The Best Guide for Nonprofit App Trends 2021

The Best Guide to Nonprofit App Trends of 2021

Tamar Barlev

September 29, 2021 · 5 minutes

Why compile a guide on nonprofit app trends? Good question.

We’ve already covered leveraging and building nonprofit apps to scale your org’s mission and impact. So, we wanted to cover what the best of the best nonprofit apps are doing these days. 

Let’s take a look, shall we? 

Nonprofit App Trends of 2021

Live Streaming

While nonprofits are, well, not motivated by profits—they do operate like businesses. That means that to get donations, you’re virtually “selling” your cause. And when it comes to your “customers”—your amazing activists, volunteers, and donors—interaction is key. Offering a human touch and showing the faces working behind your cause offers transparency and authenticity. 

In fact, 56% of donors regularly attend fundraising events. But in this post-pandemic, how have nonprofits sustained their live donor interactions? With live social media events, of course. Live streaming charity events has become an instant nonprofit app trend—with tools such as Twitch and Facebook Live boosting it. Facebook users actually spend 3x more time watching live videos than recorded videos, and both platforms provide integrations with donation platforms.  




Artificial and Virtual Reality (AR/VR)

AR and VR are fantastic tools to simulate the need and impact of your nonprofit’s mission. Humans are generally motivated by experiences than by text—I mean, look at what Pokemon Go did to the world. 

AR and VR help prospective and active donors and volunteers be more empathetic to your cause. So whether you’re helping them understand the magnitude of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or the benefits of increasing access to education, putting people smack dab in experiencing the effects of your cause can be hugely beneficial to communicating its urgency. 




Getting Friendly with Mobile

Next on the list of nonprofit app trends? Mobile! About 73% of US adults currently have a smartphone, with nonprofits who incorporate mobile-responsive website design increasing their donations by an average of 126%.

So basically, adapting to the skyrocketing mobile trends is a huge opportunity for nonprofit organizations on multiple fronts.

 

Mobile Giving + Mobile Pay

In 2019, mobile giving donations increased by 205%. And it’s no small wonder—nonprofits are jumping on the widespread use of smartphones to access information to spread awareness, recruit volunteers, and increase donations. 

At the end of the day, “products” are all about ease of use. 

By making it easier to donate with mobile donation portals, donations-by-text, and integrations of mobile payment (Apple Pay or Google Wallet), your organization can increase your conversion rates and even recurring donations. And, this is especially true for the Millenial and Gen Z generations, both of which prefer to donate over mobile apps and online.



Mobile Giving Apps

There’s also a new player in town in nonprofit app trends: apps solely dedicated to matching volunteers and donors with causes that speak to them.

These include VolunteerMatch—which matches volunteers with organizations; Mille—which helps corporations match donations and run fundraising campaigns; and Coin Up—which allows users to round up purchases to the nearest dollar and donate the difference organizations of their choice. 

Partnership with nonprofit mobile apps such as these is a great way to spread the word about your organization, encourage recurring donations, and even gamify giving and volunteering.



Volunteer Management

Whether you’re running a one-time charity event, onboarding new regular volunteers, or conducting training, apps are a great way to manage volunteers. With an app to register, track their activities, or learn new skills—communication with participants will never be easier than with a centralized and organized information system. 




Data Analytics

Just as for any business in this ~information age~, having access to data is imperative. As a nonprofit organization, you need to capture information about your programs, fundraising, marketing, and finances to propel your impacts. 

Therefore, mastering the metrics of your operation is key to informing strategy. You’ll want to crunch the numbers for:

  • Website traffic searches
  • Visitor sources and visit durations
  • Conversion rates
  • Search engine optimization
  • Email marketing (opening, click-through, and conversion rates)
  • Donation tracking (rmethods, recurring vs. one-time, and demographics)

You can go about this with donor management software, as well as finance, email marketing, and SEO tools.   




Geofencing Marketing

This one is one of our hidden nonprofit app trends. Ever go to a Target and then get a bunch of ads for Target-brand lamps? Well, then you’ve heard of geofencing marketing. 

Basically, geofencing marketing is segmenting prospects based on locations they’ve visited. So, if you run an event, you can follow up with targeted marketing to those who participated and were in the area. Used modestly (not creepily), this tool is a great way to get multiple exposures to active and prospective supporters.




Social Media

According to Pew Research Center, upwards of 81% of 18 to 49-year-olds, 73% of 50 to 64-year-olds, and 45% of 65-year-olds and above are on social media in the US. Additionally, Millennials and Gen Z-ers were actually polled to be most inspired to donate by social media

So, despite some recent backlash, it’s looking like social media is very much here to stay. And fortunately, that’s quite good for the nonprofit sector; it’s never been easier to spread awareness about critical causes and share it with like-minded people.  



Facebook

Along with other social media platforms, Facebook has integrated donation capabilities directly into its website. These donation features mean that not only can nonprofit organizations use Facebook for marketing, communications, and awareness; they can use it as a funnel. Organizations can even install a “Donate Now” button on their Facebook pages.  

Additionally, peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising is actually huge on Facebook, with 18% of worldwide donors having used Facebook donation tools before. And, not only that—it’s proven to be an easy tool to use: 88% of Facebook Charitable Giving Tool donors polling to be likely to donate through it again. 

These are pretty staggering numbers, but it makes sense. As much as I’d like to assume I’m special and definitely different than some of the characters on my newsfeed, our networks are made up of people, at least some of whom share some of our demographic, psychographic, geographic, or behavioral characteristics.

So, when we publicize what we care about to people who more or less care about what we do—and nonprofits have a seamless donation capability integrated into the platform on which we share—the giving is almost contagious. In a good way.  


Tik Tok

Speaking of bandwagons no one saw coming (she says, aging herself), Tik Tok is a fast one—especially if you’re targeting supporters between the ages of 16 and 24 (41% of Tik Tok users.) And these Tik Tokers are loyal—90% are daily users. 

For background, Tik Tok is an app that allows users to upload short clips featuring viral and trendy special effects, soundbites, and dance moves.

So, this is where your nonprofit can flex its creative muscles and create educational, entertaining, and easily (i.e., quickly) digestible content. In addition, by communicating your organization’s motivations and mission—and maybe even creating a viral charity trend or two—you could demonstrate passion, transparency, and authenticity to prospective supporters. 




Artificial Intelligence (AI), Chatbots, and Virtual Assistants

So, while “AI” might be a buzzword, it’s quite valuable for propelling nonprofit impact and has been widely adopted for that. Hence its qualification as one of our “nonprofit app trends.

By automating processes, for instance, organizations can cost-effectively tailor their marketing campaigns. Additionally, nonprofits can use Chatbots to “speak” to donors—providing 24/7 accessibility to answers with keyword-triggered responses.

Nonprofits are also using smart speakers to expand to new audiences—by adding informational resources to libraries such as “Alexa Amazon Skills.” Clever, huh? 




Cloud-based Infrastructure

Again—we’re in a bit of a weird time right now. With remote work being so widespread, many organizations are moving towards the cloud and experiencing cost savings on on-premises tech such as servers. 

However, there are other pros to switching to cloud-based infrastructure: an organization can get advanced analytics and cybersecurity tools. Additionally, cloud-based solutions often come with per-user or per-use pricing plans, which can be cheaper and therefore reduce significant fixed costs. 




Well, this was a lot. We know. So, it could be beneficial to consult product strategy experts who’ll help you put the theory to the rubber.

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?

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

Reach us at GojiLabs.com.

– Goji Labs

About Tamar Barlev

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