Future gazing: top 10 charity predictions for 2020

Future gazing: top 10 charity predictions for 2020

5th November 2019

By Qariem Radix

As we edge ever nearer to the end of the year, we’ve naturally started to ponder what may lie ahead for the charity sector in 2020. 

Digital will undoubtedly be at the core of 2020 charity trends. We’re already seeing larger charities embrace tech, for instance Breast Cancer Care and British Heart Foundation launching Alexa capabilities. No doubt more charities will soon follow suit. 

Still, says Ed Gairdner, chief operating officer at charity giving platform The Good Exchange: “The charitable sector is currently operating between five and 10 years behind the commercial sector when it comes to embracing the digital revolution.”

As tech-savvy generations mature, we’ll continue to see more digital opportunities emerge in 2020 – and it’ll be more important than ever for charities to get their digital ducks in a row. 

Let’s take a look at 10 trends to watch out for in 2020 and beyond…

1. Improved use of data

While GDPR has unearthed plentiful data on donors and beneficiaries, stringent legislation around consent has negatively impacted many charities. This is because charities, wanting to ensure compliance, changed tactics so they only contact or process the data of supporters who actively opt-in.

In 2020 we predict more charities will turn to legitimate interest (while being GDPR-compliant) over opt-in, enabling them to keep in touch with more people. After all, if a charity’s income falls, then it can’t help as many people.

2. Post-Brexit compliance

No doubt charities – just like other businesses – are confused and likely concerned about what will happen in terms of GDPR post-Brexit. Exploring the impact of a no-deal scenario, Charity Digital News writes that charities may need to adhere to the Data Protection Act for data processing. Chances are the Act will be updated so that GDPR guidelines are worked into UK law, but for now, we simply have to wait and see.

3. Tap to donate

Having loose change in your pocket is becoming a thing of the past. Almost three quarters (73%) of charities say street giving is failing because of this, yet last year, just 4% of charities used contactless payment systems. Investment in contactless solutions is sure to be a focus next year – not to mention key to success.

4. Better mobile experiences

Stats reveal that 79% of UK adults now own a smartphone, with mobile being the device of choice, especially among the younger generations of donors. Charities need to channel their efforts into creating seamless mobile experiences next year to inspire them to support their cause.

5. From viral to targeted campaigns

While some of the most successful viral campaigns of recent times – like the Ice Bucket Challenge and No Makeup Selfie – were initiated by the public, growing digital skills among charities means that those charities are now taking the lead with huge, media-led, targeted campaigns. Just take the current #ShareTheOrange campaign from Alzheimer’s Research UK, featuring Samuel L Jackson. It’ll be interesting to see what other charities come up with in 2020.

6. Investment in blockchain

Blockchain – the technology underlying the Bitcoin cryptocurrency – is being considered by charities as a way to meet digital payment demands, rebuild trust and improve transparency. Charities like the Red Cross and Save the Children are already accepting donations in Bitcoin, and we’re likely to see more follow suit in 2020.

7. Getting (even more) social

Social media is here to stay; we shared some tips on how to make it work for your charity in a recent blog. In particular, Instagram Stories (which had 500m daily active users at the start of this year) is proving extremely beneficial for companies looking to engage their target audience. Charities are using them in all manner of ways, from running quizzes to saying ‘thank you’ and showing how donors’ money is making a difference. 

8. Enhanced voice search

It’s predicted that half of all searches over the internet will be voice-based by 2020. The British Heart Foundation became the first UK-based charity to enable donations through Amazon Alexa, while charities are also launching so-called ‘skills’ to support their audiences from the comfort of their own home. A good example is the ‘Taking care of your breasts’ skill from Breast Cancer Care, which talks women through checking for early signs of breast cancer. We’ll see more enhanced voice experiences as we move into 2020.

9. Continued focus on email marketing

Email marketing remains incredibly effective for charities – Mailchimp found the average open rate to be 25.96%, compared to the universal open rate of just 6%. While many charities lost many email subscribers as a result of GDPR, some viewed this as a golden list-cleaning opportunity. Next year, charities will continue to use their smaller (yet more engaged) lists to pay closer attention to what’s working – including personalisation, marketing automation, etc.

10. More charities embrace VR

Virtual reality (VR) is enabling companies to create immersive and engaging experiences for their audiences – and charities are no different. A couple of examples are the 360-degree lifeboat tour courtesy of the RNLI, and VR dementia training from Alzheimer’s Research. We’re excited to see more innovative VR experiences come to the fore next year. 

The hope is that, in 2020, charities start gaining pace in utilising and embracing digital tools and technology. Digital is, after all, the way forward. Which trends do you think will dominate in 2020? Is there a trend we’ve missed off the list? Click here to take part in 2020 charity trends survey and have your say.