We’ve just published the 2024 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report! Thousands download this report every year (it’s our 14th edition) as it’s the “go-to” source for what’s REALLY happening in the world of nonprofit communications. Nonprofit communicators, get your copy of the 2024 trends report by filling out the form on the Nonprofit Communications Trends Report page OR you can join our Private Community space and access this year’s report, trends reports from the last several years, and lots of other resources. Oh yeah, it’s all free by the way! If you are already a member, just go to the Free Resources space or enter “trends report” in the search bar.
2024 Trends for Nonprofit Communicators
We broke down this year’s data into four main sections (and one bonus section for those of you in Canada):
2024 Hot Topics
- Artificial Intelligence Use and Concerns
- Impact of the 2024 United States Election Cycle
- How Nonprofits Reacted to Changes at Twitter (Now X)
- Who Should Take the Blame for Falling ROI
- Types of Content Nonprofits Post Most Often
- Content Nonprofits Post vs Nonprofit Social Media Objectives vs Content People Want
Brand and Style
- Changes Being Made to Style Guides
- Website and Email Newsletter Template Redesign Frequency
- The Most Popular Brand Archetypes for Nonprofits
- Disconnect Between Archetype and Content Posted on Social Media
- Most Effective Team Models
- Team Growth
- Team Size
- How Teams Manage the Marketing/Communications Budget
- Use of Outside Consultants/Freelancers/Agencies
- Who Manages Internal Communications?
Canada Versus the World
- Team Models
- Number of Full Time Employees
- Internal Communications
- Social Media Content
(Yes, this year we had enough data from our Canadian friends to do some interesting comparisons!)
There is a ton of great data on all of these things in the report, so I recommend you download the full report to get the big picture. But I thought I would share what surprised me and what didn’t in this year’s Nonprofit Communications Trends Report.
What Surprised Me in the 2024 Trends Report
Only 53% of nonprofits said they used AI for grammar. Editing tools in word processing software, your browser, CMS, etc. are technically AI, but I guess not everyone thinks of them that way. Or maybe y’all are way better at proofreading than I am!
Few nonprofits are worried about the 2024 election cycle interfering with their communications. I hope they are right and it doesn’t turn into the crap storm it was in 2020.
Nonprofits don’t ask for money as much as I thought they would on social media.
A lot of you are making changes to how you describe your work or programs.
A majority surveyed said they had redesigned their website in 2023 or were planning on doing so in 2024. It’s good to see, but it’s such a major investment to change your website.
I did think updating email templates would happen more frequently though.
Just over half of communications teams either grew in 2023 or expected to grow in 2024. One of the main points of frustration for nonprofit communicators since I started doing this work was not enough staff. So I am very excited nonprofits are realizing how much a good communications team can bring to the table.
Only about a third of nonprofit communications teams draft and manage their own budgets. I probably shouldn’t have been now that I think about, but I was shocked not more of you have control over your budget. Eighteen percent of you just have to “find” money within the organization? That’s crazy!
Over half of nonprofit communications teams hired graphic designers or videographers and web developers/consultants in 2023. After I read the budget data, I was surprised so many of you were able to bring in outside experts to help.
Canadians are less likely to post optimistic or positive content on social media most of the time compared to the rest of the world.
While the order changed some, the four most popular brand archetypes remained the same across the world.
Download your copy to get all of the data from the 2024 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report
What Did NOT Surprise Me in the 2024 Trends Report
Despite misgivings about using AI (which we also cover in the report) the vast majority of nonprofits do not have any kind of policy in place for its use.
Nonprofits have cut their use of X (formerly Twitter) and that they switched their efforts to the Meta-verse.
Nonprofits aren’t exactly setting themselves up for success on social media when it comes to the type of content they post. When looking at what nonprofits are posting most of the time, sharing news or upcoming events (46%) and marketing programs (46%) top the list. Not exactly shareable, engaging content.
Nonprofits are not funny (or at least they don’t post humorous content on social media). Almost 60% of nonprofits say they seldom or never post funny content. Again, not really giving the people what they want.
The Caregiver is the most popular brand archetype in the nonprofit sector, followed by the Sage. When I first started doing research on archetypes, these were the two I thought made the most sense and would be the easiest for nonprofits to embody.
The content nonprofits post most often on social media does not reflect their archetype. For example, only 10% of Sages say they offer advice or tutorials most of the time. And a whopping 89% of Jesters are only posting humorous or light-hearted content some of the time or not at all. To help nonprofits with this disconnect, we shared several content ideas for the top 4 most popular brand archetypes in the full report.
Solo communicators are most likely to be working in the more ineffective team models compared to larger teams.
Over a third of this year’s survey participants say that internal communications is one of their primary responsibilities or they play a leading role. Through past webinars and blog posts I have worked on, this was not surprising. Doesn’t make it right! But not surprising.
Canadian nonprofits embody the Everyperson archetype more than those in the United States.
Download your copy to get all the nonprofit communications trends for 2024
Let us know what surprised you or if you have any questions! If you are a member of the community, we are already talking about the trends report. Not a member? Join now. It’s free!