case studies or snippets of comments can be used on your website and social media. Even if they’re anonymous, testaments to the impact of your work make compelling pitches for more support.

Attract Donor-Advised Funds

If your nonprofit hasn’t included DAF outreach in your plans, it’s time to start. Forbes predicts, "In 2024, (nonprofits can) expect the continued rise of donor-advised funds…which offer tax benefits to donors.” We recently published an article outlining DAF strategies for nonprofits, and we think it’s important that these organizations be included in your campaigns and outreach.

Nonprofits should first ensure they are able to accept different kinds of donations, such as multi-year grants or in-kind gifts. You can then strategize about how to build relationships with sponsoring organizations and identify and target potential DAF donors.

It’s worth mentioning again that DAF grants have increased every year since 2009 and have more than doubled in the past five years. This tells us that this investment vehicle has weathered economic and political unease, especially since the number of DAF accounts and grants has continued to rise steadily.

You can think of DAF outreach as similar to major gift outreach as you’ll often find the same donors in both groups. Get to know them and understand what makes them give, then use a personalized approach and try to begin—or grow—your DAF donors.

Protect Your Organization

The last trend we will highlight is that nonprofits must remain vigilant to protect donors and financial information against fraud. The article quotes a nonprofit exec suggesting that organizations “invest in training their staff and reviewing the cyber protocols and insurance, especially in the age of AI.”

CharityEngine has focused on fraud protection from the beginning. We are a PCI-certified and SOC II-certified payment processor, meaning we work diligently to keep donor data safe. We’ve also published tips on preventing fraud attacks and shared details on our own Advanced Fraud protection, which keeps our clients safe with a 99% fraud protection rate.

It’s advisable to update your insurance annually, and including insurance against fraud is smart. So is choosing a partner that will work with you and offer the most iron-clad fraud protection on the market.

Trends or Just Good Advice?

Are these trends? We think so, but we also think it’s good advice all year long. It’s important to know what’s predicted to rise in importance, but it’s equally—if not more—important to find a fundraising software partner that you can rely on to help you weather ups and downs.

Sometimes, we’re that partner. Sometimes, there’s a better fit with someone else. And that’s okay! For you to wake up every day and do your part to effect change, you just want a partner in your corner who can provide the tools you need to succeed and have peace of mind.

As always, if you’re interested in seeing what we’ve got, reach out. Otherwise, we wish you the very happiest and most productive (and safest!) year yet. We really believe that nonprofits are changing the world, and we’re honored to play even a tiny part.