Mobile Fundraising and Traditional Giving Campaigns: Unrivaled Collaboration

Aug 26, 2013 1:30 PM ET
Campaign: mBlog

Mobile Fundraising and Traditional Giving Campaigns: Unrivaled Collaboration

We know all about those famous sibling rivalries. Cain and Abel. The brothers Jackson. Thor vs. Loki. Venus and Serena Williams. Mobile fundraising vs. Traditional solicitation.

Wait. What?

We sometimes hear a worry that text donation campaigns may be a detraction or detriment to your more traditional development and donor outreach efforts. But fear not! Mobile and traditional fundraising can get along as well as the Osmond Family. More than that, mobile and other forms of donor communication and solicitation can support and reinforce each other.   

Mobile Fundraising Does Not Undermine Traditional Giving

Let’s first understand what mobile does NOT do. Mobile will not undermine your traditional giving program. Mobile donors will continue to be inclined to give to your organization in other ways.

Our 2013 Text Donation study offers several insights into this:

We asked text donors if their contribution via their mobile phone made them “less inclined” to give a larger donation “via another standard method.” The response was a resounding “no.” In fact, 42 percent of the text donors we surveyed reported giving more than $250 to organizations they support each year. Nearly 14 percent report giving more than $1,000 per year. 

And regardless of how much they currently give, a total of 85 percent of current text donors say they are willing to give more money to nonprofits through other channels. 

Clearly, text donations are not the enemy of traditional fundraising. So if text donations are not the enemy, what can they do together? 

Text, Social Media and Online Giving – The Perfect Trio

Enter the great ménage a’ trois of fundraising: Text, online and social media.

Text donors are likely to support your online activities. In fact, text donors report that online giving is their most preferred method of charitable giving. And even if donors prefer giving online, the likelihood that they are doing so by accessing the web from their phone is increasing.  Consider this from the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

“In 2012, Americans read email on their phones more frequently than on their computers. Mobile devices account for almost a quarter of all web traffic…and the share of traffic from smartphones and tablets is expected to overtake traffic from desktops sometime this year or next”  (“Nonprofits Race to Get Ahead of the Explosion in Small Screens,” Chronicle of Philanthropy, 3/10/2012)

Social media and text messaging are also intertwined. More text donors are finding out about text donation campaigns through social media.  Social media is the second most common method donors hear about text donation campaigns (TV and radio is first), with a six-point increase among text donors from 2012 to 2013 saying that social media was how they learned about donating to their charity by text.   

The Attraction of Mobile for New Donors

We know that as much as 80 percent of mobile donors are unique to an organization. That means that mobile is not just a source for text donations…it’s a great source for new donors who otherwise might not be a part of your donor base. Mobile is a donor acquisition tool. 

For example, one nonprofit client was able to acquire more than 2,100 new donors in the first year of their mobile campaign. Their retention rate for year one was 82 percent – which grew to 96 percent by year three and four. Through mobile they found new donors, kept them and are cultivating them to into their overall efforts.

Mobile and Events Go Hand-in-Hand

Special events and mobile are also a good match made in heaven. You can use mobile to communicate with event participants before, during and after the event as well as attract new supporters attending the event through signage and other awareness activities to attract opt-ins. We know this works – for example, one client was able to use mobile surrounding an event to attract new supporters, engage them on social media and build a relationship with them so that they achieved a 90 percent retention rate. Mobile donors are also event donors – our 2013 Survey showed that donating at special events was the second most preferred method of giving for text donors.

Tips for Integrating Mobile and Traditional

Okay, so mobile and the rest of your donor communication tactics get along famously. What can they do together? Here are a few tips:

  1. Use the principals of fundraising (Research, Identification, Cultivation, Solicitation). They apply to mobile too.
  2. Optimize your website for mobile. 
  3. Collect mobile number on your online forms.
  4. Use social media to promote the online forms.
  5. Make it easy to share your messages straight from text message to Facebook and Twitter. 
  6. Bring mobile and social media together to encourage peer to peer fundraising.
  7. Share links via mobile to YouTube, Vine and Instagram videos (and don’t forget a call-to-action to take advantage of the emotional response video can spark).
  8. Collect mobile phone numbers on paper registration forms at events.
  9. Use signage at the events to encourage attendees to become mobile supporters by opting-in on the spot.
  10. Conduct a mobile poll during the event as another way to engage attendees and get them to participate.
  11. Ask mobile supporters to help recruit volunteers for an event.
  12. Use email to help recruit your mobile community.
  13. Publicize an opt-in message at events.
  14. Include an opt-in message in advertising.

Mobile phones play well in so many types of donor relations – from acquisition, to ongoing communication, event participation, solicitations, social media and online giving – they should be nominated for a humanitarian award. 

And if they win, be sure to text out a link to your mobile optimized website announcing the news!

Cassie Bair is the VP of Marketing at Mobile Accord.Cassie has worked with many U.S. nonprofits leading marketing,strategic partnership, mobile and cause marketing initiatives. mGive, a Mobile Accord service, educates, engages and empowers nonprofits and their stakeholders through our groundbreaking utilization of SMS (text message) technology. Contact Cassie on Twitter (@Bairings) or by texting CASSIE to 50555. Message and Data rates may apply.