While the last two years have been challenging and shaped by the pandemic, fundraising organisations have shown remarkable resilience and creativity. COVID provided the push we need to really shake things up and we’ve seen an industry-wide shift from traditional, community-based fundraising efforts to digital fundraising.
Moving forward, organisations must consolidate everything they’ve learned (and accomplished!) during this period of rapid change and use it to take control of how they connect with audiences now and in the future.
Let’s take a look at the landscape of digital fundraising in 2022 and how you can use these trends to take your fundraising to the next level and empower your supporters:
Embracing digital fundraising
Making the transition to digital fundraising is no longer optional for any organisation looking to attract the attention and support of a new generation of givers - it’s a must.
Right now, 86% of millennials and Gen Zers (the UK’s biggest givers) prefer to donate using mobile devices and see the impact of their donations. Many see community events differently since the pandemic, so people are actively seeking ways to support their favourite causes online.
As life begins to return to “normal” – or, at least, a closer resemblance to normal – organisations will have more stability on which to build a robust digital fundraising strategy instead of simply reacting to the challenges of the pandemic.
Some fundraising organisations will be worried about being left behind. Lack of internal resources, lack of in-house understanding and tech literacy, and fear of the unknown can present major barriers to digital fundraising.
We’re working hard to break down these barriers at StockCrowd.
We exist to make brand-led digital fundraising accessible to all because we know there’s power in collective action, and that having the tools to effectively connect with and rally supporters is key to getting cut through in an incredibly busy space.
Our motto is “No one left behind” and our digital fundraising platform has been built from the ground up with this in mind.
We want your volunteers to be able to set up fundraising pages in minutes. We want you to be able to run compelling campaigns, whatever your resources, with our experts to guide you. Most of all, we want to make it easy for your organisation to connect with its donors and have all your digital fundraising tools in one place to make every minute of your time count.
Although we’ll see more face-to-face fundraising events taking place throughout 2022, virtual events will remain a huge part of the fundraising landscape.
The last two years have shown that virtual fundraising can be incredibly successful. It breaks down barriers such as geographical location, venue size, accessibility and so much more.
People have been able to attend virtual events from the other side of the world without expensive travel or accommodation costs (or cost to the environment). Those who were under-represented at face-to-face events have been able to claim a seat at the table and be heard.
Of course, virtual events do have some drawbacks.
Attendees may split their attention between what’s happening on the screen and what’s happening in their living rooms, and it’s much harder to elicit an emotional response – the essential ingredient of successful fundraising – when you’re speaking to someone who’s distracted.
The solution has to be hybrid events where there’s a face-to-face element for lasting relationship building but a virtual element too.
Gamification and Gaming for Good
All sorts of industries are turning to gamification to boost customer engagement; this includes the charity sector and those involved with fundraising.
Gamification puts the fun in fundraising - people love the endorphin hit they get from winning achievement points or reaching targets. It’s why mobile games and consoles are so popular (just ask any parent who’s ever tried calling a teenage gamer out of their room at dinnertime!).
In 2022, we predict that increasing numbers of fundraisers will use gamification to make their digital fundraising campaigns more compelling and interactive, while corporations will start to explore the opportunities that innovations such as the metaverse and augmented reality (AR) marketing offer to extend their CSR and community-giving programmes into virtual environments.
But how do you gamify the donor experience? There are many ways - achievement badges and trackers (e.g. for money raised, miles run, number of donations, etc.), team league tables or interactive donation buttons are just a few ideas.
We’ve been working with a growing number of organisations to incorporate gamification into their digital fundraising.
We recently helped design and create a campaign for Helping Herts that shows people in need of vital services such as bereavement support standing alone or in small groups. When the mouse hovers over the different people, the image changes to show them receiving a hug from a stranger - a fantastic visual representation of what the donations mean.
For another client, we designed an interactive picture of their museum that people click on to donate. Each donation unveils a renovated view of the location.
Many charities now run Gaming for Good campaigns where influencers and high profile gamers encourage fans to donate to a chosen cause via their Twitch stream (i.e. a live stream of them playing a favourite online game).
Gamers can add donation buttons to their streams or make donating more competitive by asking for donations every time they lose a life, do something impressive, find a resource or fight a boss, for example.
To get some sense of how popular Gaming for Good is, fundraising initiatives using Minecraft, for example, have attracted tens of millions of viewers, all of whom are potential donors.
Gaming for Good events can help you to diversify funding streams and also connect with Millennial and Gen Z donors.
Getting to grips with social media
There are now more than 4.2 billion people actively using social media – that’s 54% of the world’s population!
Whatever the size or structure of your organisation, if you want to reach donors, old or new, then social media is one of the most powerful ways to do it because that’s where people are spending their time online.
Of course, there are many social media platforms so the challenge any organisation faces is where to focus its resources.
The good news is that you don’t need to be present on every platform. That’s simply not possible unless you have a dedicated social media team. Instead, you’ll need to explore which platforms your donors love to use and shift your resources to those.
For example, TikTok is great for reaching younger audiences – 32.5% of users are aged between 10 and 19 years old (Statista). Meanwhile, nearly 50% of Facebook users are between 25 and 44 years old. (Statista)
If you want to reach a slightly more mature audience, on the other hand, you might be better focusing on LinkedIn where 37% of the users fall in the 44-55 age bracket.
Better email marketing
As popular as social media is, any organisation should be wary of using just social to connect with donors. This is because the data for your followers is held by the social media platform, not your organisation. One major algorithm shift or rule change and you could potentially lose your audience.
