Top Trends to Watch in Nonprofit Fundraising in 2022


Are you ready for the fundraising trends that will be popular in 2022?

Read this guide to prepare and consider how they’ll factor into your strategies.

As we enter the new year, you’re likely busy creating your budget and fundraising calendar for 2022. However, because 2021 looked drastically different than 2020, it’s important to familiarize yourself with rising nonprofit trends and consider how they might fit into your new plans.

In this guide, we’ll cover trends to watch in two main fundraising channels—grant fundraising and online giving.

Let’s get started.

Grant Fundraising Trends

The top grant fundraising trends for 2022 are a result of grantmakers listening and learning from the pandemic’s effects on the nonprofit sector. The COVID-19 pandemic sent the nonprofit sector into a state of volatility and disruption, and grantmakers had to adjust their operations in 2021 as a response.

Vaccines are available and some in-person gatherings are resuming, but we’re not reverting to pre-pandemic operations quite yet. So, while you should maintain grant management best practices, you can expect to see the following trends:

  1. Increased leniency from grantmakers. Grantmakers are notoriously particular when it comes to deadlines, reporting requirements, and how funds are allocated. After watching nonprofits drastically adjust their strategies out of necessity during the pandemic, some funders are lessening these restrictions. For example, a recent survey found that 58% of funders added leniency in grant timelines while 55% allowed nonprofits to adjust their program objectives.
  2. Decreased red tape to win and access grants. During the pandemic, there was not only an increased need for grant funding but also increased urgency—few causes could wait for grant funding to pass through bureaucratic red tape. Grantmakers are increasingly moving toward a trust-based process, through which they can transfer funds to nonprofits on a faster timeline.

The public health pandemic isn’t the only call-to-action from 2020 and 2021 that has influenced grantmakers’ operations. We’ll also see the impacts of increased diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, climate change initiatives, and rising social and economic causes. Grantmakers will not only start to prioritize funding more of those projects by nonprofits, but they'll also continue shifting their own processes for awarding grants and creating stipulations to be more in line with changing norms and expectations.

Online Fundraising Trends

In the realm of online fundraising, social giving is stepping into the spotlight in 2022.     

Social giving, also known as virtual-native or virtual-first fundraising, describes fundraising campaigns that take place entirely online through social media networks. Initially starting with the “Donate” button and birthday fundraisers on Facebook, some nonprofits have now raised millions of dollars through social giving according to GoodUnited. On Facebook alone, over $5 billion has been raised using social giving tools.

At this point, there are fundraising tools available on three major social networking websites: Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. However, simply using social fundraising tools isn’tthe trend to watch in 2022; for many missions, the real trend is embracing a fully virtual-first strategy.

Essentially, this means adjusting your nonprofit’s online fundraising strategy to prioritize social giving. Here are two examples that encompass how some nonprofits are embracing social giving from initial donor engagement through ongoing stewardship:

Challenges on Facebook

Challenges are a type of peer-to-peer fundraiser that takes place on Facebook. During a Challenge, participants complete a task, such as walking, running, or doing calisthenics each day for a set amount of time. This could be anything from one week to a month. While doing so, they raise funds for your nonprofit by creating a fundraiser on Facebook. Participants are also added to a Facebook group, in which they can connect with one another in a digital community.

The main benefit of Challenges on Facebook is that they’re an additive fundraising method. We’ve found that over 90% of the participants that a nonprofit engages through Challenges are new to either the nonprofit or the cause. So, Challenges are a way to find new supporters and funding sources to enhance your other strategies.

Conversational Messaging Automation

Conversational messaging describes one-on-one conversations held between one of your supporters and a representative from your nonprofit. These conversations are just like the spoken versions, except they take place on Messenger.

We’ve discussed how Challenges on Facebook connect your nonprofit with supporters. Conversational messaging on the platform is what seals the deal, and turns a one-time participant into a long-term supporter for your nonprofit.

Few if any nonprofits have the staff capacity to dedicate to chatting one-on-one with every social supporter they encounter. However, social fundraising solutions are now making it possible to automate these conversations—customizing the messaging sequences to both your nonprofit’s branding and supporters’ responses.


Action steps you can take today

Both grant fundraising and online fundraising have experienced drastic shifts as a result of the pandemic, and the impact of the crisis isn’t going away as we head into 2022.

To make the most of these rising fundraising trends, take the following action steps:

  • Communicate any roadblocks to grantmakers as soon as they arise. These partners can only be lenient or make adjustments if they know what you’re facing.
  • Examine your fundraising calendar for opportunities to incorporate Challenges on Facebook (Meta).
  • Research social fundraising services providers to begin the process of messenger automation.