4 Ways the Nonprofit Sector Will Evolve in 2021
Posted on March 24, 2021
Just like the other sectors, COVID-19 has turned the nonprofit sector on its head. With around 5-10% of the US economy and 10% of the US employment dependent on nonprofit services, the pandemic has only made the country realize the power of this sector. And for good!
However, the way it has evolved during these unprecedented times is commendable. The nonprofit sector has, thus, given a path to a few trends that have made their way into 2021 and will continue to hold a firm grasp.
In this guide, we will dive deeper to understand 4 ways the nonprofit sector will evolve stronger in 2021.
1. Nonprofit Sector Will Turn Digital & Virtual
Because COVID seemed to be in no mood to leave us alone, the nonprofits eventually shifted from in-person to virtual events. While this shift was expected to be short-lived, the news is that it will continue over 2021 and beyond.
That’s precisely because digital events succeeded in blurring the geographical barriers, letting people (who otherwise wouldn’t have) participate.
Further, the lack of in-person volunteering has and will continue to make the virtual aspect of nonprofit marketing outshine the previous methodologies. This means that nonprofits will (have to) incorporate live-streaming, curate content for live events, install chat apps and promote virtual volunteerism.
This move will eradicate the largest barrier to volunteering i.e. volunteers citing busy schedules as an excuse. Volunteering from the comfort of their homes, thus, gives people their own space to bring about a difference in their own way.
Not just this, the focus will also shift a little more on digital communication, be it for meet-and-greets, fundraising, or likewise.
We might also see an evolution of virtual events. Here’s why!
Post a recent study from the Goodman Center that pointed out how 65% of the respondents raised concerns regarding videoconferences adding up to their fatigue, fear of virtual fundraising events becoming difficult cropped up alongside.
For example – For nonprofits that offer educational services, videoconferencing is not the best source.
Thus, the virtual event market is likely to experience a seachange and new tools will be introduced to support the online programs. This will enhance the experience of the attendees and donors.
2. High-Tech Technology Will Help Nonprofits Find Their Donors
Nonprofits will delve into high-tech solutions like
- Artificial Intelligence
- Blockchain for Fundraising
- Outcome Management
- Enhanced Communication
This will be done to find the right donors.
For Example Direct mails or social media conversations are the primary mode of communication for nonprofits to target their potential audience.
However, these are still too basic to make an impact. AI is expected to wave its magic wand and introduce tools like automation which will personalize the messages along with reducing the effort while increasing the impact. Cool, right?
But how can these tools be managed?
Well, it’s simple! These tools can be added through managed cloud services, thereby letting the nonprofits boost their services whenever needed.
With tools like chatbots, AI can really turn the tables in terms of conducting better and brighter campaigns/events; be it serving the community in whatever way.
Long story short, nonprofits will enhance their communication using the latest technology.
Mobile, for one, will become a hotshot in 2021; thanks to the mobile marketing techniques that are impressively improving at an exponential rate.
According to research from the Blackbaud Institute, mobile donations represented 26% of all online donations in 2019, up from just 9% in 2014.
Giving Tuesday has seen $2.47 billion in donations in 2020 which is much higher than $1.97 billion in 2019. It is interesting to note that most of these donations have been through mobile.
3. Nonprofits Will See More Partnerships, Mergers, and Joint Ventures
As every business does, even nonprofit organizations tend to grow their branches into different areas where they can expand their programs. While they have the resources to carry out the expansion of operations, they don’t really have the right knowledge to do so. A human can only know so much, after all!
Because a single entity can’t have all the specializations, taking into consideration the technological and demographic shifts, 2021 will see nonprofits forming joint ventures, mergers, and partnerships.
In other words –
- Some nonprofits will enter into strategic partnerships with other nonprofit organizations.
- Some nonprofits will form joint partnerships with for-profit organizations.
- Some nonprofits will consider mergers, either with other nonprofit or for-profit entities.
In 2021, we’ll witness nonprofits having concrete conversations regarding this with one another and also with the corporations to make a better impact.
Not just this, but many nonprofits are attuned to both private and public organizational goals and needs. This will make them create more public-private partnerships in 2021.
4. Grantmaking Will Become More Collaborative
Even before COVID-19 gave us all a blow, nonprofits were witnessing a shift in the grants process. Everybody related to this industry knows how crucial grants as resources are for nonprofits to fund and boost services that are offered to the communities.
But nobody worked towards making the grant process easier even after knowing how cumbersome it is for both the grantor and the grantee.
However, last year, we all saw how traditional grantmaking succumbed to pressure. This was because the demand for funds exponentially increased and grantors hustled to get grants out faster.
It is indeed commendable that nonprofits and Grantmakers could collectively raise their concern regarding this issue after all these years, thus coming up with a solution.
For Example: Outbound Funds Module is an open-source product that was built to help organizations disburse funds quickly and easily.
To enhance the collaboration between grantors and grantees, salesforce.org has built Grants Management as a complement to Outbound Funds. This has improved the grants experience right from the step of applying for the application to its distribution to its reporting.
Another example is The Malala Foundation. It records donor interactions through Grant Management and takes supporters on a convenient ride – right from the first step of initial conversation to the last step of donating. This not only lets them have an insight into how the donor’s journey has been but also the zeal to improve since they have the loopholes.
Thus, the relationship between grantors and grantees is likely to turn less transactional and more collaborative in 2021.
Some key changes that will be introduced are –
- Better processes
- Higher transparency
- More feedbacks
With the world adapting to the new normal after the pandemic, it is only natural that people will adapt to the changes introduced in the nonprofit sector.
Because the world demanded it, even iConnectX as a brand revamped itself and now offers all nonprofits a digital platform and the right technology to hold virtual events, raise funds, carry out auctions, and more.
The thing is one can’t really lag when there’s a shift in the needs of the community.
Nevertheless, all the trends that are bound to evolve in the nonprofit sector will only give it a push to achieve newer and better heights. Even though it might seem difficult to replace the personal touch of a call, technology will soon take over, turning automation into the new “personal.”
It’s all subjective.
In case you are struggling or ever struggle dealing with the digitalization/virtualization of nonprofits or any of the points discussed above, remember iConnectX is just a live chat/call away.