When I graduated from high school, 2012 seemed like it was such a long way off. I had some ideas of what my life would be like – living in New York stage managing the latest and greatest shows. Or perhaps I’d be raising a few children. Or maybe working in an office somewhere. Being a fundraising coach never crossed my mind. But I know it’s something that I am uniquely suited to. Everything in my life has led up to where I am right now.
How about you? Where are you compared to where you thought you’d be at this point in your life?
So with that in mind, does anyone really know what’s in store for 2012? We all have our thoughts and ideas, but without being able to see the future, those really just amount for educated guesses. So here are my educated guesses related to finding new donors in 2012.
- First, I foresee response rates (especially among acquisition mailings) to continue decreasing. While this is an ongoing trend, I see the changes in the US Postal Service speeding up the decline.
- Related to this, I think more smaller communities will start to consider street canvassing for new donors (this has been coined face-to-face fundraising in the UK). Finding new donors is an ongoing concern and we’ll need to identify affordable ways to do this on a large scale. I think this need will have more nonprofits experimenting with different possibilities for acquisition.
- I see social media playing a larger role in finding new donors, especially as we learn more about it and learn how to build relationships and communities online. Related to this, it will be interesting to see the changing role of Facebook in this. Lately I’ve been hearing of more of my friends in their 20’s who seem to be ‘over’ Facebook, and as a result, are checking in less and less frequently. Perhaps there will be another platform that emerges, or perhaps we’ll learn how to better use texting to build communities.
- As a necessity, segmentation will continue to play a stronger role in developing personalized programs that are not overwhelming to run. Technology is making this accessible to organizations of all sizes.
- Finally, I see events evolving to be seen as a way to start building a long-term relationship with causes, rather than being a stand-alone component of a fundraising program (maybe this is just wishful thinking, but it will be an essential component of a sustainable fundraising program).
Those are some of my thoughts for 2012. What are you planning on changing, adding or removing from your donor acquisition strategies?