5 Things That Won't Happen in 2015 | npENGAGE

5 Things That Won’t Happen in 2015

By on Jan 6, 2015


Things that Won't Happen in 2015

This is the time of year when lots of prognosticators and futurists attempt to predict what will happen in the New Year. It’s as if everyone received a new crystal ball that has given them the ability to predict everything from fundraising growth to technology trends.

This is not one of those prediction articles that attempts to guess what’s going to happen in 2015. Instead, I’m going to outline with 100% accuracy what is not going to happen this year.

1. Direct Mail Will Not Die
Every year someone says that direct mail is going to die, but each year it continues to fill mailboxes and drive nonprofit revenue. The only thing that’s dead is single channel fundraising. Although apparently the obituary hasn’t made its way to all organizations yet. Nonprofits will and should continue to use direct mail, including in the near future when drones are delivering the mail.

2. Wearable Technology Will Not Transform Fundraising
Watches and glasses and bands, oh my! The wearable technology ecosystem is about to get a lot bigger in 2015. But don’t put all your chips on the table that native apps on digital wristband watches are going to forever transform fundraising. Besides, it’s going to take at least a year before the emergence of wearable technology fundraising gurus who can tell us all what we should be doing.

3. Millennial Donors Will Not Save Your Fundraising Program
Millennials are great. Trust me, I know. I’m married to one. But compared to Boomers, they aren’t where the fundraising is happening in 2015. Boomers will account for more than $62 billion in giving this year compared to just $16 billion for Generation Y. I didn’t say to ignore them, but your focus should be proportional to economic reality.

4. The Great Transition of Wealth Will Not Happen in 2015
A decade ago, everyone wanted to tell me about this tremendous transfer of wealth because Matures and Boomers would soon be moving to the great planned giving Valhalla in the sky. That hasn’t happened and it’s unlikely to happen this year. People are living longer, which is good, but their personal finances are still in a post-recession recovery. Focusing on mid-level donors is a smart move.

5. Doing Nothing Will Not Be Less Risky
It used to be that maintaining the status quo was less of a risk. Stick to one’s knitting and let the other guys waste their time and money on new things. The problem with this of course is that the “new things” are now the expected things by constituents. There’s more risk in not cleaning up your data. There’s more risk in not launching that monthly donor program. There’s more risk in not being mobile friendly. There’s more risk, not less risk, in just continuing to do what you’re doing today.

Let’s check back in 2016 and compare this list of what’s not going to happen to what other are predicting will happen.


Steve MacLaughlin is the Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud and bestselling author of Data Driven Nonprofits.

MacLaughlin has been featured as a fundraising and nonprofit expert in many mainstream publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, USA Today, The NonProfit Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Bloomberg, and has appeared on NPR.

He is a frequent speaker at events including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), American Marketing Association (AMA), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA), Giving Institute Summer Symposium, National Association of Independent School (NAIS), Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), Institute of Fundraising National Convention (United Kingdom), Civil Society Conference (Netherlands), International Fundraising Congress (Netherlands), Ask Direct Fundraising Summer School (Ireland), and a keynote speaker at several conferences across the social good sector.

Steve previously served on the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Board of Directors and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University.

He is a frequent blogger, published author of a chapter in the book People to People Fundraising: Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Charities, and is a co-editor of the book Internet Management for Nonprofits: Strategies, Tools & Trade Secrets. His latest book, Data Driven Nonprofits, became a bestseller in 2016.

Steve earned both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Indiana University.

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