Goodbye 2020 – something I think we’re all happy to say. A new year means new challenges, but it also means the continuation of the old, so in 2021 we’ll see the continued growth of the virtual world as a dominant force in fundraising. In a challenging economic climate, nonprofits need to work harder than ever before to meet their goals – to do so it’s essential to keep up with marketing trends and develop timely strategies. Here are the top online marketing strategies for nonprofits to follow in 2021.

1) Letting AI Do the Work

The application of artificial intelligence has exploded in recent years and in the private sector chatbots are being used to fill many customer-facing roles. Nonprofits can leverage chatbots to fundraise across a variety of platforms, simultaneously reducing the cost of raising money whilst reaching a wider audience.

Chatbots can use AI to identify likely donors and then initiate conversations on social platforms, offering humanistic responsiveness to potential enquiries. Nonprofits need to get on board with chatbots in 2021 to optimize fundraising work.

2) The Rise of Gen Z

Spanning the mid-90s to 2010 as a birth year, “Generation Z” are a new force to be reckoned with. The eldest of this generation are going to be turning 25 in the coming year, placing them at a stage in life when they’re exploring careers and discovering new-found disposable income. Reaching this generation and converting them to donors is an essential strategy for nonprofits in 2021.

Crucially, nonprofits need to fully immerse themselves in virtual strategies to reach this highly digitized generation. Finding ways to tap into zoomer identities through digital strategies will be key in the coming year.

3) The Power of Video

Video marketing offers a way into transparency and authenticity for nonprofits, and offers powerful means for tapping into new audiences through deeper connections. As data network connections grow faster than ever before with the rise of 5G, in 2021 there are no excuses for not offering engaging video content that captures your audience’s hearts and minds.

Thanks to social platforms such as Instagram and Tik Tok, amateur content reigns supreme. In 2021, nonprofits can leverage this by doing away with the high-polish, professional sheen and start producing engaging content off-the-cuff.

4)  Live Stream Fundraising Takes the Centre Stage

2020 forced us into the virtual world more than ever before and it allowed live streaming platforms such as Twitch, previously known best as a home of gaming subculture, to hit center stage. Now, everything from chess tournaments to mental health campaigning take place on this platform so nonprofits need to sit up and take notice of the live streaming trend.

Twitch is essentially a video platform akin to YouTube except that all video is transmitted live. It’s a great place to run events for a wide audience and fundraising campaigns are at home on Twitch.

5) The Rise of Charity Apps

Apps are becoming the dominant platform on which consumers engage with society and the economy, providing a way to do everything from ordering food to finding a mate. In 2021, nonprofits need to be leveraging apps to facilitate fundraising and donations.

These apps are already on the rise and in 2021 marketing through apps will continue to grow. For example, an app called Budge enables users to challenge their friends through the app’s platform, encouraging donations in small yet meaningful ways.

6) Taking Personalization to the Next Level

Nonprofits already know that they need to be making personal connections with donors to maximize their revenue. With more data than ever being made accessible to businesses, personalization is going to be at the center of many online marketing strategies in 2021. Ensuring that communications are personalized to donors will be absolutely key for nonprofits in the coming year.

The Last Word

For nonprofits to thrive in troubled economic times they need to update their marketing strategies. As Generation Z finally comes of age, there’s a huge new market of donors for nonprofits to tap into – if they have the tools. Leveraging video content and live streaming will be essential for nonprofits in the coming year. Let’s make 2021 a good one.

Regina Wheeler is a writer at PhD Kingdom and Next Coursework. She has worked with NGOs and nonprofits as a lead fundraiser and coordinator for two decades, watching trends come and go. She has seen first-hand the importance of adapting to new climates, and now helps other organizations to do so.

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