[GUEST POST] Capitalizing on Mobile Fundraising: 4 Strategies for Nonprofits

For those of us who work with nonprofit organizations, the implications of a world in which everyone has a smartphone are huge. With such unprecedented internet access, the ability to donate to nonprofits is right in everyone’s pockets, every single day.

So is your nonprofit ready and able to take advantage of mobile fundraising?

There are many mobile fundraising and text-to-give providers out there, each with slightly different features. Double the Donation’s list of top text-to-give services can help you compare and contrast providers, allowing you to make the most informed choice.

As you get up and running with your software, it’s all about optimization.

In this article, we’ll take you through 4 ways to capitalize on mobile fundraising technologies to generate more online engagement and donations:

  1. Perfect your organization’s text-to-give capacity.
  2. Optimize your online donation form for use on mobile devices.
  3. Advertise, advertise, advertise!
  4. Ensure that your mobile efforts are in line with your overall fundraising strategy.

In no time, your organization will able to make the most of your mobile donation process to invite more engagement from your mobile constituency!

Bonus! If you’re looking for even more advice when you’re done reading, see what you can glean from your peers by attending a conference (like the Nonprofit Technology Conference) or checking out what valuable online resources they provide (like the ones on this site!).

1. Perfect your organization’s text-to-give capacity.

Chances are, you’ve heard of the concept of text-to-give. Your nonprofit may even be utilizing text-to-give services already. Let’s make sure you’re using these tools most effectively.

As @Pay states in their guide on the topic, “Text-to-give technology allows donors to give to nonprofits and other organizations of their choice directly through the text messaging app on their mobile devices.” Such technology can work in a variety of ways.

One of the main text-to-give methods functions in a simple series of steps:

  1. The donor texts their desired donation amount to a specific number. In some cases, they must also include a unique shortcode that corresponds to your organization or cause.
  2. The donor receives an automated response over text message that contains a link to the corresponding campaign donation form.
  3. The donor fills out the donation form and hits submit. Their donation is now on the way!

Text-to-give is a powerful donation tool that allows individuals to give any time, anywhere.

Therefore, you should spend time ensuring that your text-to-give process is simple and streamlined so that users are able to donate quickly and painlessly.

Some tips to keep in mind when setting up your text-to-give campaign include:

  • If you use shortcodes, keep them simple. The longer or more complicated your shortcode is, the less likely donors are to make a donation in the first place. Keeping them simple also prevents typos that might delay the donation process.
  • Keep the forms concise. Lengthy, overly-detailed forms don’t translate well to mobile devices and can discourage potential donors. Trim down your forms to get only the most necessary information so that donors can fill it out in seconds.
  • Offer several options, including recurring donations. Let your donors know that they are welcome to give as much or as little as they’d like with multiple giving amounts. Also, allow them the option to become recurring donors, meaning that they won’t have to constantly text your organization if they want to keep giving.

An added bonus of many text-to-give software services is that they can integrate seamlessly with your nonprofit’s existing data sources or CRM.

Be sure that your chosen text-to-give provider offers comprehensive integration support. Doing so will mean that donor information will funnel through your text-to-give software and into your main database, resulting in a more “connected” organization, a better-informed staff, and a more tailored giving experience for your donors.

Key point: Text-to-give options are a great way to meet donors where they are, so make sure that your text giving process is simple and painless in order to maximize mobile donations.

2. Optimize your online donation form for use on mobile devices.

Not all donors will want to engage with your organization via text. Some may prefer to visit your nonprofit’s site on their own to give.

However, this engagement is still likely to occur via a mobile device — meaning that it’s imperative your online donation tools work properly, regardless of the medium being used.

It’s important that as you are creating your online donation form, you also spend time optimizing it to ensure a good mobile donation experience.

Remember, mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have a much smaller screen than a normal computer or laptop.

Therefore, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure that your donation form is clean and uncomplicated. No one wants to have to wade through a ton of text on a phone screen just to get to the donation form!
  2. Adjust any buttons or entry fields so that they are large and easy to read when on a mobile device. Don’t make donors pinch and zoom just to be able to give money.
  3. Check to make sure that all entry fields function correctly and that there are no broken or corrupted links when viewed on a mobile device. It’s helpful to have a member of your team actually go through the mobile donation process so they can make note of any areas needing improvement.
  4. Ensure that donors have a way to get in touch with you if something goes wrong during their mobile giving process. Offer comprehensive support, and let your donors know that you are there to answer any and all questions.

