Convio Predicts Key Trends for the Nonprofit Sector in 2012

Social and Mobile Gaining Momentum;
Personalized Engagement Becoming Necessity

Nonprofit software vendor Convio has announced its key predictions and expected trends that will have the biggest impact on the nonprofit sector in 2012: social and mobile continuing to mature; peer-to-peer engagement having greater influence; and donors dictating terms of interaction.

“Successful nonprofits must continuously adapt to changes in consumer expectations and opportunities presented by new media and technologies,” said Vinay Bhagat, founder and chief strategy officer for Convio. “Respecting donor communication preferences and leveraging low cost channels and outreach strategies to their full potential are critical success factors.”

Key Predictions and Trends for the Nonprofit Sector in 2012

Online and New Media Channels Will Continue To Extend Their Influence:

  • Based on Convio’s 2010 holiday giving survey, online fundraising was up 40 percent from 2009. Online will continue as the fastest growing giving channel.
  • Online’s influence outside of transactions is growing as older donors engage in web-based communications and advocacy.
  • Acceleration in new media channels and devices (social and mobile) will have significant increase in material importance for nonprofits. For example, recently a Convio client found that 15 percent of direct respondents to a specific TV campaign accessed the nonprofit’s website via a mobile device.

Peer-to-Peer Engagement Will Play An Expanded Role:

  • Direct communications by nonprofit organizations will have less impact on the giving decisions of donors than in years past.
  • Donors will increasingly rely on referrals and guidance from friends, family and co-workers to make decisions, particularly the younger generations.
  • Nonprofits will want to tap their most vocal and loyal supporters to be active promoters.

Donor Fatigue Will Be More Pronounced:

  • Information overload will continue as individuals receive mail, email and other communications from marketers with increasing intensity, making it challenging for nonprofits to have their messages heard.
  • Text messages, RSS feeds, tweets and Facebook posts only compound the problem.
  • Tailored communications that resonate with donors will be critical.

Supporters Want To Control Their Experience:

  • Nonprofit supporters want to be able to define and customize how they are communicated to (e.g. go paperless, set frequency of emails and filter for content).
  • The burden of expectation for nonprofits is being set by the for-profit sector.

Integrated Marketing Will Rise To New Heights:

  • Multi-channel marketing will have an increasingly significant role in driving integrated marketing tactics as nonprofits rely more on various channels to deliver their communications.
  • Strategic communication efforts that are consciously coordinated, orchestrated, and targeted – based on particular audience segments and their individual preferences – will become more prevalent.

“The macro economy in 2012 will certainly continue to pose challenges for fundraisers, and in the United States the presidential election will likely play a role in the mindshare game. This only increases the need for nonprofits to adapt to changing consumer preferences and to capitalize on new opportunities,” said Bhagat. “Greater emphasis on strategy, organizational alignment and process design will be applicable to all nonprofits, large or small. Essentially, being more sophisticated and savvy when it comes to supporter engagement won’t be just a ‘nice to have’ – it will be a necessity.”