More on Mobile
It is totally illogical to assume that because an educated and experienced traditional donor was moved to respond in an instant by text that they did not also send a check or go online later and make a large gift. That's just not how people operate. The tragedy was covered in the news for weeks and still is getting significant coverage, so there is time for people to realize additional donations made through whatever means possible will help the long-term recovery efforts.
FS: Can smaller organizations without easy access to media and celebrities that encourage mobile giving benefit as much as those large organizations that did so well with Haiti relief efforts?
JK: The biggest challenge for interactive giving is exposure: getting people to your Web site or, in this case, getting them to text your organization. Absent dramatic exposure — and more than 95 percent of nonprofits do not have the necessary reach and exposure — nonprofits will have a very hard time funding their needs through text-to-give. Most will struggle to break even.
TA: While celebrities and media certainly make it easier to get the message out, we have many examples of smaller organizations that are successfully using text donations to raise money. One of the benefits of mobile donations is that the cost of fundraising — particularly in attracting new donors — is much lower.
FS: What's next for mobile giving in the U.S? What about hurdles?
JK: Perhaps the greatest hurdle is the tendency for nonprofits to be late adopters. E-commerce scaled well before e-philanthropy. And mobile giving will lag mobile commerce. But I am of the opinion that mobile giving will take hold much more quickly than online giving did. We will see significant income — with sustainable donor relationships — start to flow in the mobile channel well before 2015. And when that happens, it will have enjoyed a much faster adoption rate than traditional Internet giving.