Washington Nonprofit Conference Roundup: Lively Q&A at Session on Mobile Fundraising
Nonprofit organizations around the world are raising millions of dollars via mobile fundraising for disaster relief in Haiti. And their experiences might well turn out to be both proving and testing grounds for this still-new medium.
In the session “Mobile, Online, Offline” at the DMA Nonprofit Federation 2010 Washington Nonprofit Conference last week, the “mobile” part of the presentation — moderated by Mark Smith, fundraising director, Greenpeace — took center stage as attendees engaged with speakers in a lively Q&A portion.
Among the questions and answers:
What information does the nonprofit receive about a donor who gives via text message?
According to Bill Bailey, manager of nonprofit partnerships at Washington, D.C.-based mobile technology company Distributive Networks, mobile carriers are very protective of their customers' personal information. In most cases, the nonprofit only receives the donor's cell phone number, the date and time at which the text was sent, and the word that was texted to make the donation. Nonprofits can follow up with a text message asking the donor to reply “yes” if she wishes to receive further communication from the organization; however, Bailey said, “way less than 5 percent” of donors opt in to receive further communication, likening this type of donation to placing cash in a Salvation Army kettle outside of a supermarket.
Bailey also advised fundraisers never to call the cell phone numbers of donors who have given via text, which sparked debate in the session hall from fundraisers who struggled with the concept of potentially losing a connection with more than 95 percent of mobile donors.
“I know you don't want to throw away donors, but you have to respect that they've chosen to communicate with you via text,” he said, noting that people generally are less open to receiving solicitation calls on their cell phones than on their land lines.