8 Nonprofit Fundraising Trends to Watch in 2024

2024 is here, and it's bringing new challenges and opportunities for nonprofit fundraising! Here are the dynamics to watch this year.

Before all of the year-end fundraising data from 2023 has even been tallied, fundraisers across the country have begun considering what the new year will bring. From new technology development, to demographic shifts, to political unrest, fundraising outcomes are heavily impacted by what is going on in the world. These are a few of the trends that we predict will have big impacts on nonprofit Development efforts in 2024.

A Spotlight On Impact And Storytelling

Harnessing most of the trends mentioned in this post will require that successful nonprofits develop a strong capability to craft compelling narratives that help supporters make sense of large issues, connect to your cause on an emotional level, and understand why their support matters. In a world increasingly inundated with heartbreaking stories of war, natural disasters, poverty, and more, it will be critical to break through “compassion fatigue” and combat the inclination toward helplessness with clear, actionable messages of hope.

When asked what would unlock their full potential for giving, many donors speak to the desire to understand the true impact of their support. From acquisition efforts targeted at potential donors, to stewardship of your longest-standing givers, storytelling that highlights the real life impacts of charitable giving will set leading nonprofits apart in 2024.

Emphasis On Major & Transformational Gifts

Large gifts continue to occupy center stage for nonprofit fundraising. This trend isn’t new; for over a decade the number of charitable donors has been decreasing, while the total amount of charitable donations rises. Smaller numbers of wealthy donors continue to consolidate their importance in the philanthropic world. 

What does this mean for the day-to-day operations of an average nonprofit? For strategic organizations, investment in the ability cultivate and steward major gifts should be a focus in 2024 - including hiring or investing in professional development for their major gifts team, evaluating the tools and infrastructure used in the major gifts process to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness, and a focus on developing a pipeline of potential major donors through mid-level giving programs.

Download: Donor Cultivation & Stewardship Plan Template


Investing in “Overhead”

Debates about “overhead” spending have followed the nonprofit sector for years. Dan Pallotta’s 2023 documentary, Uncharitable, follows his famous TED Talk in making the case for investing in your nonprofit’s ability to grow, and the conversation isn’t going away anytime soon. This year, more nonprofits are embracing a policy of honesty with donors about the true costs of making change happen, including paying staff fair wages, investing in marketing and fundraising channels that show positive ROI, and investing in infrastructure such as modern technology and systems that increase organizational efficiency.

Outreach To Young(er) Donors

Chronicle of Philanthropy recently shared an anecdote that will be familiar to many nonprofits: a fundraiser at a conference last year noted that she was worried for future fundraising, because her organization’s best donor was 102 years old. We’ve seen years of frenzied discussion regarding the latest youth trends, but this year nonprofits are looking for real, long-term solutions for attracting younger donors. Rather than investing in learning the latest TikTok dance, in 2024, expect more focus on developing relationships with Gen X and older millennials who have reached career maturity and are positioned to step into the philanthropic shoes of their boomer predecessors. 

AI for Data Rather Than Words

AI and discussions around its ethical implications for the nonprofit sector aren’t going away any time soon. 2023 was a banner year for large language model (LLM) tools such as Chat GPT, and saw the rise of organizations like Fundraising.AI and Giving Tuesday’s AI Working Group leading the charge for ethical use of AI in the nonprofit sector.

While we know that these tools might be helpful for generating and developing ideas, they’re certainly not going to be replacing the human elements of fundraising any time soon. As some of the buzz around AI language models dies down, expect more discussions of machine learning, predictive analytics, and algorithms that can help nonprofits better analyze donor data to predict donor behavior and run more efficient and cost-effective fundraising programs. 

Political Polarization & Intersectional Expectations

Presidential election years always bring an increase in political discourse that tends to have ripple impacts far beyond the first Tuesday in November. With this campaign season falling amidst increasing international turbulence, following a year of large, publicized strikes and union activity, and on the heels of years of reckoning around the country’s racial and economic justice issues, people on both sides of the aisle are increasingly thoughtful and vocal about the political sway of transactions large and small. Expect more donors to be looking for how your organization’s mission fits into a bigger, structural picture and asking for bold stances on big issues.

New Evaluation of Traditional Metrics

As older dynamics and demographics shift, the traditional metrics for evaluating fundraising efforts are being re-evaluated. Major benchmarks have been tracking a decline in nonprofit donor counts since the pandemic highs of 2022, and in 2023 those benchmarks also began to indicate a dip in total donations.

We’re a fan of Veritus Group’s recommendations of shifting emphasis from activity-driven metrics (such as calls made, emails sent, etc.) and toward tracking meaningful connections, and expect that this strategy will continue to catch on in 2024. 

Tech Consolidation

The nonprofit technology sector has seen increased merger and acquisition activity in the past few years, and the effects of this trend are being felt by many nonprofits. While considering the corporate business practices of technology providers may not occupy much of your time, rounds of layoffs decreasing support staff, smaller tools being acquired and sunset, and shifting priorities for product investment under new business ownership can all have a big impact on the daily experience of nonprofit technology users.


Is investing in your major gifts strategy, updating your nonprofit's technology, or just "raising more money" on your 2024 resolutions list? Instil can help!

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