While this might be the worst-case scenario, it’s one reason that a commitment to better email marketing will be a major digital marketing trend in 2022.
Fifty-nine per cent of fundraising marketers say that email gives them the greatest ROI and stats show that organisations are six times more likely to get a clickthrough from an email than they are from Twitter.
Email marketing is incredibly flexible. You can get super specific about segmenting your audience along all stages of the journey, from finding out about your cause to becoming a long-term donor and advocate.
This is fantastic for relationship building and gives you more control over your campaigns, although it does take a little time and know-how to get it right. Charity Digital recently shared some great resources here to get you started.
Easier ways to donate
The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), reports that between January and June 2020, the UK public donated a total of £5.4 billion to charity – an increase of £800 million compared to the same period in 2019. The same report also finds that, as opportunities to fundraise through face-to-face interactions declined due to COVID, there’s been a large and sustained increase in cashless giving since March 2020 that looks set to continue beyond the pandemic.
Today, mobile internet traffic accounts for more than 55% of the total web traffic. Fundraisers are seeing the same trend with people wanting the donation transaction process to be as advanced, seamless and contactless as any other transaction.
Over the coming year and beyond, we should expect to see an increase in different ways to donate. This will include:
- Dynamic or interactive donate buttons/experiences
- QR codes
- Text to donate
- Contactless devices, such as tap-to-donate podiums
The StockCrowd platform is designed to make this as easy as possible, with a range of hassle-free payment tools using a simple plugin or QR code. We can also integrate with your preferred payment tools.
Tools to work smarter, not harder
We know that many charitable organisations are under-financed and under-resourced. Your organisation may be heavily reliant on volunteers. Every penny and every minute counts.
This is where automation and artificial intelligence (AI) come into their own.
In 2022, organisations will be exploring how they can use digital tools to boost their productivity and help them to work smarter rather than harder.
This will include tools that help you to:
- Automate the email marketing funnel so that people are seamlessly moved along a consistent and pre-planned journey.
- Track campaigns and understand data so you can fundraise more effectively in the future by better understanding your audience.
- Use chatbots to answer FAQs or provide an interactive donation experience where donors can find out more about where their money goes.
- Automate recommendations such as “customers who bought this also bought,” or “people who entered this event also entered”, or “because you liked X, we think you’ll like Z.” Customers can also receive automatic email reminders about an event they viewed or put in their cart but didn’t purchase.
We’re also likely to see a rise in augmented or virtual reality (VR) tools where donors can experience an event or heritage site, for example, from the comfort of their living room via a VR set.
By using technology to perform the tasks that humans usually need to repeat, day in day out, you can free up time for scaling your fundraising and building an effective strategy.
Connecting directly with donors
For years, people have been running their fundraising efforts through third-party fundraising platforms but this can be problematic.
Depending on the platform, it might mean that data insights are limited.
Who are their biggest supporters? Who donates year in, year out? What are people doing to lend their support to a campaign?
It’s difficult for organisations to answer these and many other questions. In turn, this means it’s almost impossible to build any kind of meaningful direct relationship with donors.
Equally, businesses concerned with corporate social responsibility may struggle to track all of the fundraising taking place across their organisation. Someone in Accounts might be running a marathon while someone in HR is shaving their head but there’s no central understanding of who’s doing what, or what progress is being made towards a collective goal.
The COVID pandemic has given any organisation concerned with fundraising an opportunity to break away from previous norms and bring the control of fundraising into their own hands.
This is the very essence of StockCrowd. We’ve put everything an organisation needs to successfully fundraise - quickly and easily - in one place. Our clients hold their data and anyone in their teams can see exactly how and where donations are coming in and what activity is generating the most engagement.
We’re passionate about making 2022 the year when organisations can benefit from an accessible fundraising experience, regardless of their size.
Accessibility and digital inclusion
While we’re on the subject of accessibility, digital inclusion will be a priority in 2022.
One thing the pandemic did was highlight the inequalities within society concerning internet access, digital skills and the exclusion of various groups including:
- People in lower-income groups
- People without a job
- People in social housing
- Older people
- People with disabilities
- People with fewer educational qualifications (e.g. left school before 16)
- People living in rural areas
- Homeless people
- People whose first language is not English
Right now, approximately 11.9 million people (22% of the population) do not have the digital skills needed for everyday life in the UK. The majority of these people are under-represented as fundraisers because they are unable to access the causes they care about unless they can connect with them in person.
Here at StockCrowd, we want you to be able to connect with all potential members of your audience and for you to be in a position to amplify the voices of people who have previously been excluded from fundraising activities and conversations.
Two of the key ways we’re doing this are by ensuring that all the forms in our campaign builder are accredited as accessible and using plain language.
Your digital fundraising in 2022
You operate in a busy, fast-moving space and many fundraising organisations are ill-equipped to respond. Disparate and stretched resources make it harder to understand and galvanise communities or scale-up fundraising efforts.
Still, there is a need, if you haven’t already done so, to stop, take stock and break the cycle of doing what's always been done to ensure that you can ride the wave coming out of the pandemic.
We believe no one should be left behind.
The exciting thing about the trends shaping digital fundraising in 2022 is that they’re about taking control of your data and resources, making meaningful connections with your communities and using the lessons of the pandemic to create positive change.
This gels with our mission at StockCrowd to help you with online fundraising, customisation of your campaigns and management of your donor database - all with the same software.
Drop us a line to discuss how we can help you bring your fundraising campaigns to life.