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Top 5 Digital Fundraising Predictions for 2021 (#3)

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

Prediction #3: The Rise of Video

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital engagement and fundraising tactics for all nonprofits. How do you sift through what has staying power and what is a flash in the pan? Our team put together a list of our predictions on where digital fundraising is headed in 2021.

2020 felt like a sprint and a never ending time loop at the same time. The lines between personal and professional life blurred together, sometimes in hilarious ways. We became Zoom experts (well, not all of us) and then got Zoom fatigue.

For nonprofits, it was a year of tremendous change and challenges. Traditional engagement tools like in-person events were non-options and many organizations struggled to navigate operating in the digital space.

Looking forward to 2021, it's clear that many of these changes accelerated by the pandemic are here to stay. With finite resources, nonprofit organizations need to be strategic about where they apply time and money. Going back to the way things were is not an option, so where should advancement shops direct their focus?

I took a leap and came up with my top five predictions for digital fundraising in 2021. Each prediction is its own blog post - give them all a read and let me know your thoughts by connecting with me on LinkedIn, Twitter or at!

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Prediction #3: The Rise of Video

Quick! Open up Instagram, Facebook or even LinkedIn. Scroll through your feed and think about what you are seeing. The answer? A TON of video content. With the advent of TikTok, we are seeing more video content enter social media feeds than ever before. That trend shows no signs of slowing down.

What does this mean for nonprofits? It might seem like an already difficult landscape to navigate just became impossible to stand out on. After all, you aren’t just competing for your audience’s attention with other nonprofits, you are battling for space in their feeds and minds with the likes of Fortune 500 companies.

Combine this with the dramatic drop of organic reach on social (oh, 2014 organic reach how we’ve missed you) and you might be convinced making your organization stand out is a lost cause. There is reason for optimism, and I’ve outlined ways you can use videos to your advantage below.

Authentic Content for the Win

The good news is that over the course of 2020 we saw a great democratization of who can be a content creator. All you need is a phone, creativity and a compelling story. Authentic content, recorded on a mobile phone, holds up just fine on its own.

There’s a place for the glitz and glam of a well-produced video, but stripped down videos have their own secret power; the ability to connect the viewer more intimately with your organization. These 1:1 videos can go a long way to help humanize your organization. Which is great news for nonprofits, because who is better positioned to capture powerful, compelling cause-based stories?

Paid Digital Rises in Prominence

A couple paragraphs back, I mentioned the death of organic reach. It’s not an exaggeration, and we are entering a ‘pay-to-play’ environment. Even a small investment in digital ads can produce rewards, and video is the type of content you should put paid spend behind.


Your audience is more likely to donate to your organization if they watch your video according to a study done by YouTube. Second, video views are an inexpensive way to target your audience, much more cost-effective than paying for link clicks.

But don’t stop there - when you serve video ads up, what you are also doing is creating a future remarketing audience. Remarket them with what...wait for it...another video!

Extra Video Tips

*Bonus tip: caption your videos. Not only is it best practice for accessibility reasons, studies have shown people scrolling through their feeds are more likely to watch a video when captions are added.

Capture their attention by adding captions and get them watching further into your video.

So have I sold you on creating more video content? If so, you might be wondering how to add this to your already overflowing list of responsibilities.

How We Can Help

For our higher education partners, we have developed and launched the Student Engagement Team (SET) program. Through our SET programs, we are able to generate several new, “authentic” videos every single week of the academic year. These videos, produced by your students, offer the chance to deliver institutionally important messaging from a non-institutional voice.

Better yet, these videos can be aligned with the donor journey framework to produce content for each stage in your donor’s journey. Just think about the possibilities and stories you can tell, especially when you incorporate this into your Giving Day or calendar year-end outreach.

It’s a transformative boost to the frequency of video production and it’s already leading to real results.

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