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10 Things That Will Disrupt Fundraising

Teisha Archer and Stephen Mally,
09 April 2019

Two of our Specialist Members came together to pen this feature about disruption in fundraising: No One Entity Will Change the World

It has often been said the non-profit sector is the most caring. I think it can be said, equally, the non-profit sector is the most sharing. Fundraising colleagues share techniques and ideas, and the latest trends and benchmarks, with one another without hesitation. You wouldn’t see that level of sharing, voluntarily, in the airline, financial, legal, or other sectors.

Funders today are demanding we collaborate for the common good. Gone are the days where the public and private sectors will sustain multiple organisations with the same mission. Organisations focused on the same missions need to come together to collaborate, and even merge, in order to alleviate pressures in funding and manage donor expectations.

It does not have to be as dramatic as a merger. Collaborate to create buying power. Can’t afford a service from a consultant or a piece of technology, but you know the service or the technology would transform your organisation? Think about working with other organisations to form a coalition to work together on the project or to adopt the piece of technology or equipment. Consulting services such as the development of a fundraising strategic plan and the acquisition of a CRM becomes more powerful when done in concert with like-minded organisations.


cImagine we are back in the year 2000 and someone mentions a concept called Artificial Intelligence (AI). You might think they are from Mars. Today AI, nanotechnology, and robotics are very real concepts we need to wrap our minds around and accept as part of our day to day existence.

Simply put, AI makes us get the most out of data and allows us to achieve the best outcomes through adding intelligence to what is contained in the data. AI is becoming a “baked in” feature in software solutions utilised in our sector so we can learn important information about our supporters and what makes them give. We are already beginning to see this sort of activity based on the CRM suggesting audiences to contact about specific activities, reminders about audiences not contacted in a while, and suggested audiences for specific approaches. AI assists us to cut out wasted activities and to approach people most likely to give with the approaches that will entice them to give.

Ten years from now we will utilise AI in the same way we have utilised benchmarking and other analytical tools over the last decade.
Are you ready for a technology transformation?


Offline communication is certainly not dead. The older populations on our data sets still want to hear from us in their letterboxes. Online communications continue to rise and they are certainly the way to reach the younger populations on your CRMs. Australian non-profit organisations understand the need for a diverse, multi-channel approach to reach prospective donors and diverse constituencies with various appeals and communications.

Technology is helping to blend both online and offline approaches.

The key word for 2019 will be automation. Gone are the days when email platforms were considered to be advanced technology. Simply sending segmented emails no longer meets the demands of today’s non-profit organisations. Automated communications are more personalised and targeted to the recipient and are shown to produce better results than the one-size-fits all communications of the past.

Non-profit organisations will need to invest in marketing automation technology, which assists to deliver multi-channel communications and to automate journeys in a personal and targeted fashion. Products such as Adestra, Autopilot, Marketo, Pardot, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud are becoming commonplace in non-profits to deliver inspiring supporter journeys to reduce attrition, an increase average donations, better targeted communications, and creative and rich multi-channel approaches.


The energy, the excitement, and the innovation of a start-up. It can be infectious to be around. Those attributes ought to be the same existing in our non-profit organisations and in fundraising and marketing teams.

Start-ups have a real appetite for risk in order to stand out amongst a crowded field.

Start-ups are extremely passionate about and not afraid of the disruption they cause. People want to be part of that passion and the excitement created by the innovative cultures of these start-ups. Start-ups are also focused on testing concepts and strategies. The survival of any start-up depends on the answers found within the various testing and the start-ups tend to be very focused on the science behind the testing.

Like a start-up, today’s non-profit must carefully illustrate impact to validate trust with donors and those who are testing the waters with your organisation. It is no longer acceptable to simply tell donors you do good. Instead, content needs to be visual, clear, and concise to demonstrate, in a transparent way, your organisation is going above and beyond to deliver on its mission. Organisations must use video to bring their mission to various audiences on the web and via electronic direct marketing.


So, your organisation needs more money. Whose doesn’t! Now more than ever we need to inspire and connect. We need to be authentic.

In 2019, knocking on a donor’s door and asking them to give because we do good things will not result in a donation that will be world-changing for our organisation. We need to be more and do more. We need to connect the donor with our organisation and to do this we need to consider the donor’s journey to find us, making a gift and build a long-term connection.

How can a prospective donor find you? What path can they take to connect? What happens next when they take particular actions?

Mapping and understanding the donor journey allows you to ensure that you are discoverable, engaging and personable as well as ensuring you are undertaking important tasks such as informing, asking and thanking donors in a meaningful and successful way.

This year fundraising organisations will need to ensure that they are creating and fostering a culture which is in touch with human emotions. We need to aim for donors not just to WANT to be involved in our organisation but NEED to be involved.


