Top 4 Priorities Nonprofits Must Tackle in 2024

2023 was an important year in fundraising.

The year brought a sense of relief and excitement for a return to in-person fundraising. And nonprofits didn’t disappoint. You proved to be as innovative, fearless, and resilient as ever – always focused on pushing your missions forward!

So what does 2024 hold? While there’s palpable excitement for what’s to come in the world of fundraising in 2024, nonprofits face growing challenges when it comes to donor acquisition and retention.

We conducted a survey to better understand how fundraising has evolved and how nonprofit priorities are shifting. The results are based on an online survey of 939 nonprofit professionals from a wide cross section of nonprofit sizes, budgets, and industries.

Join us as we share the results and dive into the top 4 priorities nonprofits must tackle in 2024:

Donor Fatigue

Donor fatigue was the top challenge nonprofits faced in 2023, with 87% of survey respondents identifying it as a struggle. It’s no secret that the past few years have been hard for both nonprofits and donors. Donor fatigue is real. It’s a challenge for causes of all sizes – and seeing how it moved up from ranking number two in 2022 to number one in nonprofit challenges this year, it’s not going away.

To be able to address donor fatigue, you first have to be able to identify it. Let’s walk through a few signs of donor fatigue:

  • Decrease in number of donations: While a single appeal that performed below average doesn’t necessarily indicate donor fatigue, a pattern of decline is a red flag.
  • Smaller donation amounts: Some individuals may continue to support your mission, but just in smaller donations. This could also be a tell-tale sign.
  • Unresponsive to communications: If your emails, phone calls, and direct mail continue to go unanswered, this may be a sign that donors are fatigued.

Now that you can identify what donor fatigue may look like, dig into the why behind these patterns. Common causes of donor fatigue include:

  • Lack of follow up: In life, the feeling of being unappreciated or undervalued deteriorates relationships – the same goes for a nonprofit’s relationship with its donors!
  • Consistently negative messaging: If the only messaging that your donors hear from you heartbreaking stories about a world that needs their help, they can quickly begin to feel helpless and shut down.
  • Personal circumstances: At times, donor fatigue has nothing to do with the nonprofit at all – it may be the donor’s own personal circumstances or finances that are preventing them from supporting their favorite cause further.

So, how do you address this donor drag in 2024?

Share the Impact

Don’t stop engaging your supporters after they’ve pressed the ‘Donate’ button. Share how their support is changing the world! Break it down into specific dollar amounts when possible.

  • Your $50 donation sent Samantha to summer camp.
  • Your $75 fed a family of 4 for a week.
  • Your $150 provided food for the entire animal shelter for one day.

Include pictures when you can to further personalize and humanize your messaging.

Host Events Just for Fun

It’s important to engage with your donors for fun – not just for fundraising! Volunteer and donor appreciation events are a great way to combat donor fatigue.

  • Host a party with food, drinks, and mingling.
  • Incorporate fun activities such as a raffle to encourage further participation.
  • Create experiences or programming to let them know how appreciated they are.

Give Recognition Early and Often

Prompt and meaningful donor recognition can help lay the foundation for a stronger connection. Here are our favorite ways to say thanks:

  • Donor Wall
  • Handwritten Thank You Letter
  • Social Media Shoutout
  • Appreciation Video
  • Celebration Event

Now that you know what donor fatigue looks like, what causes it, and how to address it, you’re on your way to combatting it in the new year.

Donor Engagement

Donor engagement was identified as the secondary challenge nonprofits faced, but there are always ways to remedy that, especially coming into 2024. The new year is the perfect opportunity to focus on deepening donor relationships and getting supporters to take their participation with your mission to the next level.

Donor relationships are not one-size-fits-all. Based on the foundation you’ve built with each donor, you will need to determine what move to make to take deepen their connection to your cause.

Here are a few examples of ways to deepen your relationship with four main types of supporters:

  1. Casual donors: These donors may be primed and ready to take their commitment higher with a donation that supports a specific initiative that they’re passionate about.
  2. Loyal supporters: The next step may be for loyal supporters may be to volunteer for your organization, such as a scheduled monthly activity or special event.
  3. Donors with large influence: Individuals with deep connections in your community or a large social following would make amazing Ambassadors for your cause.
  4. Highly involved individuals: These individuals may have a talent or skill that would make them perfect candidates to serve on a committee or even your Board of Directors.

The key to deepening donor relationships is to find a way for your supporters to engage with your organization on a more emotional level, outside of donating or being asked for a gift. Bring them in – let them experience your mission in different ways, and watch your mission fly in 2024!

No matter what the next step is for your donors, be sure to say thank you and showcase why their support matters!

