So, while you probably think we were just indulging holiday goodies over the break (which our waistlines will attest we did), we also continued our commitment to studying the data that makes our company a meaningful and informed partner.  The end of year is a time for reflection and resolutions but it is also a time to review what has worked and how the landscape will change in the future.  We hope to shorten your work load by providing some of our insights gleaned from the 2016 Nonprofit Communication Trends Report.  If you have other sources you’d like our team to comment on, please don’t be shy.  Let us know.  Captain CaringCent’s tutor (and our social media manager), Adrienne Bolton, can be reached at [email protected] or via 844-2-ROUNDIT.  Oh, wait, or just tweet at us @CaringCent or post on Facebook.

The 6th Annual Nonprofit Communications Trends Report has been published for 2016 by, giving us a look at how nonprofits are communicating. You can download the full report here, but in the meantime, we’ve highlighted a few key takeaways.

The six most important communication channels.

According to the report, the six primary communications channels used by nonprofits are:

  1. Websites (80%)
  2. Traditional Social Media [Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn] (71%)
  3. Email (67%)
  4. In-person Events (46%)
  5. Print Marketing (39%)
  6. Media Relations/PR (32%)

The report predicts that this trend will not change in 2016, however, visual social media and videos have moved up in priority this year. While these channels rank highest across the board, communication preferences tend to vary depending on job responsibilities. For example, nonprofit staff members with a direct responsibility for fundraising have a high preference for phone calls/phone banks, mobile apps/texting, in-person events and print marketing. Staff with a direct responsibility for community building/engagement, prefer media relations/PR.

Nonprofits use multiple sites for community engagement.

We all know that social media is the crème de la crème when it comes to reaching an audience these days. But where are nonprofits doing most of their communicating? The report tells us that while nonprofits use multiple social platforms for community engagement, there are three that remain supreme. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the top three social media sites used by nonprofits. Instagram is continuing to grow in popularity, however, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr remain stagnant. According to the report, “Nonprofits are most likely to experiment with Flickr and Periscope in 2016, confirming their interest in more visual content.” There’s something to think about.

Donor Retention has been rising as a goal across the board.

Communication goals vary in any organization depending on a staff member’s role. That’s no different in the nonprofit sector. While the top three goals vary depending on job title, donor retention has been rising across the board, especially with communication directors and executive directors. The reports states, “…communications directors lean more toward Community Engagement and Brand Awareness, while development directors lean more toward Donor Acquisition and Retention. Executive directors fall somewhere in the middle.”

A few things can get in the way of nonprofit staff success.

 According to the survey, nonprofit communication staff report the top five problems as:

  1. Too many competing priorities
  2. Urgent tasks take precedence over important ones
  3. Too many interruptions during the work day
  4. Lack of coordination of co-workers
  5. Lack of clear processes and procedures

If you’re a visual learner, here and here are excellent infographics that sum up the report.