Taken from Charity Digital Charity Digital - Topics - Top fundraising trends for 2023

The pandemic changed the nature of fundraising. It undermined old assumptions, ended long-standing traditions, and paved the way towards a brighter and more digital fundraising future. Charities found some sense of stability in 2022 – at least compared to previous years – but new challenges are on the horizon and charities will need to find new solutions to meet such challenges. So, without further ado, let’s look at the fundraising trends that are set to define 2023.


The importance of income streams amid a cost-of-giving crisis  

The cost-of-living crisis will likely continue for at least another year with some economists projecting that inflation (a key driver in the cost-of-living crisis) will reach 18% by late 2023.

The so-called cost-of-giving crisis is a direct result of the above. The increases in the price of fuel, energy, and everyday items will impact the charity sector, with 55% of the public stating that their financial situation makes it harder to donate. Charities need to mitigate against a funding shortfall.

One key trend in 2023 will be income diversity, the need for charities to find various ways to raise funds, not simply relying on tried and tested (and often diminishing) channels.

Charities need to increase the number of income streams. Sufficient income diversity means that, if a charity’s main source of income diminishes or vanishes, the charity can continue operations and still meet the demands of service users. The cost-of-giving crisis demonstrates the importance of income diversity, as one source of income may well start to run dry for many charities.

Charities should start by assessing their current income streams, looking at the risks associated with each, and broadly deciding on the need to diversify. If diversification is urgent, there are many income streams that might prove beneficial to your fundraising. Consider, for example:

In-person events are well and truly back

In-person events bring myriad benefits. They allow better networking and socialising. Just the simple act of reading someone’s body language vastly improves the social connection, for example, especially when compared to the virtual.

In-person events also build trust and transparency, as in-person communication tends to ensure longer lasting relationships. In-person events allow attendees to better engage with the content – in-person attendees don’t nip out to make tea, for example.

All these benefits are vital – and show why charities have shifted back towards in-person events. It’s important, however, not to forget about the virtual. Virtual events provide various benefits, such as:

  • Overcoming geographical limitations

  • Increasing reach through ease of access

  • Limiting costs on travel and other expenditure

  • Amplifying voices that may feel more comfortable over screen

  • Individual digital interactivity that may be more difficult in-person

So, yes, in-person events are back, but charities should strive to include some virtual element. That does not necessarily mean an entirely hybrid event, but perhaps sharing some of the content, encouraging engagement on socials, livestreaming certain sessions, and so on.


Flexible giving unlocks more donations 

Digital payments expert, PayPoint, commissioned research that found that nearly two thirds (64%) of people who make regular donations to a charity would welcome the flexibility to change the amount they donated and when. Flexible giving is exactly that: donations freed from strict rules, allowing donors to alter and change depending on their circumstances, often with a click of a button.

Flexible giving is essential in the age of uncertainty. The cost-of-giving crisis mentioned above may lead many people to stop donating, realising they need to prioritise everyday essentials. They may not sign up to donate again once the economy gets into better shape, perhaps only because they forgot.

Flexible giving frees up the space to minimise donations during harder periods, maximise donations when things are going well. Danny Vant, Client Services Director at PayPoint, explains why it’s important: “As people’s disposable income fluctuates, it’s natural that their ability to make charitable donations will also ebb and flow. So, providing them with practical digital solutions to simply change their monthly donation is an easy way for charities to facilitate increased donations in the long run.”

Charities need to give donors flexible options. Individual charities will have various ways to permit flexible giving, such as allowing donors to regularly revise the recurring rate, using digital payment technology that allows easy changes, or working with various apps on the market. Either way, flexible giving will become more important in the future, so it’s worth getting on board early.


Gaming for Good goes from strength to strength 

We noticed the trend grow in 2022. We published even more articles, covering the landscape throughout the year, the best platforms that gamers should use, the charities paving the way, and so much more. Gaming for Good has become mainstream – and that growth is likely to continue.

Take Gaming Without Borders, for example. The Gamers Without Borders event is a long series of tournaments taking place around the world involving teams of gamers. It launched in 2020 and now offers a £8.2m ($10m) prize for the winners, which they then donate to good causes of their choice.

The event shows the potential that Gaming for Good brings and shows how much it can raise when done well. And, of course, Gaming for Good is a form of fundraising that most charities have not yet embraced – so it might provide necessary funds during the tough times ahead. It is one option for charities hoping to diversify their fundraising streams, to find new avenues of fundraising.

And it’s easy, too. It’s largely on streaming. Gamers switch on consoles, pick favourite games, and play. Share that game with an audience. Friends, strangers, other gamers, maybe even the occasional nemesis will tune in to watch the player in action, usually on a popular platform called Twitch.

Gamers can easily add donation buttons to their streams, asking the audience to donate. Perhaps the audience put down a bit of money when the gamer does something impressive, or even says something funny or enlightening. Perhaps the audience give money when the gamer makes a mistake, loses a life, or falls over, a form of sympathy fundraising that we certainly encourage.

Gaming for Good is a fun and simple way to raise money. Charities needing a new fundraising stream should look to their consoles, check out the best platforms, and start your gaming journey.


Time to use the right social media 

Here is an intriguing statistic: projections for social media use estimates the average adult will spend 6 years and 8 months of their life on social media. It is a fact of life that charities, regardless of shape and size, need to have some form of social media presence.

Our advice: focus on the right social platforms. And that means thinking about who you want to engage with, the demographics you want to reach, the people you want to convert into donors. You need to pick the platforms that best suit the above criteria. Do your research and find out about the demographics you want to reach. Consider the following information, for example:

Pick the best platform for your needs, then work out the rules of that platform. Each platform has official rules that you need to follow. You need to familiarise yourself with the rules, simply to understand how the platform works. And, importantly, work out the unwritten rules and trends.

That means thinking about some – or perhaps all – of the following questions: 

  • How many posts should you do per day?

  • What are the best times to post content?

  • What content might be most effective on the site?

  • Are you going to use images? GIFS? Videos? Memes?

  • Should you engage with digital partners?

Email marketing once again dominates

Email marketing results in one-third of online fundraising revenue, according to Salsa. Organisations are six times more likely to get a click-through from an email than they are from Twitter. Three in five marketers claim that email is their greatest return on investment (ROI), according to platform Emma.

In short, emails are essential. They offer huge opportunities for charities, particularly with regards to fundraising. Strong email marketing allows charities to make an optimised appeal to hundreds or thousands or millions of potential donors, all with a little preparation and the swift click of a button.

The potential for email marketing is huge. To make the most of email marketing, charities should utilise effective email marketing software. The benefits of decent email marketing software include greater performance, more control over campaigns, better targeting, and so on. And email marketing software is not particularly costly, either.

In 2023, as email marketing continues to move forward, as it has done for years, we advise charities to invest wherever possible. For more information, check out: The best email marketing software on the market.