01.24.23 4 min

8 trends nonprofits need to know in 2023

Natasia Langfelder

Content Marketing Manager

It’s been a wild few years for the nonprofit industry. From rallying the troops for emergency relief in 2020, to navigating new donor behavior in 2021 and juggling emerging digital channels in 2022, nonprofit professionals have had to step outside their comfort zones and try new strategies and tactics to acquire and retain donors. As we head into 2023, we want you to be as prepared as possible to succeed. We’ve outlined the trends coming down the pike for 2023 and beyond.

1. More Nonprofits Will Strive to Implement an Omnichannel Approach

Here at Data Axle Nonprofit, we talk a lot about omnichannel – and for good reason. Becky Johnson, National Senior Vice President, Donor Experience and Direct Response Marketing, American Heart Association, put it best when she said, “The way potential donors consume and respond to messages has changed. There’s a lot more fragmentation and a lot more complexity as you try to catch these people in their online and offline lives.”

It’s crucial that nonprofits work across all channels in order to streamline the constituent journey and maximize engagement. The ultimate goal of an omnichannel strategy is to surround donors, with a unified message, on multiple channels. Multiple touchpoints are important for increasing mission awareness and ultimately driving conversions. Millennials and Gen Z are increasingly active on digital channels and nonprofits need to lean into emerging technologies and channels to reach them.

2. Finding and Attracting Mid-Level Donors

There’s a lot of opportunity to be found in attracting mid-level donors. In fact, we wrote an entire blog on it. Why are mid-level donors important now? Because many nonprofits are seeing a decrease in the number of donors, but an increase in the gift amount per donor. If your organization is looking for ways to capitalize on this increase in giving amount, finding and attracting mid-level donors is a great place to start. Read the full article to learn how to identify mid-level donors and strategies to reach and engage them.

3. The Rise of Donor-Advised Funds

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are getting a lot of hype as we head into 2023. Why are nonprofits eager to reach these donors? Because these philanthropy-minded individuals have the potential to be high value, sustaining contributors to the causes they care about. Despite being around since the 1930s, DAFs grew by 16.3% from 2019 to 2020 alone. They are one of the fastest growing vehicles for giving today.1 If your organization can target and reach out to those individuals, you will be able to plan for additional revenue streams and donor capacity that will allow you to reach your 2023 goals. Especially because DAFs can unlock additional donations outside of current spending and, DAFs do not affect monthly cash out for donors. Want to know more? Learn about DAFs here.

4. CTV Will Continue to Grow in Popularity

Since the start of the 2020 pandemic, CTV and OTT streaming services have breathed new life into the advertising space. More and more consumers are ‘cutting the cord’ and moving to streaming. Advertisers have responded by evolving their marketing strategies to take advantage of this frontier. With streaming giants such as Netflix and Disney+ newly launching commercials, nonprofits need to get in front of this trend before the best inventory is snatched up.

CTV is a great channel, especially for nonprofits. It allows for a higher quality of targeting, has a more efficient planning and buying process and transparent measurement – and we know measurement is always top-of-mind. To learn more about how you can use CTV, read our Defenders of Wildlife case study.

5. The Importance of Attribution for Digital Campaigns

Attribution means knowing which touches drove your donors to contribute and it’s something marketers struggle with, especially given the often-circuitous route to donation that many donors now take. The path towards becoming good at attribution may take time, but it’s worth the investment. Knowing which channels and messages drove donors to actually give is important so that you can recreate the journey and drive more conversions.

The amount and complexity of donor transaction data has increased dramatically over the past decade, and luckily today’s technology allows for the storage and complex analysis of billions of pieces of this data. In addition to this transaction data, free attribution tools, such as Google Analytics’ Model Comparison tool, are bringing the ability to explore digital attribution to all businesses.

Even though there have been improvements in technology, many marketers are still relying on simple forms of attribution, such as “last touch attribution.”2 Such attribution could lead to an erroneous conclusion of what actually drove the revenue, rather than what acted as the facilitator to it. Marketing organizations need to improve their methodologies to more accurately understand which programs are revenue drivers and those that are not.

6. More Clarity Around Retaining Donors, Especially COVID Donors

As the COVID-19 pandemic brought donors out in droves, now is a great time to double down on retaining, and even growing, these donors. Now, in the wake of the initial boost of support, nonprofits are wondering how to keep these donors engaged. As we move into 2023, we can look back on our 2022 data to paint a clearer picture of donor behavior and use that data to inform how we re-engage.

There is opportunity out there for nonprofits who want to put in the work. Our analysis validates that donors acquired during COVID have not been ‘one-and-done’ supporters. On the contrary, their subsequent giving rates in the first year after acquisition have been on par with pre-COVID (2019) newly acquired donors, or better.

7. Direct Mail Will Remain a Critical Channel

Direct mail is still as important as ever, especially in a time of overcrowded email inboxes. Our research shows that 31.2% of people prefer to make donations by mail, and 29.1% of people also said they like to make an online donation after seeing information from another channel. We know direct mail is still a vital part of marketing. Even in 2023, with all this talk of digital and the metaverse, donors appreciate seeing a simple “welcome back” postcard in the mail as correspondence and acknowledgement.

As we enter 2023, we believe nonprofits will benefit from taking a more strategic approach to direct mail in order to make sure their campaigns are reaching their most valuable donors. For example, keeping your house file clean and actionable, segmenting your audience and continuous testing will lead to great results. To learn more, read our article on informed segmentation.

8. Invest in Cooperative Donor Data as Part of Your “Cookie-Resilient” Strategy

As Google eyes deprecating the third-party cookie in 2024, we urge you to utilize your co-op partnerships to the fullest. For example, our donor data co-ops, Apogee and DonorBase, in conjunction with Data Axle’s consumer data can identify prospective donors for acquisition campaigns across all platforms, including direct mail, digital, email or even CTV.

This is where advanced technology really comes into play. The wealth of data assets and infrastructure at Data Axle means better identity resolution. By leveraging all of the Data Axle data sets, nonprofits can truly engage in an omnichannel way not just in a multichannel methodology – while also respecting donor privacy.

Want to chat with one of our experts? Drop us a line.

1 https://www.nptrust.org/reports/daf-report/
2 https://martech.org/time-to-leave-last-touch-attribution-in-the-dust-answer-these-4-questions-first/

Natasia Langfelder

Thanks for reading

Written by Natasia Langfelder, Content Marketing Manager

With a passion for writing and an enthusiasm for data and tech, Natasia creates content designed to deliver nuggets of wisdom to help nonprofits elevate their data governance.