4 Creative Tips for Nonprofit Fundraising in 2023

What’s new in Social Media, Video, Digital Ads and QR Codes

Do you remember what the 2022 Oxford Word of the Year was? (It was “goblin mode”, a slang phrase for laziness.) How about the 2022 Pantone Color of the Year? (It was “Veri Peri”, a very pleasant periwinkle concoction.) Maybe you remember the highest grossing movie of 2022? (Top Gun: Maverick!) 

Suffice to say, you probably don’t remember a majority of the cultural trends and touchstones from 2022. And that’s OK – now that we’ve stepped into 2023, we want to look forward (not back) and forecast what creative fundraising trends, tips and touchstones are going to be most helpful for your nonprofit to implement in 2023. 

Below are 4 important creative tips for nonprofit fundraising in 2023 from our BDI Creative & Storytellers Teams… 

On social media, being real > a highlight reel

From Courtney Hamilton, BDI Writer 

For a long time, social media has been infamous for sharing only a fragment of reality, the manicured, highly curated images that creators and brands want you to see. 

Thankfully, in 2023 authenticity is going viral when it comes to organic social media. It’s not uncommon to see someone post a monthly “photo dump” on Instagram of their unfiltered snapshots captured over the last 30 days. 

Successful brands are following a similar strategy, posting more raw, unedited images and fewer templated posts than they did even a couple years ago. It makes sense… people engage with people. 

Here are some ways to strengthen your social media in 2023: 

  • Show more images of the individuals your organization serves… and fewer infographics.
  • Tell more stories of how lives are being changed… and worry less about your post being too long (sometimes, longer captions work!).

In 2023, taking an authentic approach to your organic social media strategy will help grow your following online and cultivate a dedicated community of supporters. For more tips and strategies on social media growth, check out this DIY Social Media Workshop!

With video, engagement goes way up  

From Jhovany Quiroz, BDI Studio & Storytellers Manager 

When it comes to donor engagement online, video is king. You might already be thinking, “But I’m from a small nonprofit with an even smaller budget. I don’t have the money to spend on video.” To you, I say, “I have good news!”

Here are some video considerations for 2023: 

  • Create your own videos for a rich media mix. You may be pleasantly surprised to know that lower-production-value videos often outperform high-production-value videos. That’s not to say that the value of professionally crafted videos are any less valuable. Rather, I want to encourage you to create your own in-house videos to add to your media  mix… and if you’re already shooting your videos, great! Make even more of them. 
  • Video production doesn’t require a multi-thousand dollar budget. I’ve seen quality videos shot on a smartphone or DSLR camera, then edited using affordable tools like iMovie or even Canva. 
  • Keep your videos simple and quick. I want to remind you: The purpose of any nonprofit video is not to sell, but to engage your viewers… and quickly! Studies show that after the first 10 seconds of a video, engagement drops significantly, which means you have a small window of opportunity to introduce the challenge and solution. 

In 2023, video is a key way to engage your donors – so create more videos! Whether you work with a professional production team or shoot them yourself in a (well-lit) corner of your office, videos will help your donors feel connected to your cause and compelled to support it. For more tips and strategies on video, check out this article on 4 best practices for nonprofit photography and video

With display ads, eye-catching + easy-to-digest = clicks

From Mindy Bortz, BDI Senior Designer/Studio Manager

Display Ads are like the highway billboard ads of the internet. Viewers are scrolling past them at a million miles a minute, so an eye-catching design and an easy-to-digest message is key to grab their attention. 

Creating compelling ads for display is worth your time and investment – in 2023, it’s predicted that U.S. display advertising spends will reach +$165 billion, accounting for over 40% of media ad spending. 

Here are a few design tips to get more clicks in 2023:

  • Make sure your ads are simple visually and content-wise so viewers remember the core message. Text should be instantly readable, so hard-to-read fonts and wordy messages should be avoided.
  • Viewers aren’t going to bookmark your ad to come back to later, so a sense of urgency to TAKE ACTION NOW needs to be created. Through design, this can be achieved by using bold or contrasting colors that stand out on the web page as well as an enticing call-to-action button.
  • Animated display ads usually perform better than static ads, but the animations shouldn’t distract from the message. Simple animations work great to grab the viewer’s attention, but the call to action should be clear and the main focus. 

In 2023, it’s critical that your display ads are designed for scanners – meaning viewers, not readers. The goal is for them to absorb the entire message from a quick scan of your ad, including what action you want them to take next. For more tips and strategies on digital ads, check out this article on 5 Must-Have Digital Fundraising Strategies in 2023

QR Codes are *back* again

From Sarah Wallin, BDI Creative Director

With all the hype around QR codes, you may be wondering, “But how can they help with nonprofit fundraising and marketing?” Never fear! 

Here are some smart ways to use QR codes in 2023: 

  • Add it to a reply device in place of a donation URL or phone number to link people to your donation page 
  • Use it in a newsletter to show more photos of your featured guest or to continue the story of someone’s changed life 
  • Connect people directly to your social media feeds 
  • Learn more on a topic, a special event or your work through a specific page on your website 
  • Help raise public awareness of your programs and services  

In 2023, including a QR code in your communications gives your nonprofit the opportunity to engage your supporters and help them connect with you more easily and directly than ever. For more tips and strategies on using QR codes in your fundraising, check out this article on Smart Ways to Use QR Codes in Nonprofit Fundraising.

Final Thoughts 

While we’re still waiting to find out what the Word of the Year and the Color of the Year will be in 2023, we don’t have to wait to find out what creative avenues nonprofits should be learning more about and (hopefully!) adding into their fundraising and marketing programs this year. Use the recommendations on these 4 creative areas above to build, strengthen and create a 2023 that rises to new levels of awesome in engaging and reaching donors with your message. 

  • Courtney Hlebo

    Courtney Hamilton, Associate Creative Director

    With more than 10 years of experience in professional writing and editing, Courtney Hamilton channels her passion for serving others into her work at BDI. Prior to BDI, Courtney spent more than 5 years editing and proofreading content for a variety of authors and genres, including curriculum for a faith resource publisher. A graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course, she has  professional training in all aspects of print and digital media publishing.

  • Jhovany Quiroz

    Jhovany Quiroz, Producer, Video & Storytelling

    Since joining BDI in 2015, Jhovany has proven his many talents – starting from his time as Account Specialist, then as manager of our Storytellers Program and resource library. Now, he leads BDI’s production of custom video, photo shoots and AI technologies. It’s a role well-suited to his photography and video experience, and to his success outside of BDI as a published visual artist.

  • Mindy Bortz

    Mindy Bortz, Design Manager/Senior Designer

    Mindy Bortz offers more than 10 years of professional experience as a graphic designer. Prior to joining the team at Brewer Direct, she was employed at Skytone Studio as a Graphic Designer, crafting print and digital campaigns, and worked for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle Newspaper as their Digital Media/Web Designer.

  • Sarah Wallin

    Sarah Wallin, Vice President, Creative Director

    With more than 10 years of nonprofit and Rescue Mission experience, Sarah Wallin brings her expertise and imagination to the creative work at BDI. She draws from her background as a college English instructor and writing work for a variety of nonprofit clients like Boys and Girls Clubs, Goodwill of Los Angeles, Catholic Charities and Summit Ministries, as well as a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. 

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