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Take Advantage of 2018’s Top Online Fundraising Trends

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Paige Kutilek
|7 min read

Fundraising Strategy

Studying trends can give us insights into how people interact with the world. Once we understand why people are acting in certain ways, it can become easier to motivate them to take action.

When it comes to crowdfunding, understanding the latest fundraising trends can give you an advantage. Here are seven of 2018’s top online fundraising trends. Use them to create and refine a winning crowdfunding campaign for your cause.

1. Individual and household giving is on the rise

More households are giving back to their communities. Giving by individuals and households is expected to increase by 3.2% in 2018—and to account for 70% of all giving in the US. (The remainder is expected to come from sources including nonprofit foundations.)

How can your cause benefit from the rise in individual giving?

This fundraising trend is directly tied to crowdfunding. One in every five Americans has given to a crowdfunding campaign. In the past, people most often donated to large organizations. Today, thanks to crowdfunding, they can give directly to others (sometimes called peer-to-peer giving). Crowdfunding has amplified rising generosity, making it easier than ever to raise money from family, friends—and their friends. To take full advantage of this trend, you need to combine crowdfunding with social media fundraising ideas that can give your campaign a broader reach.

2. People expect personalization

In recent years, people have become accustomed to more personalized consumer experiences, services, and products. Today, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand if they receive a personalized communication.

What are the best ways to personalize your crowdfunding campaign?

First, add personalized details to your fundraising emails and other communications with potential donors. Beyond adding names, include personal details and reference shared values that can inspire people to action.

Look for opportunities to bring people into your unfolding story. Your GoFundme fundraiser page gives you the ability to post fundraising updates. Try personalizing your shares and tagging specific friends. As people post supportive comments, be sure to respond to each comment in a personal way.

And each time someone donates to your fundraiser, thank them with a personalized video, email, or social media post that recognizes the specific ways their funds will help your cause. For example, Lori used crowdfunding to help fund an 800-mile bike ride for breast cancer research. She used her updates to specifically call out her donors and thank them for helping her reach fundraising milestones. Check out her campaign, 800 miles for breast cancer research.

3. Mobile giving continues to grow

Although mobile devices have been around for a while, they’re becoming more and more integrated into every aspect of our lives. Today, it’s easier than ever for people to securely send each other money and make payments—or donations. With two thirds of American now owning a smartphone, it’s no surprise that mobile giving should be a fundamental part of your fundraising plan.

How can your campaign benefit from mobile giving?

To take advantage of this trend, you’ll need to run your crowdfunding campaign on a platform that’s optimized for mobile devices, such as GoFundMe. When you host fundraising events, for example, you’ll be able to take in-person donations, using your phone or tablet as a roving donation station.

Since a huge portion of social media interaction is done within apps on mobile devices (rather than on computers), any shared link to your fundraising page will be viewed on a phone by a good portion of your intended audience. Both your crowdfunding platform and its donation process must be easy for anyone using a smartphone or other mobile device.

Surprisingly, 80% of fundraising pages on other platforms aren’t designed or optimized for mobile devices. When picking a crowdfunding platform, make mobile optimization a must-have.

4. Time to focus on Generation Z

For the past few years, people in fundraising have focused on reaching Millennials, but there’s a new generation entering the workforce. Generation Z shares some characteristics with Millennials, including a desire to do good in the world. But unlike Millennials, they’ve never known life without the Internet. That makes for some unique habits.

How can you make your crowdfunding campaign appeal to Gen Z?

Generation Z uses a greater variety of devices and social media platforms than previous generations, and they use them near constantly: 95% use YouTube daily, 78% use Snapchat daily, and 66% use Facebook daily. Since your odds of reaching Generation Z are greater on YouTube and Snapchat, you’ll need to add those platforms to your social media strategy and approach. For example, post all the videos you make for your fundraiser to YouTube, and consider creating a YouTube channel for your organization or cause.

5. Play with influencer marketing

Millennials and Generation Z may be even more adverse to ads than older generations, but they tend to be open to endorsements and recommendations from people they trust. In fact, 63% of Generation Z prefers to see real people in ads instead of celebrities.

How can you put your cause in front of young influencers?

Instead of using traditional advertising or trying to get a big celebrity to promote your campaign, look for niche celebrities (people who are famous in online communities associated with a specific interest or passion). Another tactic is to connect your cause with social influencers, each with his or her own community of fans. Connect with influencers who relate to your cause, in the hope that they’ll share it with their followers. For example, the hugely popular Twitter account We Rate Dogs regularly tweets out links to dog campaigns, which usually end up reaching their goals. You can visit the We Rate Dogs site for more information about being considered for sharing.

6. Revive email communication

Social media used to be an ideal place for companies to reach new audiences—but it’s getting harder to get noticed. Organic reach on Facebook, for example, fell 52% in 2016 and continues to fall. The problem? Too many posts means too little space to capture people’s attention.

How can you boost your campaign’s reach with email?

With social media reach down, bring email back into the mix. Email communication is enjoying a resurgence (especially with GenX and Boomers). Tune up your fundraising email strategy: Write thoughtful, personalized emails to friends, families, and local reporters to drum up awareness. of your cause.

For help read Use These Email Templates to Reach Your Goal Faster.

7. Disappearing content (aka ephemeral content)

Several social media platforms have invested in this feature, in which content deliberately “times out” after a set point. Although ephemeral content is short-lived (with an average lifespan of around 24 hours), it can still make a big impact—maybe because it tends to come across as authentic and prompts people to take immediate action.

What’s the best way to use disappearing content when crowdfunding?

This is one of the more cutting-edge crowdfunding trends. The bottom line is that disappearing content creates a sense of urgency. If something is only visible for a fixed amount of time, people feel more compelled to see it before it’s gone. Experiment with Snapchat and Instagram stories, or host a timed social media contest. For how-tos, check out How to Run a Successful Social Media Contest in Six Steps.

Tap into these trends, and your fundraiser could go viral

Now that you know how to take advantage of 2018’s rising online fundraising trends, you’re ready to launch your crowdfunding campaign. For more guidance, check out these great fundraising tips and discover more in-depth resources through the GoFundMe blog.

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Paige Kutilek

About Paige Kutilek

I'm keen on creating meaningful and thoughtful content that will have an impact. I'm a dedicated individual with a creative touch who is always eager to learn more. Lover of cats, avocados, and tea.

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