We had an eventful last week in Washington, DC, including an earthquake, a hurricane and more political antics. As my older daughter listened to the news one night, she expressed my thoughts: “Ugh, it’s just too much bad news.”Anyone else feel that way?Apparently, yes. There was an excellent piece by Bonnie Carlson in AdAge recently about how our national mood of anxiety is causing interesting marketing trends. She says, “the national mood is a catalyst that’s changing marketing strategy, for the better. Amid uncertainty, mistrust and cynicism, people have found ways to take control, hunker down and relieve the tension. Those coping mechanisms have influenced important marketing trends.”Here are some of the trends she cites and my take (in bold) on what they mean to our sector.1. Social media grows: People trust friends’ opinions more than corporate marketing messages, hence the growth of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Foursquare. As she notes, 90 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust recommendations of consumer opinions posted online. For us, this means we need our champions reaching out to their circles of influence – and we need to treat social media not as a fundraising tool but a listening post and relationship-builder.2. Individuals take control — including content. User-generated content has blossomed, and brands increasingly take their cue from consumers, says Carlson. How can you have your champions, volunteers and beneficiaries be the voice of your organization? Their messaging will beat our own most of the time, so give them the freedom and platform to create your organization’s content.3. Social conscience strengthens as a cultural and marketing force. Consumers want to make the world better, and they think brands should make the world better too. This is good news for us! Corporate social responsibility and cause branding are “in,” which create more partnership opportunities for us.4. Shoppers get frugal. They plan ahead, shop online, switch to private label. This means they may cut back on donations; read my advice on this here.5. We hunger for fun. This means you need to make donors feel good. We’re in the business of happiness and the joy of giving. Spread far and wide the delightful news of the difference your supporters are making in the world.Have a great Labor Day weekend – free of anxiety!