Many non-profit organizations struggle with using mobile technology for capturing and/or increasing donations. And while mobile devices provide the opportunity for donors to give anywhere, anytime or anyplace, mobile giving should always be used as a tactic rather than a strategy.
First, let’s look at some data. According to a recent PEW Research study, 58% of Americans own a smart phone and 42% own a tablet. 63% of those are using their phone as their primary tool to go online. Additionally, a 2013 Digby study found that smart phone users average 127 minutes per day with mobile apps.
Now, let’s take a look at what we know about donations using a mobile device. Right now, there are two primary means of collecting donations via mobile devices—text messaging programs and accessing web sites through mobile apps. Both can be effective, but both need to be implemented differently depending on the context.
Effective in Crisis
Urgency, like the 2010 Haiti earthquake relief effort, is shown to be the most effective use for a text message donation program. The texting program for that effort generated $43 million in donations through the text message solicitation alone.
Ease of Use
When it comes to organizations using mobile apps for purposes of soliciting donations, less research is available. However, many organizations are realizing that with over 50% of their Web traffic coming from mobile devises they need to give visitors a quick and simple way to give. One way is when prospects visit your web site, rollovers within specific content can be used for simple pop-up donation forms. Also, cross marketing apps through your other marketing channels is critical.
In terms of administration, the carriers can do all the heavy lifting (collection and distribution) at no cost to the charity. When it comes to developing apps, there are companies now that will work with you on creation of the app and are compensated through the processing fees which means no admin cost for the organization.
Know Thy Audience
The important thing to remember is that your organization needs to be thinking about where donors are, what they are doing and making sure the “ask” is relevant to what the prospect is engaged in on their device at the time. With 9% of adults having texted a charitable donation in the last year, the projections indicate a 2-3% increase per year moving forward.
Most importantly, organizations need to apply the “KISS rule” to their on-line solicitation channels. Keep It Simple Sam. As DiVinci famously said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
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