Why Mobile Matters for Fundraisers
Mobile has been deemed the next big thing in the fundraising sector, but the technology is still in its infancy. It took years for e-philanthropy to have a major impact in terms of direct dollars and cents, and the same most likely will be true for mobile.
But that doesn’t mean fundraisers should ignore it until the technology for mobile giving and engagement matures. Just as with the Internet, early adopters will reap the biggest rewards once the mobile-giving wave hits. In the opening session at DMA Nonprofit Mobile Day in Washington, D.C., last month, “American Cancer Society: How Mobile Plays a Key Role in Donor Outreach,” American Cancer Society (ACS) National Director for Web and Mobile Miles Orkin discussed why mobile matters now for fundraisers.
Why mobile matters
Orkin began by asking, “Why does mobile matter?” For ACS, it matters because it wants “to be able to send cake,” Orkin said. Playing off the ACS slogan that it saves lives from cancer and thus creates more birthdays, ACS built an iPhone app for birthdays where people can "send cake" to cancer survivors on their birthdays and donate to ACS.
He gave four reasons why mobile matters for every organization:
- There are nearly as many mobile subscribers as there are people in the U.S.
- Mobile devices are rarely, if ever, beyond four feet away from their owners — “It’s an intimate and personal device, and that makes a huge difference,” Orkin said.
- Hundreds of millions of Americans communicate and consume on mobile.
- Brands that understand consumer mobile behavior now will ensure success as the channel evolves.
Plus, mobile has unparalleled ubiquity:
- 293 million U.S. wireless subscribers
- 307 million U.S. population
- 93 percent U.S. wireless penetration
- 2.26 trillion mobile minutes of use monthly
- 24.5 percent U.S. wireless-only households.
Further, broadband access is a growing market. In 2006, there were 3 million wireless subscribers with broadband access. In 2010, that number grew to 73 million. Smartphone ownership increased 85 percent from 2009 to 2010, unlimited data plan subscribers increased 57 percent from 2009 to 2010, and more than 89 percent of cell phones operating on wireless carriers’ networks are capable of browsing the Web.
The reach of mobile is unparalleled, and that’s why it matters for fundraisers.
How ACS conducts its mobile efforts
“There’s a misperception that mobile is this tool for just 16-year-olds,” Orkin said. “It’s actually a cross-generational technology tool that’s ubiquitous.”