Nothing helps foster donor engagement more than showing them the impact that their donations are having. And show them in. real human terms or with numbers, stats, and quantifiable results. This year, make the time to invite your supporters to see their impact in action, with these surefire ideas:

  • Take donors on a tour of your space or facility. Virtual or in real life.
  • Invite them to a program that they are helping support.
  • Introduce them to someone who has been personally impacted by their donation.
  • Share a video story of how and where their support made a difference.
  • Unveil plans or roadmaps about the future – how you plan to grow even more impact!

However you choose to showcase their impact, make it personal and authentic – don’t be afraid to make the experience exceptional for your donors. The more they understand how they are affecting change, the more engaged they will feel with your mission throughout the rest of the year.

Recurring Giving

Eighty-three percent of survey respondents identified recurring giving as a challenge in 2023. Recurring giving makes it easy to generate more support for your nonprofit with less work –  which is why nonprofits of all shapes and sizes are putting an emphasis on recurring giving in 2024.

According to the 2023 Giving Experience Study, 4 out of 10 lapsed social donors had donated again. They just need to be asked and inspired to do so! Let’s break it down into those to steps – the ask and the inspiration.

  • The ask: Make sure the opportunity for recurring giving is known! Aside from giving it a prominent feature on your website or donation form, make a list of your loyal, long-term donors and ask them to upgrade to be a monthly donor.
  • The inspiration: Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools in your nonprofit’s arsenal. Use your mission, impact, and history as the hook that connects your reader to your nonprofit and makes them feel compelled to give on a monthly basis. Every good story has a hero – while your nonprofit is doing incredible work for your mission, it’s all made possible by the generosity of your donors. Make them the hero of your story – every time.

Equally important as having the right recurring giving strategy is having the right technology to inspire ongoing generosity.

The all new OneCause Fundraising Platform offers donation forms that were built to capture and encourage recurring donations. You can even create different recurring giving levels to:

  • Provide custom giving amounts based on donors’ desired giving levels.
  • Customize whether the donation is annual, monthly, or weekly.

The platform makes managing recurring donations within the software a breeze. The initial gift is contributed to the specific events proceeds and the remaining recurring gifts are allocated and visible at an organizational level – making it simple for your finance team to track monthly gifts.

To learn more about what makes the OneCause Fundraising Platform different, take a self-guided tour.

Take a Tour

Year-Over-Year Fundraising Growth

Eighty-two percent of survey respondents identified fundraising growth as challenge, making it an important priority to tackle in the new year! The first step to tackle fundraising growth in 2024 is to lay out your vision and goals for the new year. What do you need to accomplish in terms of retention and donor stewardship? What do you need to spread your mission and evangelize a wider audience for your cause?

Just over a quarter (27%) of nonprofits have the data they need to make important planning decisions for the year, but don’t understand how to translate the information into something actionable. Before you create your campaign plans for the year, take some time to dig into your current data and try answering questions like:

  • What is your annual operating revenue (AOR)? What AOR do you need to achieve your goal?
  • What was your donor retention rate last year?
  • How does it track against retention in previous years?
  • How many mid-size and/or major gifts have you received in the past year?
  • How many mid-size or major prospects are you actively cultivating on average?
  • What is your current average donor lifetime value? How does it compare to past years? What can you do to improve this?

Using these insights, lay out a vision for the changes you’d like to see happen in the realms of donor retention, AOR growth, and participant engagement.

Then follow these steps to actively manage and reduce churn to see the best possible results:

  1. Invest in fundraising technology. To make the most of the data you collect, invest in good fundraising software. This planned investment can help you engage more efficiently with donors, run your fundraising efforts more smoothly, and organize the data on hand for you.
  2. Build stronger relationships with your donors. According to the 2023 Giving Experience Study, 75% of event and peer-to-peer donors say they will continue to support an organization in the future. Developing these relationships means going beyond engaging at an event. Go one step further to connect with donors through individualized recognition.
  3. Offer a broader range of long-term engagement options. Make sure your donors have more ways to engage with your nonprofit than making donations. Give them plenty of ways to stay involved including volunteering, events, or sharing on social media.

But don’t forget – you can ask donors for their direct feedback, too! If you host events that your donors are more interested in, the likelihood of them continuing to participate and donate is much higher.

The biggest takeaway: There’s no reason why nonprofits should treat any of the four challenges above of as an unavoidable reality! There are plenty of steps you can take and systems you can put in place to get ahead and move your mission forward.

Wrapping Up

The fundraising landscape in 2024 is poised for fundraising innovation and reinvention.

Now is the perfect time for nonprofits to harness creative fundraising strategies to deepen supporter connections and attract new donors to their cause. To keep the fundraising inspiration going, we’ve gathered a few top resources: