15 Mobile Fundraising and Mobile Marketing Takeaways
The first mobile fundraising campaign of note was the United Way's text-to-give campaign aired as a commercial during the Super Bowl in response to the 2007 tsunami in Asia. That commercial spot "raised about $10,000 in 10 seconds" via text, said Jenifer Snyder, executive director of the mGive Foundation, at the 2011 Nonprofit Mobile Day held in Washington, D.C. Ever since, fundraisers have been enamored with the potential of the mobile channel, even more so after the response to the Haiti relief efforts.
During her session — "Mobile Giving or Mobile Marketing — or Both?" — Snyder and co-presenters Doug Stovall, senior vice president of sales and client services at Hipcricket; Christian Zimmern, vice president at the Mobile Giving Foundation; and moderator John Styers, vice president of corporate strategy and industry relations at 3Cinteractive, had a rapid-fire discussion about mobile giving and mobile marketing. Here are some key takeaways from that discussion.
- "The expectations are high from Haiti, but hardly anyone can replicate that. Someone said nine out of 10 times that won't happen. No, it's more like 999 times out of 1,000 that won't happen."
- "How do we get a donation on someone's phone, and how do you market that to your constituency? How can we drive donations to mobile? What we see is, from a fundraising perspective, the results are fairly small. Key to successes for mobile giving has been the ease of use. Ten years ago there were hardly any SMS. Now it's huge, and it will not go away anytime soon as a marketing tool. SMS will be here for a long time. It's here to stay. How do we integrate the new technologies to interact with SMS?"
- "The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund filmed a PSA and put a call to action driving people to the website as well as a mobile promotion. It did not see any decline with online giving with the mobile call to action, which is one of the barriers you often hear. Mobile giving does not jeopardize other forms of giving because it's a different type of donor action. Some people gave $1,000 online and $10 via text."
- "More and more organizations utilize podcasts and radio/TV for mobile campaigns. That's one of the most effective ways when it comes to fundraising. Then you have to cultivate them via marketing."
- "Do not scare them away once they donate. If you send them five text messages a day, they'll leave."
- "ISIS Inc. is an organization that talks about sexually transmitted diseases with young people. It wanted to roll a database to communicate with young people to educate. It built a database and kept hearing from students that they'd like to be able to find the locale of local clinics. So it developed a system where students can text to a short code and what comes back are clinics in the area."
- "We do a lot with NPR. … We hit people with traffic alerts, text messages for donations, taking them to the call center through mobile, etc. It's generating money to help reach goals at a time when funding to NPR can be in jeopardy."
- "If you utilize mobile, it has to be integrated and tagged across all your channels and platforms. You can find affordable mobile. It's more about you wanting to get into mobile. You need to believe in mobile. It's here, people are using it and the engagement is unbelievable. If you as an organization believe in mobile, you'll be successful with mobile. It doesn't matter if you're the American Cancer Society or a small community organization. You can do phenomenal things if you're committed."
- "We just completed a study: We surveyed mobile donors to see why they used mobile, how often the want to communicate, etc. Do mobile donations cannibalize other donations? No. Giving through direct mail or online will not be affected by giving $5 or $10 via mobile. Some say they'd like to give more via mobile. The majority would like to hear monthly, if not weekly, from organizations they're involved with."
- "The reasons donors gave for why they made mobile gifts is because it's convenient and they had positive experiences."
- "Haiti was a wonderful tipping point — we saw the power of microdonations — but it skewed perceptions and expectations. Mobile is not just for raising funds. It's for engaging and communicating with donors."
- "Through mobile you can send monthly alerts; daily tips; once-a-month asks for $5, $10, $25 donations; ongoing support and cultivation."
- "Eighty-five percent of texts are read within 15 minutes. It's a really powerful tool."
- "No matter who you work with, every message has to go through the approved folks like mGive or Mobile Giving."
- "Mobile is about emotional reaction to engage very quickly, catching donors when they're ready to make that donation and not waiting for them to take an action."