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3 Must-Know Trends & 1 Prospect Research Tip for Moving your Mission Forward this Giving Season

September 27, 2022

With the start of Giving Season just around the corner, we’ve pulled together some tips on trends and prospect research tricks to help you make the most of this year’s giving season and move your mission forward. After all, as Classy.org reports, non-profits acquire 10X more donors on Giving Tuesday compared to an average day and 30% of annual donations come in between Giving Tuesday and New Year’s Eve. There’s no time like the present to fine-tune your fundraising efforts. Here’s what you need to know.

1.    Forget One-Size-Fits All Events

While in-person events have resumed now that the pandemic is behind us, the demand for virtual options hasn’t waned. Just as people want hybrid and virtual work options, they want the same flexibility for fundraising events. In fact, Classy’s State of Modern Philanthropy 2022 report reveals that virtual events had higher satisfaction ratings than in-person ones.

  • 96% of virtual event attendees said it was a good or excellent experience
  • 42% indicated preferring to attend “from the comfort of my home”
  • 24% said it gave them a change to support a charity that they didn’t live near

The only reported detractors for virtual events were poor registration experiences and the lack of a mobile app. Since Giving Season comes at the same time as flu and COVID variant season, providing a mix of in-person and virtual options—or going hybrid—enables everyone the opportunity to participate in events to move your mission forward.

2.    Offer More Payment Options

Did you know that average one-time donations are nearly 1.5X greater when digital payment options are provided? And it’s not just a generational trend. Digital natives like Zoomers and Millennials expect the ability to donate from smart devices using Venmo, Cash App, and other digital payment apps. But increasingly, Gen-X and Baby Boomers appreciate the convenience and security offered by digital payments.

Expanding the payment options available to donors gives your fundraising a real boost. For example, the Classy Modern Philanthropy report cited earlier also uncovered a 30% increase in donation size when PayPal was an option.

3.    Boost Giving with Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising has grown at a rapid pace in recent years. Unlike physical peer-to-peer events like sponsored walks or other activities, digital-first peer-to-peer events use social media and livestream video, encouraging individuals to fundraise via their social networks on behalf of a non-profit.

Events generate energy among your donors; peer-to-peer helps you maintain fundraising momentum. You can capitalize on this burst of enthusiasm by encouraging peer-to-peer fundraising after the event. According to the Classy Fundraising Event Experience Report, 33% of attendees are inspired to fundraise on behalf of the organization after attending an event.

Even without association with a physical event, like a walkathon, digital peer-to-peer fundraising is powerful. The 2022 Digital-First Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study reports that:

  • 44 non-profits generated $154.9 million from digital-first peer-to-peer fundraising programs in 2021, reflecting 30% growth over 2020 numbers
  • Digital peer-to-peer is growing at 9X the rate of physical or hybrid fundraising

Why is this approach so effective? Trust has been hard to come by for institutions in recent years, but people tend to trust their own networks of family, friends, and social media acquaintances. You shouldn’t underestimate the power of social proof, especially when trusted connections, influencers or celebrities are involved.

Digital peer-to-peer can have incredible results. Take the Gaming for Good trend covered in our 2022 Trend Report for Development Professionals. “This time five years ago, streamers were making thousands of dollars for charities. These days, they’re easily raising six-to-seven figure sums” writes VentureBeat. The proof: Two well-known streamers held a streaming event on Twitch for Action Against Hunger. They raised $11.5 million in just three days.

People who take part in peer-to-peer fundraising also become more invested in moving the mission forward. This creates a sense of ownership that aids in retention and keeps your donors energized in between major fundraising campaigns.

4.    Expand Your Prospect Research Source Types

Most development professionals depend on public records for prospect research, but that isn’t the only type of information that adds value. What else can supply insights you need to turn prospects into committed donors?

  • News: With all the attention being paid to ESG (environmental, social, governance) and CSR (corporate social responsibility), the news can be a great resource for finding corporate donors whose ESG or CSR commitments align with your mission.
  • Company and executive data: Did you know that 26+ million people work for companies with matching gift programs? Unfortunately, an estimated $6-$10 billion in matching gift program funds go unclaimed every year. With a source of company and executive data, you can create executive lists for campaigns targeting companies with corporate matching opportunities.

Want to further explore how you can move your mission forward? Learn more about Nexis® for Development Professionals