Changing trends in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Fundraising

The world of philanthropy and nonprofit fundraising is ever changing to keep up with the demand of technology and our society. In recent years, there has been a significant shift in how fundraising is approached, with a greater focus on innovation, collaboration, and technology. From social media campaigns to corporate partnerships, nonprofits are exploring new avenues to engage donors and raise funds.

Current trends in nonprofit fundraising

The dollar value of donations is increasing but the number of people donating has decreased from 38% to 29% between 2010-2011 to 2019-2020, meaning more money is being given but from fewer people. This leads to growth in structured giving and corporate giving (Philanthropy Australia, 2022).

Trends in philanthropy

Personalised donor experiences:

Personalised donor experiences are becoming more popular as today’s consumers are more likely to purchase a product if they receive personalised communication. One example of this is the ACRF Accelerate program where if you make a large donation you can choose which project to support and will receive your own donation manager who will assist you and support you along your journey.

Corporate social responsibility:

Nowadays, individuals demand more from the companies they engage with, which has led to a rise in corporate social responsibility programs. This has become a big opportunity for nonprofits as these companies are looking for initiatives to improve public image.

How is fundraising changing?

Fundraising is gradually shifting to online, with more digital appeals, social media campaigns, email communication and online donating. Now it is all about making the online experience easier, streamlining payment options and enabling quick checkout and involving live streaming and gamification into donation platforms.

What is modern fundraising?

Modern fundraising uses the current technology to maximise efficiency. This involves using websites and online donations, using email and social media to communicate appeals, challenges and educate individuals on the cause. These can be very effective alongside traditional methods, such as in-person community fundraising and physical booklets/ information.

Fundraising challenges

Over the last 3 years there was a decrease in fundraising events and community fundraising due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This caused a major shift in how we work and socialise to which fundraising was not exempt. This led to a shift towards online and virtual events. This resulted in a decrease in income in some charities, especially ones that relied on face-to-face events, although others experienced overall increases in profit due to increased philanthropic giving. 

According to ANZ’s 2022 survey the main concern for the sector is the current economic situation, being flagged by 70% of respondents (The Status of ANZ Fundraising 2022 Benchmark Report). This is predicted to cause a decrease in donations, although even in the economic situation over 160,000 people will still get cancer this year (AIHW, 2022), so it’s worth considering other ways of giving, such as bequests or diy fundraising.

How can technology be used for fundraising?

Technology can be a powerful tool as it allows organisations to maximise their impact by increasing efficiency so teams can focus on strengthening relief efforts and serve more people. However, only 38% of organisations feel they get the most out of technology (The Status of ANZ Fundraising 2022 Benchmark Report), so this is an area of focus for many charities to capitalise on what technology can offer.

Case management software:

Case management software allows nonprofits to improve delivery and scale of services, as well as see immediate results of those efforts. Having the data available allows them to better coordinate care for the individuals and communities they serve.

Analysing trends and patterns:

Technology can also be useful to give organisations insight into industry trends and donor patterns which can assist in planning future events to make them as effective as possible in achieving success.

However, digital interactions and technology can undermine the most important part of fundraising which is relationships with donors. Every donor is different and technology can take away from the bespoke nature of fundraising, so it is vital for a charity to be aware of this.

Future of fundraising

Artificial Intelligence (AI): 

AI technology can be used to improve the process of putting donors in connection with the organisations they are interested in, and steer fundraisers when to contact their donors to provide the best result. This will become a growing area in all organisations, not just nonprofit ones, over the next few years.

Overall the landscape of philanthropy and fundraising is going to constantly evolve and nonprofits will need to keep up with how society prefers to donate. 


Giving trends and opportunities report 2022 (2022) Philanthropy Australia. Available at: https://philanthropy.org.au/about-us/publications/giving-trends-and-opportunities-report-2022/ (Accessed: March 31, 2023). 

Cancer data in Australia (2022) Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia/contents/about (Accessed: March 31, 2023).