Very often we look at donors as one static group. A group of people and organisations that give money and other resources. However, they’re not one uniform group. And far from static. Private individuals are different donors than government donors or private foundations. Digging deeper, family foundations tend to work differently than private foundations managed by a company. And all of these different donor groups follow (different) trends, too. Making fundraising for your nonprofit sometimes feel like you’re trying to hit a moving target. So what are nonprofit donor trends to look out for?


Donors have their mission, vision and values which are pretty stable, just like yours. But their priorities might change based on a change in strategy or policy or interest. This is more often the case with government donors and private individuals. You may notice that topics like migration, human trafficking, security and climate change are now more popular with donors than, say, twenty years ago. 

If you’re good at doing a PESTLE analysis, you may well be able to forecast what topics will be relevant to your (potential) donors.




Donors also follow trends when it comes to activities or concepts they like, and terms they like using. A longer term trend that is still going strong is the desire to empower local communities or small organisations instead of intermediary organisations. This is a trend that’s visible in private individual donors. In the past, people preferred giving to bigger organisations because they were considered more reliable. But now people prefer giving to small private initiatives because they’re expected to spend less money on overheads.

 Many government donors also want to give more support to local communities and organisations. But at the same time they don’t like all the paperwork hassle and look for bigger consortiums to do the sub-granting for them. 


For many donors, visibility is becoming more important. For instance, private foundations connected to companies often have strict requirements about visibility of the project activities. They often also expect the nonprofit to supply them with materials they can use in their own social media posts. 


Donors, especially government donors with accountability to a Parliament, are very keen on working with reliable and predictable nonprofit partners. They try to get certainty about proper project implementation before the first activity has started. So they may ask you for your strategies and policies in the field of finance management and administration, anti-fraud and anti-corruption, procurement, HR, security, etc. 

How I can help

Check out my free resource: Ten Esssential Strategic Documents Your Nonprofit Needs to Have.

Do you want to organize your financial processes professionally and with ease so that donors know they can trust you with their money? Get the workshop Financial Processes for Nonprofit.

If you want to learn more about how you can design your own monitoring framework and budget in the best, practical way, join my course Project Design for nonprofits. You can learn at your own pace and ask me anything in our live sessions and in our members only community. 

Watch my video Fundraising mindset in nonprofits nonprofit donor trends to look out for.

You can also check out my YouTube channel here, and find a collection of videos on HR issues, fundraising, annual reporting, donations and other nonprofit operations topics.

Want to know more and ask questions?

If you want to discuss this more – jump into my nonprofit support community and get input from a wide range of peers and from myself!

Here is how you can join my free nonprofit support community

You can join my free nonprofit support community on the Heartbeat platform here. This group is a safe space for open exchange and discussion on potentially sensitive topics like boards, nonprofit management, fundraising, etc. You can visit the community via a browser or via an app. Here is the link to download the Heartbeat chat app in the Google Play store.

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