The bottom line is that you want to make the donation process as easy and user-friendly as possible

This might mean that you have to create a more customized website to optimize your nonprofit’s mobile experience, or that you simply choose a platform that devotes particular attention to being mobile-responsive.

One other mobile giving option to consider is the mobile kiosk. In a nutshell, a mobile kiosk functions like a portable register, offering a direct link to your donation page and a credit card reader for easy payment processing.

This technology is especially useful if your organization hosts a lot of fundraising events. Setting up a mobile kiosk allows donors to walk up and easily input their information to make a donation throughout your event.

Since these kiosks tend to rely on tablets to collect donor information and display your online giving forms, it’s crucial that your pages are optimized with that in-person giving experience in mind.

Key point: Your online donation page should work just as well on a mobile device as it does on a computer screen in order to provide donors with another way to give.

3. Advertise, advertise, advertise!

You’ve set up a text-to-give campaign, and you’ve made sure that your online donation form works perfectly on any given mobile device. But you’re not quite done yet.

No one is going to donate via mobile devices if they don’t know that it’s an option!

Whether you’ve had a mobile-responsive donation page for awhile or have just launched a text-to-give campaign, let your donors know how they can give to your cause through those methods.

Take advantage of existing communication strategies to inform your constituency about your nonprofit’s mobile donation options.

Be sure to include mentions:

  • In all direct marketing materials, such as flyers, posters, and brochures.
  • In email newsletters (that are, of course, optimized for mobile viewing!).
  • In social media posts and profiles.

You should also consider marketing your mobile fundraising features during live, in-person events. After all, donors are there to help support your cause. Give them another way to donate that they can take advantage of throughout the event. Chances are, they are already on their phones — you might as well meet them there!

A key note when advertising your mobile donation offerings (especially text-to-give) is that your donors might not be familiar with how they work.

So, as The Ultimate Guide to Text-to-Give recommends, “Any time you’re promoting text-to-give, briefly walk your donors through how to use it.” Include images in social media posts and on your website. Demonstrate the process step-by-step at live events. Distribute flyers or brochures that highlight individual steps.

When donors feel comfortable with how your mobile donation features work, they will be more likely to use them to give to your organization!

Key point: Make sure that your donor base is aware of all the ways they are able to contribute — especially the mobile ones!

4. Ensure that your mobile efforts are in line with your overall fundraising strategy.

As important as mobile giving can be to your organization, it still is just one piece of the puzzle. In order for your mobile efforts to be truly effective, it’s important that they are in line with your nonprofit’s overall fundraising strategy.

To this end, your mobile fundraising strategy should be geared towards getting (and keeping!) more donors.

Here are a few key ideas:

  1. Start with a thank you. Most mobile donation tools offer an automated thank-you message that sends right after a donor hits the “submit” button. Some even give the option to incorporate a donation receipt within the thank-you message.
  2. Offer updates on your nonprofit’s progress. Leverage your donors’ mobile devices to send progress reports via text, email, or on social media. Be sure to include pictures if possible — people love to see how their dollars are making an impact!
  3. Get mobile donors more involved. After all, they already donated, which means they are interested in your mission. Provide opportunities for further participation such as sharing your campaign on social media, attending live-events, or volunteering for your cause.
  4. Incorporate mobile fundraising options across your fundraising campaigns. For example, if your nonprofit is running a peer-to-peer fundraiser, make sure your software allows your supporters’ pages to be just as mobile responsive as your primary online donation form.

A final note: A key benefit of harnessing mobile fundraising is that your organization acquires more donor data in the process, which can provide even more valuable insight into donor behavior and how they prefer to interact with your nonprofit.

To this end, make sure you are properly storing data for use in future marketing campaigns and strategies. It’s always good to get a more complete picture of who your donors are!

Key point: Your mobile fundraising efforts should work in tandem with your larger fundraising strategy to ensure that you are getting and keeping donors.

With these tips, you’ll be primed to make the most of your nonprofit’s mobile fundraising efforts to help drive online donations and overall engagement rates!.

by Adam Weinger, President, Double the Donation
Adam Weinger is one of the leading experts on corporate giving programs.

He’s the President of Double the Donation, a company which helps organizations raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. The company partners with nonprofits ranging from arts and cultural organizations, hospitals, educational institutions, and community based organizations to help them increase fundraising from corporate giving programs.

Adam is a frequent contributor to many leading nonprofit magazines and blogs, including NonprofitPro, GuideStarNonprofit Marketing Guide, Top Nonprofits, Nonprofit.About.com and of course, Double the Donation’s blog.

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