Beyond 2020: Top Nonprofit Tech Trends and Tools

January 13, 2020
10 minutes
Pixelated icons of a chat popup, facebook logo, mouse pointer, cursor, and Twitch logo float over the warped letters 2020 in a pixelated purple technology dream sequence.

Each year brings us shiny new technologies and tech tools that improve our lives, connect us, and take us one step closer to bringing The Jetsons to life. While there are a lot of cool ways technology can improve our personal lives, there are even cooler ways for this technology to help us at work. Automating repetitive tasks? Check! PhD-level data analysis with the click of a button? Yes, please! Technology opens a world of possibilities for nonprofits.

If you're reading this and nodding, but also a little fuzzy on how technology can help you, or why it's necessary, Funraise CEO Justin Wheeler can break it down for you. Here are Justin's suggestions for embracing technology to prepare for the next golden era for charity.

I see more nonprofits than ever laying the groundwork for future success through technology. Here are three ways to effectively adopt technology:
1. Use technology to mine data on your donors so that you engage them in the right ways and at the right times.
2. Give young donors meaningful ways to be involved. If you get this right, they'll not only give you money; they'll raise it for you too.
3. Make sure it's not easier for me to buy socks on Amazon than it is to donate on your website. If I can't read your website from my phone or if your donation form looks like it belongs back in the dialup ages, you won't win here (and I want you to win!)

As you think about which tech trends and tools could help your nonprofit going forward, Funraise has you covered with our list of nonprofit fundraising's top trends and tools worth exploring.

Intelligent Reporting

If you haven't heard, Funraise has a powerhouse reporting feature called Fundraising Intelligence, and it's your new best friend when it comes to strategizing, planning, and forecasting based on actual facts and figures. ...You know, data. Data analysis is lacking in many nonprofits, and the result isn't that that impact isn't made (you are making a world of change, folks!), but that the nonprofit's story isn't being told, or it's being told to the wrong audience.

Because really, data is just a story told in a different language. Fundraising Intelligence is your translator, your campfire storyteller, your nonprofit's poet.


Explore how reporting can help your nonprofit. Log a list of nonprofit-related questions your board or funders have asked but  you have trouble answering. Talk to a Funraise team member to see how clean, clear data can put those answers at your fingertips.

Website Chat Functionality

According to the 2019 Global NGO Technology Report, while 97% of nonprofits in the US and Canada have a website, only 6% offer live chat, the lowest rate worldwide. Website chat functions—either live chat or AI chatbots—are a way for organizations to connect with and better serve their website visitors. In fact, findings from Intercom showed that website visitors are 82% more likely to convert to customers (donors, in your case!) if they’ve chatted with your organization first.

Here’s an example of how awesome website chat functionality can be. Charity: water created a chatbot called Yeshi to educate people about her six-hour walk to get clean water. According to a Chronicle of Philanthropy article, “The conversation with Yeshi is ‘smart,’ meaning she asks and answers questions with a variety of images, maps, text, and videos. Chatbots like Yeshi can provide visual and emotional ways to tell your nonprofit’s story and help people understand the real problems your work addresses and overcomes.” Talk about amazing engagement!

Chatfuel also has a great list of how nonprofits are using messenger bots. Combine this with Funraise's Facebook integration, and you've got yourself a high-converting donation magnet.


Could your nonprofit’s website benefit from chat functionality? Run a test on your website for a month and see how online chat impacts visitor behavior.

Facebook and Instagram Fundraising

Facebook is nothing new. Funraise's Facebook integration is. As Chris Strub, the Giving Day Guy, says, "improved tracking represents a major change for nonprofits who have long been faced with the dilemma of focusing on either Facebook-based fundraising or funneling traffic to their own websites."

Funraise's Facebook and Instagram integrations enable organizations to maximize their peer-to-peer fundraising by increasing revenue and ensuring a sustainable supporter engagement strategy based in our nonprofit-centric donor CRM—no matter the channel.

...In other words, you bring in more $$ by keeping your friends close, and you spend less time manually tracking donations because the info is synced to your CRM.


Try the Facebook integration during your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, and encourage your fundraisers to utilize Facebook and Instagram as a means to increasing visibility. Compare time spent following up on these donations to your typical manual follow-ups.


SMS and online messaging have huge potential for nonprofits. According the 2019 Global NGO Technology Report, 28% of nonprofits use WhatsApp in their communications and fundraising strategy. If you've never messaged your supporters, try Funraise's Text Engagement for direct response fundraising, organizing volunteers, getting the word out during special communications campaigns, and more.


How could SMS or messaging be integrated into your next fundraising or communications campaign? Brainstorm ideas for how this channel could support your campaign’s goals.

App-based Giving

Saying that "Mobile is the future of fundraising" is stating the obvious: Over 50% of your nonprofit's web traffic comes from mobile. It's a fact; the future is already here. Donors use their phones for everything from banking to flight and event check-ins to their jobs.

Funraise has your donors covered with Giving by Funraise, allowing them to manage their donations, review and resend their receipts, and—with one click—email themselves their yearly donation summary for taxes... all from their phones. And that's just the beginning. Look for recurring donation management, payment method updating, and more.


Check into Giving by Funraise for your own donation management, and lead by example when you show your donors how to handle their donations like a boss.

More Nonprofits Will Start Streaming


Nonprofits have been active with social media video in the last couple of years, but even when the pandemic is in our rearview, our prediction is that more nonprofits will get on board the livestreaming fundraising train. With the high potential for incredible exposure and the low drain on resources, live streams through like Streamlabs are expanding nonprofits' digital reach in unprecedented directions. Funraise has an integration that allows for a fully-branded, user-friendly donation experience that collects the donation data so you can view it right in Funraise's platform.  


Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world? And since YouTube is owned by Google, YouTube videos show up at the top of Google search results? Talk about some good SEO for your cause! A report from Animoto found that of all the social media platforms, YouTube is the number one purchase-driving platform. Just think about what that could mean for online donations for your nonprofit!

Given that many people use YouTube as a search engine for finding information, tutorials, and so on, nonprofits are well positioned to share their expertise through informative and entertaining video content. If you need a lil' inspo to get started, check out Best Friends Animal Society's YouTube channel.


Brainstorm some value-added ways your nonprofit can share its expertise while fundraising through live streaming.

Collaborative Software the Whole Team Can Use

The boom in remote work has nonprofits looking for collaborative software and tools that make work for efficient and organized. The 2019 Global NGO Technology Report found that 22% of nonprofits use an online project management tool like Asana or Basecamp. Online project management tools are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s available to nonprofits.

Now is the time to take a look at your systems from end-to-end and find ways to connect and consolidate tech tools for a streamlined, collaborative process that saves you time and money.


Psst! Is your nonprofit looking to upgrade its tools and software? Talk to Funraise about the friendliest, cutting-edge-est nonprofit tools around.

The future is here, nonprofit friend, and it’s bright! By taking advantage of new tech trends and tools your nonprofit can streamline its work, take advantage of new opportunities, and scale its impact.

Mobile phone with donation form and donation charts floating around the phone.Mobile phone with donation form and donation charts floating around the phone.Woman looking at fundraising chart with button to book a call.Yellow shapes in background with donation form in front with stylized text, build an intelligence giving experience.Sparkling star.
Sparkling star.
Start For Free
Sparkling star.Sparkling stars.
Blue shapes.Blue shapes.Blue shapes.