The leaves are changing color, the beach towels are back in the closet, and summer is receding into memory. That means that we’ve squarely entered the fall fundraising season. Most of our clients are gearing up for the end-of-year fundraising push at the same time they are in the middle of their autumn event season.
In busy times like this it is hard enough to keep pace with the work at hand, let alone look towards the future. Luckily for all of us, the annual Blackbaud Conference for Nonprofits, taking place next week in Nashville, Tennessee, provides a welcome chance to sit down, take stock of the year, and unplug long enough to think about what’s next.
As we look ahead we’re watching three emerging trends in peer-to-peer fundraising that we believe will become a larger part of your world as fundraising professionals in the next several years.
- Data-accelerated segmentation: We all know we need to talk to our segmented groups of constituents differently. For example, most established programs try to send different messages to new donors than to repeat donors. And in fact, the need for segmentation is greater than ever. Our donors and fundraisers are accustomed to getting personalized information in the other parts of their lives, and we need to keep up. What’s changing for nonprofits is the emerging ability to use large-scale data matching to surface new segments that are not immediately apparent to the naked eye. Imagine being able to tailor communications to small niche interests, or to be able to find new sources of revenue by finding hidden linkages between key donors. With the right amount of good quality data the possibilities for segmenting are endless.
- Network mapping: Network maps are the new “it” thing. Web-like graphs of social networks are starting to appear everywhere you look. But for all their trendiness, we have yet to see any nonprofit organizations using network mapping in a meaningful way. That is going to change in the next several years as networking tools get integrated into mainstream technologies. Soon we’ll all be able to quickly (and inexpensively) browse the social circles and connections of our donors.
- Multiple motivations: This summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge was a massive example of how virality can impact fundraising. It has also spawned some hilarious (and sad) attempts at imitation. Most fell far short of the original. The thing is, there is more to virality than simply duplicating an activity. The cause matters, as does the audience. Over the next several years, we’ll see an increase in the sophistication of prediction models as organizations begin factoring multiple dimensions into their forecast models.
Here at Plenty, we have the good fortune, time, and fantastic clients to work at the leading edge of these trends. And next week at bbcon, we’ll explore these three trends in detail at my session, “Emerging Trends in Peer-to-Peer Fundraising” on Tuesday morning at 10:45. I hope you can make it for a fascinating look at where the space is going and what we’ll need to learn and know to succeed on the way.