A recent study prepared by the Pew Internet Project called “Real Time Charitable Giving” sheds some light on the phenomena of Text Donations. Author Aaron Smith shows an interesting fact regarding the concept. 89% of the donors that contributed to the $43 Million collected in 2010 for Haiti Relief heard about it on TV. First off, congratulations to everyone who was a part of that campaign and to each individual donor. These funds have and I am sure will continue to help the nation of Haiti in their long re-building effort.
However, with that said I am going to focus in on what else this research shows. “89% of all donors heard about it on TV”. So that means that pretty much 9 out of 10 donors saw it on their TV’s. So if a nonprofit or cause has access to TV or other large means of communicating their cause and donation drive, they should be ok. The other side of that is what about all the other 1.7 million nonprofits that don’t have access to national Television? How can they achieve success with mobile fundraising? How can a small nonprofit effectively reach donors in the mobile space?
At MyCharityBox (www.mycharitybox.com) we have been able to learn and would like to share with you some very interesting facts.
Mobile giving can work but like anything else it needs some love and thought out planning to make it work. Here are a few tips that we think can help make the difference.
1. Mobile Donations come with NO guarantee.
If you are a small nonprofit or Synagogue or Church signing up for a Mobile Giving tool or Text Donation service doesn’t guarantee anything. In case you were sleeping on the fundraising job, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MAGIC PILL IN FUNDRAISING! Mobile Giving is a good idea for one simple reason, accessibility, nothing else. The bottom line is people use their mobile phones a lot. I don’t need to quote statistics just walk outside and take a look around you. Therefore there is a pretty good chance that one of your current or future donors probably have a cell phone and one of them will probably want to make a donation from that phone, so you better be ready to be there for them. Case in point, in December 2010 a donor donated $1,800 to a charity from our MyCharityBox iPhone optimized application while having lunch with his partner. Why? He felt the moment of inspiration and was able to easily access a tool to give right on his phone. We have seen this over an over again with contributions reaching as highs $25,000 FROM A MOBILE PHONE!!!! The flip side of that are organizations that pull in less than $100 a month through the channel.
2. Make some noise.
Now that we have established that the tool itself is a necessity to ensure you can give your donors a way to give from their phone, lets move to step 2. Make sure your donors know about it. Seems simple enough but funny thing is a lot of organization completely miss this fact. Get a QR code so tech savvy folks can show off their cool new smartphone, put it on your mailings, make sure its plastered on your website and you may as well add it to your email signature. Like anything else in marketing, it takes multiple times to get a message across. I know you think every donor is sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for you to tell them about Mobile Giving, but they’re not.
3. Show the love
One of the worst parts of “traditional” (I know seems like an odd choice of words) mobile fundraising is the complete lack of donor love. There are some solutions that will allow the donor to give but not many that integrate donor love for post donation. Of course with donor love I mean tax receipts, future communications and overall donor cultivation. In fact some Text Donation services don’t supply you with the donors address and name. If you are going to use Mobile Giving be sure you can treat those donors with the same love you treat the rest of them, maybe even more after all they are squinting at a 2 inch screen to show you their love.
4. Don’t limit the options
This one really takes the cake. Mobile giving with pre-determined amounts or limits on the amount a donor to give. So in short, spend money on a system, give it love, promote it, drive a donor to it, get them to pull out their wallet and then….tell them $10 is the max they can give or to make the experience “easier” offer them 4 predetermined dollar amount to choose from. One word, idiotic. If you are going to put int he work and your donor is going to join you in the mobile giving process, let them give what they want. Trust me getting a donor to decide to give on a mobile phone takes more brain power and energy then typing a dollar amount on a screen. Don’t decide what they want to give, they can do it themselves.
In short, Mobile Giving is great, Text Giving is great but there is no general process nor system that works for everyone. If you are the national level and have access to TV then your at one level. If you are a small to medium sized organization your in an entire other world. The good news is your world has mobile giving to, it just takes some reality checks and work.