Congratulations, you’ve made it through another crazy year! As we step into 2016, it’s a time for both reflection and prognostication. Did you accomplish what you wanted to in 2015? Have you set your goals for 2016?


At Abila, we believe there are a few key trends that will have tremendous impact on nonprofits – especially around the topic of fundraising. These trends include: changing giving models, the ongoing evolution and importance of engagement, revenue generation and social entrepreneurship, technology as a collaboration tool, and the election year as opportunity. Let’s dig in.


A Shift in Giving Models: Recent data show the number of actual donors (as a percentage) giving to nonprofit organizations is on the decline, even with actual dollar amounts continuing to rise. Nonprofits will need to explore new giving models and look at ways to capitalize on opportunities to both engage donors and solicit funds. One example is to look more closely at foundations as a giving source. Per Giving USA’s most recent report, giving by foundations (as a percentage) is on the rise.


Revenue Generation Will Supplement Donations: Similar to 2015, business-minded tactics will continue to play an influential role for nonprofit organizations as they explore new ways to secure funds to deliver on their mission. Social entrepreneurship and revenue generation will play greater roles versus simply appealing for donations from donors. In other words, organizations will look to alternative revenue generating ideas, like creating inventory to sell items; forging for-profit, corporate partnerships; and potentially subleasing property.


Engagement Crucial to Fundraising Success: Personalization is the new mantra for any organization looking to engage with consumers in meaningful ways – this is no different for nonprofits. With the likes of Amazon, Netflix, and eBay providing a highly customized, segmented, personal experience that keeps individuals engaged and retained, nonprofits will need to explore a very similar strategy to secure the most fundraising dollars from individuals. A focus on tracking, conversation optimization, and segmentation will be essential to fundraising success in 2016.


Technology Integration Drives Collaboration: While the cloud and mobile will continue to receive critical attention from all sectors (and for good reason), integration will play a very key role in technology decisions in 2016. In a recent survey of Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) members, more than 80 percent said integration between their fundraising and accounting software was important. Integration hubs will play a role as technology is used to break down friction between departments, and between organizations and their donors.


Election Year Brings Opportunities: The 2016 election received unprecedented press coverage in 2015, and that news cycle will only heat up going into the election year. Nonprofit organizations whose missions align with key election-year issues (immigration, economy, employment, etc.) have an opportunity to insert themselves into national conversations and gain positive attention by providing a voice of reason and perspective on key issues.


What are you focused on for 2016?