Posted by Lisa Thompson


A word to the wise: Don't let your marketing strategy stay stuck in 2016.

Of course, the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to look back at what worked, evaluate what didn’t and decide what you want to repeat from the previous year—but while you’re at it, be sure to set your sights on what marketing experts predict will be highly effective going forward.

Chances are good some of these are already on your radar, but keep these five predicted marketing trends in mind as you set your focus on the future and plan your organization’s marketing strategy for 2017.

  1. Increase in mobile fundraising.

    Litmus reports that 56% of activity on mobile is dedicated to checking emails. There’s been a marked increase in mobile activity over the past few years and pretty much everyone expects this trend to continue. According to the 2016 Nonprofit Benchmarks study, 13% of online gifts were made from mobile devices—a number that likely reflects both user preference and the nonprofit industry’s adoption of mobile optimization best practices. This will continue to increase in 2017. What does this mean? If you haven’t already, you should shift your mindset to a “mobile first” one. Yes, your users are finding you on their mobile devices. If you’re not catering your website, content, ads and online experience to a mobile user, then you are missing a massive opportunity.

  2. Increase in email fundraising.

    Nope, it’s not dead. Not even close. With 4.4 billion email accounts worldwide today, experts are predicting that email marketing will become the single most important force driving online giving. In 2015, email revenue grew by 25%, which is faster than the 19% overall rate of online revenue growth (2016 M+R Benchmarks Study). Particularly important for the nonprofit to understand, however, is that the way consumers interact with email continues to evolve. As mentioned above, “mobile first” should be your mantra when it comes to email. Your messages must be optimized for mobile devices, or you could seriously miss out on significant revenue. According to M+R Benchmarks’ 2016 findings, “for every 1,000 fundraising emails delivered in 2015, nonprofits received $44 in revenue.” Put another way, a single fundraising email landing in an inbox raised an average of 4.4 cents.

  3. Live streaming video.

    Explosive growth in live streaming remains high on the content marketing radar in 2017, and nonprofit marketers are beginning to understand the power of live streaming video to share stories and engage in conversations with their audiences. Simply put, live streaming humanizes your nonprofit. Many organizations are now going live to broadcast events, to make important announcements and to check in with their followers on a consistent basis. In 2017, your nonprofit could also benefit from exploring the various streaming video tools on the market—including Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope and Instagram Stories to name a few. Live streaming is a great way to connect and engage with your online community in real-time.

  4. Influencer marketing.

    What’s more effective than you explaining to prospective supporters why they should embrace your organization? A lovable social media personality doing the same thing. Using a trusted outside voice to endorse your nonprofit and/or mission is called influencer marketing, and it’s on the rise. People tend to trust recommendations from others whom they see as thought leaders. The right influencers can establish credibility for your organization, and you can expect influencer marketing to take on a larger role moving forward. A good place to start if this is something new to you: Identify thought leaders and influencers who would make effective brand ambassadors for your organization, and begin building relationships with them this year.

  5. The rise of digital payments on social media.

    In the U.S., nonprofits can directly accept digital payments inside of Facebook. Donors simply enter and save their credit card once, and then every donation made on Facebook thereafter can be completed with two taps on a smartphone or two clicks of a mouse. Facebook has released their donation capability in the U.S. first because Facebook can use the GuideStar database to easily verify a nonprofit’s legal status, but in time Facebook donations will likely spread throughout the globe. Facebook owns Instagram, so expect that digital payments may come soon to Instagram as well. Twitter and Square are working together on $Cashtags. YouTube has donation cards. Snapchat has Snapcash. Transferring money and online giving will continue to get easier, more seamless and hassle-free, perfectly matching the impulsive nature of social media users.

Also: Expect to see video marketing continue to rise in popularity, so keep shooting, editing and posting content that tells your story and moves supporters to adopt your mission. And if you haven’t yet, consider adding personalization to your email and content marketing. Rather than casting a wide net with the same message for everyone, personalizing your messages by segmenting your audiences will ensure that the right message gets to the right people at the right time.

Whether you need help or support with email marketing, your social media strategy or even a more robust website with a better ability to engage your supporters, Firespring has a team of marketing experts that can get you on the right path for 2017 and beyond. Call 877.447.8941 to learn more or request a free demo today.


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