12 Digital Fundraising Terms That Nonprofits Need to Know

December 30, 2023
7 minutes
Hands type on a laptop with a cup of coffee to the right and a phone to the left. Illustrated coins float around. Everything is done in a dark periwinkle shade.

As a fundraiser, what terms are there that you don't know? Based on the way digital fundraising is going in 2024, we've got a few that should be pinging your radar.

These won't necessarily be terms for all the random things that make you go hmmmm, but we didn't promise that, did we? All that's stuff that you can find with a click of your Googler machine. If you haven't had a chance to take a look at our 2024 trends article, we suggest you glance over it; there are some great trends that just need tactical support—which is where these terms come into play.

The terms we've collected are the words behind the ideas that will take your digital fundraising strategies from fighting-for-a-chance to fired-the-fund-up, so tune in and prepare to take action.

1. Search Generative Experience (SGE)

SGE is Google's newest iteration of AI-assisted search feature, designed to upgrade your search results with focused answers to all of your, ahem, interesting queries. AI has been a key factor in answering Google searches for years, but instead of delivering results written by others, SGE tops the results page with AI-generated answers.

For ways that generative AI can help your nonprofit, check out AppealAI, the first nonprofit-focused generative AI tool. And to hear more information about automated AI agents, listen as David Norris breaks it all down on the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast

In short, an agent is capable of doing really complex tasks, multiple tasks, using multiple tools ...to perform tasks on the back end and scrape data from the web for something like community outreach.

2. Giving Experience

Your giving experience, otherwise known as the donation process, is the single most important conversion point in your donor journey. As Funraise's Chief Product Officer, Tony Sasso says,

"This is a make-it-or-break-it technology that too many organizations take for granted. The most critical part of a donor's journey should not be an afterthought."

By taking inspiration from for-profit giants like Amazon as well as for-good powerhouses like Action Against Hunger, you can provide a smoother, more secure giving experience for your donors while increasing your donation form conversion rate by up to 50%. 

3. Convergent Fundraising

What’s a convergent fundraising system? It’s an interconnected set of tools and strategies that work in sync to achieve goals greater than the sum of its parts. Put another way, instead of individual tools in a toolbelt, just waiting to be pulled out, convergent fundraising systems are wheels; each spoke making its contribution throughout the journey.

When you put it all together, what’s the outcome? Yep, moving to a convergent platform could result in you having a greater impact on your community, your constituents, and the world. What more could a nonprofiteer want?

4. Contextual Giving

It's like turning on a neon-bright donate button when your mission is to rid the world of darkness. THIS is how you fight for your right to light—and it wouldn't have the same effect if the donor weren't feeling the effects at the very moment of your ask.

Contextual giving is just that: placing your ask in the form of a donate button as your donors engage with mission-related content, with the result that a donation form pops up on the page where they are already. No navigating to a special donation page, no opening a form on a completely different site, and no impeding the impulse to donate.

5. Surround Sound Fundraising

A surround sound fundraising program, also referred to as "multi-channel" or "omnichannel" fundraising, is a communication strategy designed to authentically tell stories across various media channels—and it fits perfectly into today's fundraising trends due to the way it positions your nonprofit everywhere, all the time. It also ensures a consistent experience for donors when engaging with your organization.

6. Concentric Growth

Concentric growth is all about taking your fundraising program to the next level. We start by pinpointing the key factor for success and then go full throttle in enhancing every stage of your pipeline. Our top priority is to make sure your donation experience is smooth sailing and delivers results. From there, we dive into the exciting realm of identifying opportunities to supercharge and optimize traffic throughout your pipeline.

7. Asset-Based Giving

The mind-blowing potential of stock and asset-based donations has been growing for years, and now the time has finally come for this hidden treasure trove of wealth to burst onto the scene. Companies like DonateStock make this type of non-cash gift easy to give and receive.

8. Giving Crisis

Not a generosity crisis, this season's giving crisis has the average donation size down for many nonprofits due to inflation, donor fatigue, and the grave challenges facing our world. One way to stem the ongoing loss is by focusing on recurring programs—by offering donors an opportunity to support the causes they care about by giving smaller amounts regularly instead of taking a large hit all at once. 

And we're just saying... Funraise organizations grow recurring revenue 52% year over year on average.

9. PCI Compliance

If everything else is covered but your donors' data, you're going to be in a world of hurt, friend. Fraudsters love to pick on nonprofits, and at Funraise, we're not having that. No, Funraise prioritizes the security of your data and payments through world-class infrastructure partners and independent certification processes.

Here's the deets:

Funraise is a PCI Compliant Service Provider and tokenizes all credit card information in a PCI Level 1 certified tokenization vault. Funraise is partnered with Sikich as our QSA and independent security assessor.

10. Multi-Step Forms

You must have seen it earlier: Website visitors who interact with a Funraise donation form complete a donation 50% of the time. And the way we get that done is through multi-step forms

In a multi-step (or multi-page) form, individuals answer questions or provide information in sequential sections. Each step typically focuses on a specific set of questions or information, and individuals progress through the steps one at a time.

It's easier on the eyes and the brain than a big ol' wall o' fields—and an easy giving experience means more donations.

11. Subscriber Referral Program

Unlock rewards by spreading the word! With a subscriber or donor referral program, existing customers or subscribers are offered the opportunity to receive something special in return for getting people in their network to sign up for a newsletter or donate. It essentially involves incentivizing someone to refer others to subscribe.

David Schwab explains his outrageous idea to combine a subscriber referral program with a matching gift challenge for a supercharged referral incentive program:

12. Donor-Covered Fees

Typically, donor-covered fees tools have focused on covering fees related to payment processing. However, Funraise has expanded on this model by developing a method that covers both the software cost and the fees associated with payment processing.

Here's a story showing how nonprofit-friendly Funraise's Donors Cover Fees pricing model is.

Recently, we were doing a revenue analysis for a customer that was deciding between Donors Cover Fees and a flat rate transaction fee of 2.5%.
Over the previous 9 months, this customer had raised $1,764,613.56 in gross donations on Funraise. When we compared their net donations over the same time frame, it was no contest: the customer had raised $1,797,561.02 in net donations—thanks to Funraise's Donors Cover Fees model.
...Said another way, this nonprofit raised $32K more by asking their donors to cover fees.
...Said another way, if our customer had chosen to go with a flat transaction rate of 2.5%, they would have had $77K less going toward impact than their donors intended.
...Said another way, if nonprofits want to make more impact—no matter their size—Funraise's Donors Cover Fees model is absolutely in their best interest.

Now that you've got all the trends and tactics, the only thing left is to get the donations! Good luck, nonprofit friends.

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