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Nonprofit marketing trends for 2016
January 19, 2016

What technology, innovation, demographic shift, news maker, policy or other force will impact the work we do at Beacon this year and into the future? The Beacon advancement team recently had a discussion and came up with our top 5 nonprofit marketing trends to watch in 2016:

1. We expect the attention to ROI and program outcomes to continue to expand beyond the institutional arena into individual donors’ criteria for gift-making. Donors in both camps will more often be interested in statistical outcomes and the “bang for their buck.”   

The vast majority of donors said that although recognition is appreciated, what they really wanted was more meaningful information and, if they got it, they would continue to give and they would make increasingly generous contributions.

Penelope Burk, Donor-Centered Fundraising

2.  Fast, meaningful, motivational: Images convey more quickly than words the emotions that inspire action. Photos, infographics and short video (60 sec or less) are social-media friendly, and social channels are growing. These visual tools translate well to social media and are appealing to younger donors and new audiences. 

In 2016 we see [use of video and visuals] changing in a big way – largely because Millennials are very pro-video, and gravitate towards organizations that cater to this demand.

Arjuna Solutions, Top 5 Marketing predictions for 2016

3. Elections matter; at all levels they will impact the resources available to end homelessness. The polarization of elected leaders and increasing politicization of previously consensus issues risks progress that nonprofits have made in addressing social concerns. Yet individuals, organizations and movements are tapping new avenues to claim power and mobilize others. For many of these strategies, the strength of one’s networks and capacity to move toward a unified purpose will determine success.

There has been a persistence and vitality in collective action over the past decade that speaks to the power of civil society—not embodied in one nonprofit or foundation, or even a single coalition, but in networks of action that have a unified purpose.

Ruth McCambridge, NPQ’s 9 Important Nonprofit Stories of 2015 (And What They Can Teach Us)

4. People of passion and action, millennial donors and volunteers will continue to lead the conversations about resources and energy invested in nonprofits and philanthropy. Millennials are engaging with justice through service and are giving to organizations that inspire.

Millennials crave openness and access…. Millennials want to build things…. Millennials want to change the world. We are not necessarily motivated by money or power; we are motivated by opportunities to do something meaningful.

Jonathan Kaufman, How to Solve the Puzzle of Millennial Engagement

5. #BlackLivesMatter and other social movements have fostered a national awareness of the racial disparities in our communities, criminal justice system, schools and workplaces. In addition, religious diversity is at top of mind due to election year political rhetoric and worldwide events that raise issues of tolerance and understanding of religious differences. In the nonprofit world there is strong desire to mirror communities served in board, staff and volunteer engagement.

There will be no hiding place for racism, overt or otherwise. The time for giving racism a pass is drawing to an end. This isn’t a matter of being PC, but a new or renewed commitment of this country toward eradicating the vestiges of official, structural, institutional racism.

Rick Cohen as quoted by Ruth McCambridge, NPQ’s 9 Important Nonprofit Stories of 2015 (And What They Can Teach Us)