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The Future of Fundraising, What’s Next?

20 March 2017 at 12:30 pm
The speed of technological change, the impact on individuals and the global community and what’s next in the world of fundraising is the focus of this article and the upcoming Pro Bono Australia webinar hosted by Dr Steve Francis from FrontStream AsiaPacific.

Contributor | 20 March 2017 at 12:30 pm


The Future of Fundraising, What’s Next?
20 March 2017 at 12:30 pm

The speed of technological change, the impact on individuals and the global community and what’s next in the world of fundraising is the focus of this article and the upcoming Pro Bono Australia webinar hosted by Dr Steve Francis from FrontStream AsiaPacific.

Dr Francis is the managing director of FrontStream AsiaPacific and an expert in using technology to fundraise. With a PhD in Anthropology and more than 20 years experience in not for profits, he understands how to help charities optimise their fundraising through digital and online strategies. He will be hosting the 29 March webinar The Future of Fundraising, What’s Next? Registration is free! Secure your spot here to find out how to adapt your fundraising campaigns to changes in technology.

Society is constantly bombarded by stories of the latest in tech developments, via the most recent Ted Talk or through another hyperbolic Facebook post, that are meant to leave us excited about the possibilities for the future. While some people are clutching their credit card in anticipation of booking a ticket on a Space X sub-orbital flight, it’s likely that the less “flashy” tech developments will have the greatest impact on our everyday habits and work life.

Tech development is half the story, how quickly it’s picked up and absorbed by users is the real measure of how it will impact individuals, ways of work and the global community. Given this, what is the future of fundraising?

Let’s do a quick overview of social media

It wasn’t long ago that social media was simple to use to engage your audience. Should we be surprised that such an enormous catchment of users is now a mish mash of news, cat videos, LOLs and big budget ads? Social media’s rapid growth has turned into a massive tide of content that overwhelms, immerses and leaves us drunk on an ocean of opinion, arguments and conjecture. Twitter has more voyeurs than content makers. Instagram has been “monetised” and Facebook has decreasing reach as greater weight is placed on paid boosts not to mention ever-changing “algorithms”.  It can be a minefield, however we can only lean on what is proven. Content is king and audience segmentation and content personalisation is critical. It’s more work for the marketing team, but the fact is that making more personal and less generic content gets results.

More mobile

According to the Ericsson mobility report, smartphone subscriptions were at around 7.4 billion mid-2016, and mobile users worldwide are predicted to increase by 20 per cent year-on-year, with a projection to grow to 6.1 billion by 2020. In a nutshell, more and more people have access to mobile devices and are utilising more functionality. Furthermore, by 2018, 33 per cent of the global population is expected to be using social media, or 2.44 billion users. As more people use mobile apps and platforms, they become more savvy to the content being funnelled into each channel.

What about all the data?

With renewed emphasis on collection, more than ever we need to look at our audience data. Analytics and data analysis is a skill now required of content marketers. Firstly, we need to collect as much detail as possible to drill down into segments then highly personalise the marketing material for each segment. It’s like creating 10 different pieces of content for each parallel world your donors live in (pause for effect). However, piles of data are the digital advantage all content marketers have when creating impactful calls to action.

So, let’s look at tech futures

Mobile Wallet

Mobile Wallet technology has been floating around the past few years but the uptake has been slow. This is changing. Banks are getting behind new contactless payments. Point of sale merchandise promoting “touch and go” is noticeable as mobile apps become part of mobile wallet along with event ticketing and travel reservations. This could be a revolution for new donors to give when they want, wherever they are realising the dream of one touch donations. Statistics suggest that globally, 8 per cent have used a mobile wallet, in the United States, it is 18 per cent.

The Internet of Things

Currently mobile phones are the most multipurpose devices in the world, by 2018 this will be surpassed by the Internet of Things. Devices that fall into this category include cars, machinery, power utility meters, and consumer electronics such as fridges, air-conditioning, home security and some we don’t talk about (I’m looking at you, Google glass).

The Internet of Things could impact fundraising campaigns and optimisation. Consider this: the fridge is opened and it informs you that it’s time to buy milk, press here to order more milk and by the way how about matching that purchase with a donation to Care Australia to help feed a hungry child in Sudan. This is an example of what the Internet of Things could present for a future on the brink of wholly connected goods.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) offers a new wave of storytelling in campaigns, altering the experience for potential donors in a more impactful way than ever before.  Some not for profits are investing in VR campaigns already and using them as part of their fundraising campaign mix.

Amnesty UK, UNICEF Canada, and a handful of international not for profits have created successful VR campaigns with great results and this is set to spread as access to cardboard VR devices costs as little as $10.

The future of fundraising looks different to today’s landscape. Switched-on not for profit campaigners need to adapt creative solutions to the challenges ahead, considering audiences as well as tech, in the context of better fundraising.


FrontStream is a leading provider of integrated online fundraising tools and specialises in helping not for profits with their secure (Facebook integrated) donation pages, peer-to-peer fundraising (including mobile & Facebook), online auctions, regular giving donations, merchandise & e-ticket sales and CRM (donor management database).

Find out how Dr Francis and FrontStream can help you with your fundraising campaigns on their website. Book now for the Pro Bono Australia Webinar here. Registration is free!

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