The response from donors following January's earthquake in Haiti came in fast and furious — to the tune of tens of millions of dollars flooding in through every channel imaginable. From online donations to mobile text-to-give to traditional mail, the response was overwhelming. But questions also arose about today's giving environment, especially in a crisis. How do you keep new donors engaged? Is this the sign of a mobile revolution? How can you mobilize funds quickly and efficiently? How do you prepare for emergencies?
April 28, 2010, Mobile Commerce Daily — Fifty percent of nonprofit organizations expect to adopt mobile donor engagement and fundraising in the next two years, according to Kaptivate Group.
Currently, 36 percent of the organizations use mobile media or plan to deploy a mobile channel this year. Nonprofit adoption of mobile is expected to grow significantly in 2010.
After the devastating earthquake in Haiti earlier this year, more and more people are texting to give. If it brings in donations from people who wouldn't otherwise give or from folks who then will go on to give larger contributions online or in the mail, that's a good thing — a great thing, actually, to the tune of more than $30 million just days after the quake hit.
FundRaising Success: How would you define where the fundraising sector in the United States is in regard to mobile giving?
Jim Killion: Mobile giving is in its infancy, but with the dramatic results achieved by the Red Cross with text-to-give to Haiti relief, it is now on most people's radar. In many ways, mobile giving is where what is now often referred to as "traditional Internet giving" was six or eight years ago. And just as Internet giving has taken off in the last decade, so will mobile giving. But the move to mobile will be much faster than the move to Internet giving.
I'm not the most handy guy around, so, for the safety of my family, I don't have a lot of power tools. But a while back, I got a drill. I needed to make small, round holes in some things, and the drill helped me do it with great efficiency and a lot of cool noise. I loved that drill. It made holes in nearly anything I wanted to put a hole in. A kind of drill rapture overtook me. I saw that drill as the most elegant tool in the box. So much better than those boring hammers and screwdrivers.
After the tragedy in Haiti, the word “mobile” seemed to take on a life of its own. Like most bright, shiny things, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the success we saw with text-to-donate campaigns for Haiti relief. While bringing the use of mobile devices into the nonprofit world is most certainly a positive step, it still must hold up to the standard critiques given to any new method of communication that an organization decides to test when reaching out to their constituents. Here are a few things to mull over as you add SMS to your nonprofit vocabulary.
Interested in mobile giving? Be sure to read "Early Signals on Mobile Philanthropy: Is Haiti the Tipping Point?," a joint study by Convio, Edge Research and Sea Change Strategies analyzing mobile trends and adoption rates across Gen Y, Gen X, baby boomers and mature donors.
Palo Alto, Calif., March 1, 2010 — CauseWorld, the mobile application that allows consumers to give to causes just by entering retail stores and restaurants, has added the option to contribute to the Chile earthquake relief effort. The funds sent to Chile through the app will be facilitated by CauseWorld partner GlobalGiving, a nonprofit aid resource for disaster relief and long-term development around the world.
In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, important lessons are unfolding that underscore how the nature of fundraising is evolving as a direct result of technology and social media.