Plan 9 from Outer Space has the greatest opening line of any absolutely cringingly terrible movie ever made.

“Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.”

Can’t argue with that! So we asked M+R’s finest fortune-tellers to make some predictions about what events will affect nonprofits in 2014. Here’s what the crystal ball conjured up:

Tip: Click on linked portions of the predictions to tweet them!


Will Valverde
Providence, Rhode Island

If 2011 was the Year of the Nonprofit Infographic and 2012 saw the triumphant return of the animated gif, then I think we’re about ready for the next wave in eye-catching online graphics. When it comes to email, it’s all about telling the story simply and quickly. That’s going to mean stripped-down iconography and bold images that make just one key point, moving away from the complicated infographics of a couple years ago (the DNC has been modeling this look for a while — they won’t be alone in 2014).

Or maybe it’s time for lolcats to reassert their online meme dominance. I would be so incredibly down with that.

Instagram is going to be huge for nonprofit engagement, recruitment, and (potentially) fundraising. Keep an eye out for the day when Facebook incorporates its insights and ads platforms into Instagram. It’ll be the beginning of something big.

Facebook will see the huge opportunity for cause marketing in the news feed and introduce a grants type program for discounted nonprofit ads, much like Google’s grants program.

The Upworthy and Buzzfeed-ification of headlines and blog titles will continue to proliferate until we’re all asking each other out on dates by way of corgi-themed gifsplainers.


Adam Gerber
Austin, TX


Leslie Kerns
Los Angeles

Too often we (organizations, campaigns, activists, policymakers, funders, & consultants) are so frozen in a conversation about how to solve all our problems that little to nothing gets accomplished. 2013 was a banner year for this frustrating cycle. So my optimistic prediction is that all of us say that’s enough talk, stop navel-gazing and actually start getting stuff done.

As we saw over and over in 2013, the world’s ability to do anything consequential to stop or prevent human rights atrocities is going to fall short in 2014. So the optimist in me hopes we see a rise in the power of international human rights campaigners to meet the rising demands for help in Syria, South Sudan, DR Congo and other areas where people are not getting the protection they need.


Bill Wasserman


Tom Novick
Portland, Oregon

Utilizing the courts, the legislative branch and the ballot box, 50% of Americans will reside in states with marriage equality by this time next year. And debates related to income inequality will dominate the political space in 2014 on many fronts.

Dark Money issues will again be a big political factor in 2014 elections – both in winning and losing elections. They will also force many nonprofits to begin to re-think how they preserve the integrity of the nonprofit brand.

Looking at the environment, I see energy development issues like fracking, the XL pipeline, and oil & gas development dominating both local and national political fights; setting the stage for 2016 elections and a new generation of political activism.


CB Pearson
Missoula, Montana


Lori Fresina
New England

The biggest game-changer in 2014 will be the influence of Pope Francis who will usher in a wave of policy change founded in equity, fairness, and a shared sense of community – locally and globally. These changes will not be carried out as mandates from the Vatican but will result from his quiet way of leading by example. Poverty, institutionalized discrimination, war, and economic injustices that lead to poor health, low education, unstable housing and crime will all be put on notice as decision-makers realign their priorities, putting their power behind actions that will also qualify them as moral leaders, not just leaders of government.

Hillary Clinton will announce her run for the presidency this year. And companies will continue the trend of improving organizational culture in order to recruit and retain the best staff.


Amelia Field


Charles Yesuwan

Every site we design and build this year will now be responsive. Mobile-optimized sites are more important than ever, but not every mobile phone has the same resolution. Having our sites be responsive means that we can cater to an unlimited number of screen sizes, from 27″ monitors to 3.5″ iPhone screens.

We’re also going to see a lot more campaign videos that are only 6-seconds long. Thanks to Vine, people are used to processing entire stories that used to have to be explained in 3 minutes (and filmed for whole days). If done right, we can now create awesome campaign videos in only 6 seconds.

The e-cigarette business will continue to boom and the use of e-cigarette technology to consume illicit drugs will draw more attention. At the same time, more jurisdictions will follow NYC’s lead and regulate e-cigarettes under their clean air laws, prohibiting use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking traditional cigarettes is not permitted. The FDA will also propose regulating (currently unregulated) e-cigarettes as tobacco products (at last!). E-cigarette companies will sue and otherwise work to delay regulation. A small number of e-cigarette companies will attempt to be regulated as drug cessation devices like the patch or nicotine gum.


Michael O’Loughlin


Cosa Bullock

This is the year we’ll find out if personality-driven news enterprises represent the future of media… or not. From Glen Greenwald’s new venture, to Andrew Sullivan, Nate Silver, and now, Ezra Klein, 2014 will be the year to note whether or not the established brands carry more weight than the talent who put out the content each day, or if audiences are willing to pay for the truly exceptional journalism from these reporters.

As the online fundraising space becomes more professionalized, the tactics that work are being shared and adopted more quickly, by more groups, more of the time. That’s why everyone’s inbox in 2013 was filling up with stuff that looked exactly the same. It’s not going to work for much longer and we’ll all be forced to evolve. Development directors are going to be forced to recognize that they’ve got to try more things that other people aren’t doing. That’s the only way to stand out from the crowd. And because everything new works better when it’s new (just look at the declining impact of matching gifts as they become ubiquitous) those who wait for “best practices” to be established are going to raise less than early adopters.

The result: Innovation will have a straighter, shorter line to revenue than ever before. And in my fantasy world, it’s going to usher in the next great wave of innovation in online fundraising.


Marc Ruben

So, what do you think? Are we totally wrong about everything? Will 2014 be the year Facebook starts really paying off for fundraisers? How will Obamacare impact the November elections? WILL BEYONCE RELEASE ANOTHER SECRET ALBUM!?!

This has been another edition of M+R Q+A. Have a question you want our experts to answer? Tweet at us with #MRQA.