Reading between the lines is sometimes the key to success in fundraising. But more so than ever, the rise of data tracking is making a huge impact on the success of fundraising approaches.

With the rapid growth of the Internet of Things, in a world where everything is connected, how connected is your organisation? Are you tracking and collecting the data you need to reach, communicate and solicit gifts?

Ramping up data tracking from your communications is a must. Are people opening your newsletters or appeals? What is the click-through rate? What are your donors interested in? If you are not tracking these simple metrics and gathering this data, you are missing out on vital information to understand your supporters.

Each time a supporter clicks a link in a communication they are telling you something about themselves. It is up to you to know your demographic and listen and respond in a way which connects with them.

Having great Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a must to help you not only to collect important information, but also to store it so that it can be uses in a meaningful way later across as range of platforms.

Not collecting and tracking data? Perhaps your next hire should be a data scientist.


We’ve all seen it and done it. On the train, on the couch, in the office… We have all been oblivious to the world around us as we immerse ourselves in social media. Flicking through endless comments and images, looking for something to jump out at us.

Social media is replacing mainstream media, but not in a way that is helping our fundraising efforts. So how can we use social media to reach our fundraising targets?

It is time to think about how we can use social media to encourage our followers to take action to make our content more meaningful. Our passive supporters on social media could become the influencers we need.

We need to engage our supporters to spread brand awareness through alternative streams including their personal pages, blogs, email and even in-person. By doing this, they are adding weight to our communications, they are informally endorsing it and building our credibility. Their backing of our communication makes it more meaningful to those that they pass it on to.


We have seen it time and time again. To raise major gifts, face-to-face is best. Sitting down with a prospective donor, after months of intense research and planning and asking them to give. But in a world of busy people doing important things, securing that meeting is harder than ever. Enter real time storytelling and the rise of video fundraising.

Over a third of online activity involves people watching video, YouTube alone has over 1.3 BILLION users per day!

In 2019 live video streaming of events, testimonials, direct asks and so much more will be undertaken face-to-face online, not in the meeting room, allowing flexibility in timing and location.

Unlike paper-based materials, with video we can ignite the senses of the donor to evoke an emotional response. Music, imagery and dialogue all contribute to build a connection that is deeper and longer lasting in the mind of the viewer, sometimes in a more powerful way than a traditional face-to-face meeting can.

In a connected world, consider how your organisation can inform and inspire via video.


The forgotten generation are more than just a blip on the radar in 2019. Look out everyone, there is massive transfer of wealth happening in Australia and the way we ask for support is going to change dramatically.

Enter Generation X. They are savvier, more influential and more invested in seeing outcomes from their philanthropy, and many of them expect to increase their philanthropic giving in the coming year. Generation X are not going to sit back, make a regular gift to your cause and forget about it, it will be up to your organisation communicate with them regularly on their turf, prove your worth and demonstrate your impact. To achieve success

donor segmentation is going to be more important than ever, Generation X want to be spoken to directly in a meaningful way to them.

Think about how you can best communicate to this generation to demonstrate your trustworthiness and your impact. What will you achieve? Why are you the best people to do what you do? Why should they trust you with their support to achieve the best results?

Now is the time to connect. Today is the day to ask your Boomer supporters to introduce you to the next generation, encourage them to bring them to events, join updates and participate in tours. Don’t wait for them to come to you, they might not.


2019 will be an election year at the federal level and, for some, at the state level as well. Soon each one of us will be inundated with election news, commercials and the like. Election season always create a nervous atmosphere filled with uncertainty in Australia. At least it is not like the USA where politicians run 24/7 and 365 days a year!

Voting is compulsory in Australia, but the in between stuff is just as critical and should not be optional. Fundraising reform is occurring and every one of us who care deeply about the non-profit sector ought to be a part of it. As a sector, we want consolidation of charity registrations and we want self-regulation.

Change does not just happen. Change occurs through the concerted efforts of people mobilising to create that change. If you are not involved in your peak body, Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA), or supporting projects like #FixFundraising, now is the time to get involved. Join FIA to be part of their advocacy efforts on the local, state and national levels and be part of campaigns like @FixFundraising.

It is the last year of the decade. Make the change you seek by joining forces. Make 2019 the year you get involved.

Don’t you wish you had a crystal ball and you could look into the future for non-profit organisations, predicting what the world for fundraisers might look like? What will the disruptions be in the year 2029 or, even, 2021 for that matter?

The Xfactor Collective is a community of pre-vetted specialist consultants who help social change makers achieve their social mission. We have a diverse range of specialists across 300+ areas of specialisation, and this article was written by our Specialist Consultants Teisha Archer and Stephen Mally. To find out more about working with Teisha or Stephen, or how the Collective can help you, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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