With global and financial turmoil, a national election, and the rise of artificial intelligence and other technologies, we anticipate 2024 will pose new challenges for your nonprofit. Here are six to expect, along with our recommendations for how to address them in the year ahead.
1. Your core values will be tested.
In 2024, as global turbulence continues, economic uncertainty persists, and a national election takes center stage, nonprofits may find it difficult to stand by their core values. Stakeholders and the public may test your organization to act and communicate in ways not aligned with your values as you work to include and even appease them.
We advise: During difficult times, stay true to your values. This may mean that you lose some supporters, but you’ll gain others in the process. Your brand will emerge stronger by remaining steadfast in your vision, mission, and values and help you attract more supporters who believe in your work and are ready to stand with you.
2.The contentious 2024 US election will influence your fundraising success.
The 2024 election will dominate the headlines.
Your donors are not exempt from the emotional impact of a national election and may shift their investment priorities. And election-related content will dominate social media and search engine algorithms, making it difficult for your appeals to reach your key audiences.
This will not be a business-as-usual year. So now is the time to start thinking about how your impact, brand, and values can help you stand out when everyone else will be yelling that the sky is falling.
We advise: Create fundraising communications that speak to what your donors care about most, plan for August and post-election appeals (forget September and October), and make those appeals sing like never before.
To ensure your message breaks through the noise, incorporate a balance of emotion, reason, and urgency into your messages. Your need alone will not be enough.
3. Your human touch will be necessary in an AI world.
We will see an increasing amount of online copy generated by AI, as readers become better at picking out “machine language.”
Trust and authenticity are essential for nonprofits, serving as the foundation for meaningful partnerships, donor confidence, and sustained support for your missions. If you put out content easily detectable as being generated by AI, it can damage your credibility and weaken your brand.
We advise: Consider the limitations of using AI-generated content in your communications. AI has its own brand, with its own style and tone of writing. To make it work for you, rewrite any AI drafts with your nonprofit’s brand ideals and personality traits. If your brand and personality traits are unclear, it’s time to zero in to ensure your communications sound human and uniquely on-brand. Read more about personality expression for your nonprofit.
4. Your boldness will be rewarded.
At Mission Minded, we’re thrilled when organizations are ready to be bold in their brand, strategic plan, or campaign project because we know that best advances their goals. But we’re also seeing more and more organizations retreat to a place of familiarity, using “same old same old” approaches instead of courageously striking out into new territory.
Being safe means you blend in, when standing out is a must in an increasingly competitive and noisy world. In 2024 it will be more critical than ever to be unapologetically bold–in all aspects of your work.
We advise: Be bold in your brand positioning by claiming what your nonprofit uniquely provides that others do not. This increases your ability to stand out and stoke confidence and loyalty among those you need to join you in your mission.
Evaluate your brand and zero in on your unique positioning to stand out and invite more people in.
5. As government funding dwindles, elevate your individual fundraising game.
After the Great Recession, nonprofits that were overly dependent on government grants had to quickly shift into stronger individual giving programs. Those who pivoted survived and thrived. Those who didn’t struggled. We’re seeing this reality again post-pandemic.
We advise: As government dollars become less available, and you shift focus to individual giving programs, prioritize a great brand and case for support that tells a compelling and cohesive story. Read more about how a strong brand will help you reach your fundraising goals.
6. Brave leaders will be needed.
Few leaders are fearless, but all need to be brave. Our society sells us the idea that good leaders are fearless. In reality, most executive directors are humble humans, with fearlessness waxing and waning based on the day.
In 2024, nonprofit leaders need to understand their own humanity, give themselves empathy, allow for imperfections, disbelieve the imposter-syndrome self-talk, and tap their bravery resources when things are scary.
Whether your goal is being more successful in leading your team, working effectively with challenging colleagues, or advancing in some other aspect of your life, a coach can help you address challenges with confidence so you amplify your impact and find more peace and balance in your life.
Jennie Winton is a Founding Partner of Mission Minded, a 25-year marketing veteran sought for her expertise in branding nonprofit organizations, and a one-on-one leadership coach.
See all posts by Jennie Winton