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For most organizations, last year was a time of the unexpected and a time to pivot like never before. Unfortunately, while many nonprofits and ministries were pivoting to survive, the demands for their services were on the increase. Most recognized major changes occurring in their communities and in the entire world—changes that occurred at a pace we could have never anticipated.

All of the changes we have experienced have led us to wonder aloud and ask, what will 2021 bring. Some trends or patterns that will probably continue to be present or develop in 2021 include….

Innovation is a key to success – In order to survive and to thrive, nonprofits and ministries must be innovative. This means we can no longer do the same things “we’ve always done” to get the same results. It simply will not happen. It is time to rethink the strategies that have been used in the past and refine them. Key here is to think about how you can connect donors (individuals, businesses, governments, foundations) to tangible results. Remember, tangible results are why the organization exists.

Everything Virtual – Whether you are tired of virtual meetings and turning your camera on or you are loving it, it is easy to see that connecting virtual is here to stay. Last year, many organizations had to “jump into the deep end” and convert events and activities into virtual events. If your organization did not hold its traditional events last year and is considering not holding them this year, it is time to begin thinking about how to convert them to virtual events. Many organizations are finding that their income from events has risen as they have held events virtually. (Hint: All of the facility charges are significantly reduced with virtual events).

It is time to get comfortable with virtual platforms to increase and sustain engagement with all stakeholders.  

Foundation Funding – When the pandemic hit, many foundations stepped up to increase their grantmaking to meet the community needs. In many instances, they increased their giving levels and expanded their guidelines to give more money than ever before. Giving by foundations is probably not going to continue at the same level as 2020, but giving is going to continue. If your organization is not currently seeking foundation funding, it is time to begin! Develop a plan this year to approach a few foundations.

Need to identify foundations that might be interested in funding your work? Through our partnership with GrantStation, you can purchase an annual subscription for just $75.

Digital Audiences – You are probably getting more eyes on your content. This means you may be having more people reading your electronic newsletters, looking at your social media posts and even visiting your website. Now is the time to make sure your digital content is top-notch. Regular posts, and a regular newsletter will help you stay connected to your donors. Remember, think about the mobile experience since many use their phones almost exclusively.

Donor Segmentation – Many organizations neglect donor segmentation believing they don’t have enough donors to make segmentation worthwhile. Personalization is essential in 2021 as it allows you to recognize that different people have had different experiences throughout the economic and social crises we have all encountered over the last year. Compassion and empathy need to come through in all your communications. Spend time personalizing your interactions with all stakeholders. While it will take more time, donors will appreciate not being lumped in with everyone else and will respond.

What changes are you seeing? Feel free to share them with us!

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