Moving Toward Mobile?
I attended my first nonprofit conference a couple weeks ago, the 2010 Washington Nonprofit Conference, which was a great introduction to the world of fundraising. It appears to be a particularly exciting and challenging time for fundraisers, especially as you navigate new technologies and try to decide how best to integrate them into your existing donor strategy.
In the midst of the massive fundraising efforts for Haiti relief, and with donations garnered through text messaging grabbing national and international headlines, it was no surprise that mobile fundraising provoked much discussion and debate throughout the conference.
Fundraisers have many concerns about this type of fundraising: Will setting a specific dollar amount for mobile donations discourage donors from giving more? Will this type of giving result in "throw-away" donors because, given little information about the donors, organizations have very limited means for follow-up? Should organizations use the one piece of information they do receive about mobile donors -- their cell phone numbers -- to place a follow-up call?
In response to the crisis in Haiti, I recently donated through text messaging to Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti organization. As with so many others, this particular crisis touched me and urged me to action, but quite honestly, I'm not sure I would have been prompted to donate any way other than text messaging. It was so simple -- a no-brainer, really -- and the set dollar amounts for mobile giving ($5 and $10) made me feel as if my small contribution really would make a difference. It didn't discourage me from giving more; it encouraged me to give something.
In response to my donation, Yele Haiti followed up with a thank-you text and an option to opt out of receiving further communications from the organization, which I took advantage of. Under normal circumstances, I would not give to Yele Haiti, not because I don't believe they do good, important work, but because my philanthropic giving is limited and other causes speak to me more personally. If someone from Yele Haiti now were to call me on my cell phone, I would be annoyed.