For a number of years, I have been a member of the Association of Direct Response Fundraising Counsel (ADRFCO), which surveyed its members recently to identify their fundraising forecasts for 2022.
These members are actively engaged either as agencies/consultants or as vendor partner providers, supporting nonprofit organizations to strategically develop, execute and analyze their direct marketing fundraising programs.
Here are just the highlights from the most recent (Oct. 28 – Nov. 10) ADRFCO survey:
All respondents put their expectations for 2021 year-end within striking distance of 2020, with 28% predicting a little higher, 24% a little lower, and 48% about the same results as last year.
Of those that expect some variance, 78% expected it to swing no more than 5%, and no one who responded expects more than a 10% change.
The ADRFCO study identified some clear bright spots in 2022 channel growth opportunities.
Monthly giving is the clear lead runner, with 76% of the survey respondents naming recurring giving in their top three areas of expected growth, followed by mid-level donor programs at 52%.
Of course, this was music to my ears. It certainly helps if agencies and consultants support nonprofits in their goals toward growing these areas.
Telefunding was called out by 69% of respondents as a channel with greatest likelihood of decline or contraction, following an uptick in performance during the pandemic when people were more likely to answer their phone and engage in dialogue.
“Face-to-face still seems a big toss-up depending on the state of COVID,” according to one survey respondent. “It could drop if there are spikes, it could soar if we get this under control.”
Direct mail acquisition, and new donors overall, is an area of key concern. Sixty-two percent of survey respondents identified it as an area of predicted decline in 2022. The increased costs and production challenges could, as one survey respondent noted, cause some organizations to reduce the size or frequency of acquisition mail campaigns, prioritizing renewal of current donors over prospect investment.
Interestingly, an equal portion of the survey respondents (34%) saw email as a channel that would either increase or decrease. 2022 predictions indicate mixed viewpoints on whether that kind of growth can remain sustainable.
One channel driver that has some lasting power. The QR code. Or, as one respondent quipped, “QR codes are the new mom jeans!”
Digital platforms like Apple and Meta (aka Facebook) are posing their own unique challenges with changes to marketing automation and advertising offerings and managing those will impact investment opportunities.
As ever, omnichannel fortitude requires constant vigilance across the landscape of fundraising channels and audiences. And in that, 2022 will keep all of us on our toes.
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