Dec 1, 2021 Written by Tamar Barlev

Giving Season: The Ultimate Guide to Nonprofit Fundraising Trends

Happy Holidays and a very warm welcome to this Goji Blog on nonprofit fundraising trends! 

We thought it would be appropriate to write a guide on navigating nonprofit fundraising during the most generous season of the year.

 So, let’s jump right into it, shall we?

To stay on top of nonprofit fundraising trends, we should first know the trends. Here are a few to note:

  • Overall giving grew 4.1% this year, which constitutes the 6th consecutive year of growth.
  • There’s been a 12.1% increase in online giving this year.
  • 45% of donors worldwide are monthly recurring donors.
  • Year over year, the estimated number of donors has increased by 0.7%, and the amount donated has risen by 1.7% in the first half of 2021.
  • In the first quarter of 2021, the number of donors and total giving increased by 6% and 10%, respectively.

  • The average US donor is 64 years old and donates 2x a year.
  • When it comes to marketing, female donors are more inspired to give by social media, and male donors are more likely to give due to email marketing.

  • Around 31% of donations are made in December, and 12% happen in the last three days of the year.
  • Recurring gifts: the average monthly online is $52 (annually $624,) whereas the average on-time gift is $128. In a 2021 study done on, 26% of donations of organizations that raise over $50 million do so through recurring donations.
  • Even throughout market volatility, pandemics (ahem,) and wartime, giving in the U.S. has stayed ~2% of the GDP for decades. However, donations from corporations and major affluent donors are not “recession-proof.” Since monthly and annual donors are less likely to be significantly impacted by temporary market instability, they are generally the most stable donor base.
  • Workplace giving is growing, with an increase of more than 15% between 2013 and 2017. In 2021, 65% of F500 companies offered gift matching programs. And 26 million individuals work for companies with donation matching programs.
  • Flexible giving options are rising, including digital wallets and cryptocurrency donations. Additionally, in a recent poll by Classy, 55% of participants shared they would likely donate if they could do so through trusted payment apps (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Nonprofit Marketing

Nonprofit marketing is key to raising awareness, recruiting volunteers, driving fundraising and recurring donations, and promoting services. 

And, given that such a large percentage of donations happen in the last quarter of the year, it’s reasonable to allocate 30-35% of your nonprofit’s marketing budget to Q4. 

So, where should you start?

1. Review Last Year’s Data

First, it’s time to evaluate the last year’s data. Where did things go right, and where did things go wrong? Questions to ask yourself (generally and campaign-specific) might be:

  • How many contacts did you reach out to last year?
  • How often did these contacts engage with your nonprofit?
  • What were the significant channels of donations (online, mobile, offline)?
  • How many donations did your receive, what was the total, and how do those numbers compare to past years?
  • What was the distribution of donation amounts?
  • How effective were the themes and outreach tactics of last year’s campaigns compared to those of previous years?

Then, with data in hand, you should segment existing donors based on demographics, donation, and engagement. With that segmentation, you’ll be able to tailor your key messages to each segment and personalize the way you reach out to each type of donor.

2. Set SMART Fundraising Goals

After you’ve collected the data from last year and discovered the effectiveness of last year’s campaigns, it’s time to set SMART goals. To elaborate, SMART goals are: 

  • Specific: well-defined and including who, what, when, where, and why. 
  • Measurable: guided by KPIs to measure progress and success.  
  • Attainable: reasonable and achievable.
  • Relevant: aligned with your nonprofit’s objectives and mission. 
  • Time-based: timed with a definitive deadline and milestones.

3. Plan Your Campaign Timeline Ahead of Time

Once you’ve set your SMART goals, it’s essential to set up a campaign timeline that begins early and ahead of time. 

So begin your past year analysis and set your goals and theme four months before launch. And then, 2-3 months before launch, should you optimize your donation channels and create your campaign. And finally, in the month of launch, perfect your materials and click send.


4. Use Online and Consider Offline Communications

Email, social media, and content marketing are incredibly powerful tools to get your message to supporters.

So, invest in creating beautiful materials that tell the emotional story behind your mission. Keep things visual with videos, compelling images, and infographics. 

These guidelines apply to offline communications as well. For example, fundraising postcards with high-quality images and relatable designs and branding can help you stand out. 

5. Follow Up with a “Thank You”

Everyone likes recognition—especially when they volunteer their time and money. So make your supporters feel appreciated with a personalized thank you. With it, you want to show them the impact they’ve made with their contributions and the way they’ve helped create change and propelled your nonprofit’s mission. 

Optimize Your Donation Page

28% of donations in 2020 were mobile, and 13% were made online. That means your app and donation page (and whole website) need to be optimized for engaging visitors, donors, and volunteers. 

Create your website using UX/UI best practices and mobile responsiveness. Make sure your donate button is always bolded, with a compelling call to action, and above the fold. And finally, use donation tiers that make life easier for the prospective donor by showing the impact they’ll make with each amount.

Curious about more UX/UI best practices and trends for nonprofit app development? You’re in luck—we already covered that one.

Well, this was a lot. We know.

Coincidentally, hi, we’re Goji Labs—a product and software development consultancy with experience in designing, “rescuing,” and deploying hundreds of products.

Looking to develop a new app or revamp an existing one? Need some product strategy or development help?

Have any general questions about who we are and our authority on the subject?

Reach us at

– Goji Labs