What a year 2020 has been.

We went through an extremely confusing period.

Disruption of millions of lives, families, workplaces, and an extremely volatile political climate, which some say may have been at the centre of it all.

With 2020 behind us, it’s time focus on the future. Here’s a forecast for upcoming fundraising trends for 2021:

1. Giving is up. And everything indicates it will remain up.

A lot of charities and non-profits experienced a huge drop in critical revenue. They saw reduced service fees, ticket sales, and admissions.

But as a result, donors everywhere responded with record amounts of charitable donations.

2020 saw a surge across the board in charitable giving. From small individual donations to more involvement from major donors and corporations. More people than ever were giving and at greater amounts than usual.

Big institutional funders and foundations also stepped up to increase giving in 2020.

In 2021, we expect that donors will continue to give and help their charitable sector.

2. Donor fatigue is a myth.

Charities everywhere asked. And donors everywhere gave.

Successful organizations laid their cases for support out plainly. In addition, they explained their financial situations clearly. And those who performed the best pulled appropriate emotional triggers as well.

Again and again and again, donors responded.

Even with the vast amount of political fundraising going on all year, donors continued contributing to their favorite non-profits – and new ones too.

Why do some charities complain about donor fatigue? It’s because of sloppy fundraising.

Fundraisers keep going to the same donors over and over, exhausting those donors. And fundraisers talk too much about the money, and not enough about the impact.

We predict that donors will continue to give, and that more charities will start shifting their messaging from financial needs to impact achieved, which will cause an increase in trust.

Digital platforms that focus on enabling more transparency and accountability in the sector will draw in charities that looks for better way to share their impact with their supporters.

3. Organizations that continue to invest in fundraising will see solid returns.

Many institutions cut budgets early on in 2020. As a result the revenues for non-profits and charities quickly dried up.

Many forward-thinking non-profits managed to keep their staff and continue operating their fundraising programs.

These groups were able to stay in front of their donors with solid asks. As a result, they were able to ride the surge in donations and keep essential revenue streams flowing.

The non-profits that think ahead saw a very nice ROI on their fundraising expenses.

Organizations that invest in fundraising will see an even greater growth in fundraising revenue. This will be true for 2021. And this will be true forever.

4. New respect for digital strategies in fundraising.

The new virtual world threatened to upend major gift fundraising.

However, instead we learned that digital could be a very effective major donor engagement tool.

Moreover, we learned that big donors and corporations were happy to engage with charities online. Going digital meant saving time which allowed often for a deeper connection with donors.

In today’s “new” world, fundraisers can no longer depend on fundraising events, parties, or luncheons.

In 2021 and moving forward, charities will have to personally connect to donors more.

Major gift fundraising will forever be changed as donor engagement no longer has to take place face-to-face. Demonstrating impact online will also help build trust amongst donors.

5. Fundraising strategies continues to become more sophisticated.

As organisations everywhere are forced to become digitally savvy, this new knowledge is bound to yield innovations in fundraising.

For example, AI is just will be a helpful tool that is only just beginning to show its benefits -particularly in better identifying donor prospects.

AI will also help us understand donor behavior better, and help how to nudge donors toward making a donation rather than turning them off.

What really warms our donors’ hearts? What emotional triggers will encourage them to be generous? AI will help us understand this better.

We predict that technologies such as AI, blockchain, IoT, and big data will strengthen fundraising strategies in 2021.

The bottom line of our predictions on fundraising trends in 2021?

In today’s disrupted environment there’s ample opportunity.

Smart organisation will be opportunistic, agile and creative – and they’ll be rewarded for doing so.

Follow these fundraising trends for 2021 to ensure your charity stays ahead.