The Rise of Mobile Giving
I hope you enjoyed my last article “How Does My Online Donation Page Look? = The Wrong Question.” For those of you who missed it, let me provide this disclaimer: I lead an online fundraising company, so my perspective is very pro-digital. But it’s also informed by 10 years of Internet fundraising experience, so I hope it will be of some value to you. I’m fortunate to observe hundreds of online fundraising organizations from all over the world, but primarily in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and the E.U.
Now to today’s topic. As you read this article, consider that the world’s population will be approximately 6.8 billion people by the end of 2009. We believe that in that population, just more than 25 percent are Internet users or, in other words, 1.7 billion Internet users. Internet usage is highest in North America where we believe more than 74 percent of people are Internet users. That is a lot, right? Not when compared to mobile!
Global mobile statistics make Internet statistics look meager by comparison. Mobile subscriptions across the globe are expected to reach 4.6 billion by the end of this year, and mobile broadband subscriptions are estimated to top 600 million in 2009, having overtaken fixed broadband subscribers last year.
We’re starting to see several distinct flavors of mobile-giving strategies. The most common so far has been the “premium SMS” method. Popularized in the U.K. and Europe, these fundraising campaigns ask potential donors to send an SMS text message to a specific number. Advantages of this approach: It is extremely fast and easy, and works on most types of mobile devices that are SMS-ready. Challenges: Donation amounts are typically small ($5), and money is collected via cell phone bills. In the U.K., phone carriers often take a very large portion of the donation, sometimes up to 50 percent.