OneCause, a provider of event and online fundraising technology, released their new report: The 2024 Fundraising Outlook: Insights to Shape Sustainable Success. In the annual survey, 939 fundraising professionals shared where their organizations excelled in 2023, outlined top challenges, and revealed what they plan to prioritize in 2024 as they shape fundraising strategies.

“Nonprofits have proven their ability to approach planning with a flexible mindset and rapidly adapt to change,” said Steve Johns, chief executive officer at OneCause. “As organizations prepare for 2024, traditional concerns like donor acquisition and retention continue to drive their strategies. Fundraisers must now also determine how to obtain reliable, actionable data and how they can integrate artificial intelligence to enhance their fundraising and donor journeys.”

Key findings include:

Event and online fundraising revenue remain instrumental in helping nonprofits meet their goals, particularly smaller organizations. Six in ten nonprofits reported generating 21% or more of their annual operating budget from event and online fundraising efforts in 2023. That number increases to 7 in 10 for nonprofits with annual operating revenues below $1 million. Smaller organizations seemed to fare better in achieving fundraising goals this year than their larger counterparts — there was an increase in medium to large organizations that reported fundraising below budget.

Nonprofits continue to prioritize in-person events and show increased confidence in format selection. Those employing all in-person, or a mix of in-person and virtual fundraising, again experienced the highest success rates. Eight in ten nonprofits said they’ll hold at least one in-person event in 2024, and rates of uncertainty about event format decreased dramatically, indicating greater confidence after the pandemic. Three of four organizations that adopted either all in-person or a mix of in-person and virtual events achieved or surpassed 2023 event fundraising goals, highlighting the sustained efficacy of a hybrid approach.

Fundraisers are grappling with challenges tied to sustainability and donor sentiment, including recurring giving, donor fatigue and engagement, and year-over-year growth. Donor retention and sponsor acquisition/management were also an issue for 8 in 10 nonprofits. Access to data and the ability to use it to form actionable insights remains a persistent issue, particularly for small organizations, who were 20x more likely to lack access to the data they need.

The nonprofit sector is cautiously navigating the realm of artificial intelligence (AI), with a notable degree of uncertainty surrounding its implementation. While there is a recognition of the potential benefits of AI from 41% of surveyed nonprofits, only 10% reported using AI in their fundraising efforts. This indicates a need for targeted educational initiatives and support to foster informed decision-making and enhance the sector’s readiness for AI integration.

To review the full findings, click here.

Source: OneCause