Preparing the Wick:
How 2020 Trends Can Help You
Raise Funds, Recruit Employees,
and Stay Ahead of the Pack

Ken Marotte Senior Writer AC Fitzgerald Author

Ken Marotte, Senior Writer and Managing Director

In one of his beloved short stories, the British author Algernon Blackwood once noted: “The best match in the world will not light a candle unless the wick be first suitably prepared.”

How well do you and your staff “prepare the wick?” Your organization might offer a thoughtful mission statement, exciting programs, robust transparency, and a strong return on investment. But these strengths amount to little if isolated from tough, focused, thoughtful preparation.

Preparation for a successful 2020 requires that you understand the major trends in our sector before they fully unfold. Some of these trends are new or episodic, while others have been gaining steam for some time. For example:

A flexible workplace. More than 9 in 10 virtual workers would recommend remote work to others. Meanwhile, young people are more interested in blending life and work than balancing them. Accommodating a variety of work arrangements will enable your nonprofit to recruit the best talent available.

The philanthropy of the future. The number of donor-advised funds in the United States has tripled since 2014. Some believe that DAFs will be the largest source of annual dollars received by nonprofits by 2030. Be sure you have the pieces in place to benefit from this vast transfer of wealth.

All is politics. 2020 promises to be a year characterized by deep disunity and rancor. Consider well before November how your group should respond. Do your donors expect you to grapple with the issues of the day—or to rise above them? How might the election call attention to your priority issues? Are you located in a swing state? These are just a few key considerations.

Livestreams are here to stay. Livestreaming continues its ascent due to richer interactivity features and an increase in mobile engagement. Boost your group’s livestream capabilities and reap the benefits. But be careful—making your streams appear too polished could turn off younger people, who prize authenticity.

Like a robot, only less creepy. Chatbots have become common in the corporate world, answering people’s questions, performing transactions, and making recommendations. This could be a worthwhile avenue for you to explore, as chatbots could make your target audiences feel welcome to your website while freeing up staff for other tasks.

Now is the time. With the stock market booming, donors have more disposable income. Now is the time to share with your donors big, transformative ideas with solid execution strategies.

Interested in going deeper? AC Fitzgerald is ready to help you “light the candle” for a fruitful and successful 2020. Contact us today!

Ken Marotte serves as Senior Writer and Managing Director at AC Fitzgerald. He writes powerful fundraising pieces for the firm’s clients, and uses his skills in process analysis and improvement to strengthen our day-to-day operations.

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