[Guest Post] Top 10 Ways to Encourage Mobile Giving

John Killoran February 17, 2016, by John Killoran

As you know, a beautiful, clean website means everything in today’s competitive economy. But have you given thought to what that beautiful website transforms into on a mobile device? For some nonprofits, their mobile website design could use a little work. It’s akin to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Gorgeous graphics and intricate interactive pieces that work well on a laptop or desktop tend to malfunction when they’re opened on a mobile device. Don’t make that same mistake with your mobile website. Above all else, it’s important to remember that your nonprofit’s website design, content strategy, and social media presence all go hand-in-hand.

With over 90% of adults in the US being mobile device owners and users, the time has come to focus our efforts on mobile giving.

To help your nonprofit get started, we’ve created a list of the top 10 ways to encourage your donors to get into mobile giving this year.

#1. Get Your Board on Board

Before you can sell your donors on mobile giving, you must first get your nonprofit’s board members on board with your plans.

You may be the most tech-savvy person on your nonprofit’s team, so make sure that everyone is up-to-speed on what mobile giving means.

For those who may not know: mobile giving is a new trend in the nonprofit world.

Truth be told, text-to-give and mobile giving in general have been around for a little over a decade now, but they made a major leap in popularity in 2009 when the Red Cross launched its mobile campaign to help aid Haiti in the wake of a massive earthquake.

Since then, mobile giving has increased every year and is now one of the most popular ways to give to charity.

The first step to raking in those mobile donations is to assure your board members that it’s not only the quickest-growing new trend, it’s also a trend that’s here to stay.

#2. Make Your Site Mobile Responsive

Online giving on the whole increased almost 15% last year, and part of that was due to the fact that nonprofits began beefing up their mobile websites.

That means that your website should be as easy to load and read on a laptop as on:

  • iPhone
  • Android
  • iPad
  • Kindle
  • Any phone, tablet, or other mobile device that comes on the market

It’s been proven that donors are far more likely to take action (donate, sign up for events, register for membership) if a nonprofit’s website is mobile-responsive.

30% more people donated, signed up for events, and registered for memberships on mobile sites that were fast and easy to use than on sites that took a second longer to load.

#3. Listen to the Millennials

When you’re considering how best to market your mobile giving campaign, it’s important to keep in mind that millennials are the largest and most technologically active demographic.

Here are some quick facts about millennials and mobile giving:

  • 44% of millennials said they would rather use their mobile phones than cash to pay for small items.
  • 50% of millennials want mobile payments to speed up transactions.
  • 52% of millennials want mobile payments to keep better track of purchases.
  • 70% of millennials said they think the way we pay for things will be totally different in 5 years.
  • 52% of millennials have used mobile payments and drive the adoption of emerging payments.

These numbers are all on the rise, with mobile payment technology becoming easier and easier to use.

Once you incorporate easy-to-use, quick mobile technology into your fundraising campaign, you might be surprised to see just how many millennials are willing to donate to your cause.

#4. Calm Safety Concerns

One of the biggest concerns that most people have with mobile giving has to do with information security.

They want to know: “Is my money safe? Is my information secure?”

The truth is, there are a lot of scams out there, but the industry-leading mobile giving platforms have proven time and time again that there are safe and secure ways to donate via mobile device.

There are several ways to let your donors know that you’re using a top-rated platform, but the most important thing to note (and pass on) is PCI-compliance.

PCI standards are now so rigorous that worrying about the safety of your information is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

If your organization’s mobile giving platform is PCI-compliant, then your donors should have virtually nothing to worry about information-wise.

#5. Keep Your Little Black Book Up-to-Date

The strongest indicator of future giving is past giving.

Therefore, your nonprofit organization must have some way of discovering and filing information about its donors’ past giving habits.

More than that, though, your nonprofit has to gather and update every piece of information on its donors. It’s a lot easier than it sounds!

You’ll want to find out:

  • Current mailing address
  • Most used phone number
  • Most frequently checked email
  • Preferred method of donation
  • Anything else your organization might find useful when reaching out

The main way to gather this information is by reaching out through existing modes of communication. Sending out an email survey is the fastest and most efficient way to get in touch.

#6. Just the Facts, Ma’am

When you’re scrolling through your inbox--or swiping down your Facebook feed--the most eye-catching statuses or email headers are usually short and to-the-point.

There’s hardly time to make more than just cereal in the morning, how can you make time to read a long (albeit well thought-out) email about donating?

When your donors read your correspondences, make sure that you’re giving them just the facts. They want to know what’s going on with your organization, but a lot of them simply don’t have the time to read every word.

Make every word count.

That said, no one likes to be bombarded with notifications. The best way to cultivate relationships with your donors is to keep a steady flow of communication going. Treat every donor as though they were a major donor.

#7. Take a Page from the Good Book

Churches and other faith-based organizations are some of the most active users of mobile giving technology.

The way they’re getting their congregations excited about things like texting to tithe is by making it easy and accessible for everyone.

Their advantage over most nonprofits is that their members regularly attend meetings (just about every Sunday).

But that’s not to say that you can’t generate the same level of enthusiasm or participation for your mobile giving campaign.

The key to getting your members involved (and to welcome new members) is to set aside 10 minutes at your next rally or event to explain all of the great new ways to donate with mobile devices.

Heavily attended events, like concerts or marathons, are perfect places to spread the word and get the mobile giving party started.

#8. Appeal to Your Donors’ Hearts

Above all else, you must reach out to your donors in a way that’s impactful.

Studies have shown that people are significantly more likely to donate to a cause if they feel a personal connection.

As far as mobile giving goes, pictures really are worth a thousand words.

When you’re choosing pictures to incorporate into your email fundraising campaign or mobile donation website, make sure that you pick the most meaningful images.

Donors respond especially well to pictures that:

  • Are (seemingly) candid
  • Are high-quality, high-resolution images
  • Feature people performing some sort of positive action
  • Showcase animals in happy, healthy environments
  • Demonstrate what the nonprofit is really all about

A great picture can convey the message to your donors about the important work you’re doing.

#9. Market Smarter, not Harder

Instead of tacking up flyers all over town only to have the next day’s rain melt them, devote your time and energy to finding the best ways to market your mobile giving campaign.

Obviously, since it’s a mobile campaign you’re advertising, the best way to get the word out is through mobile phones!

You can:

  • Send out an email blast.
  • Share about it on Facebook.
  • Tweet about your campaign.
  • Instagram a picture with a link in the description.
  • Spread the word quickly with any social media your organization maintains.

The way you market your campaign is up to you, but just be sure to utilize the most efficient and effective marketing tools in your toolbox before anything else.

#10. Thank Your Donors (And Give Them the Option to Brag)

People love the chance to toss in a good humble brag every now and then. But wait, what is humble bragging?

Basically, it’s a kind of bragging about oneself that’s low-key and not meant to sound like a brag at all.

Did you know that 2 out of 3 nonprofit websites (mobile and desktop) don’t provide any action for donors to take after they’ve hit “Submit”?

One of the best ways to keep donors interested in mobile giving is to give them that chance to brag about themselves on social media.

After they’ve made a donation on their mobile devices, allow them the option to click “Share” to any of their favorite sites. It’s a simple way not only to make your donors feel good about themselves, but also to get other potential donors interested in donating, too!

And of course, don’t forget a simple “Thank you.” Sending out a simple letter or email of gratitude can make a huge difference when you’re asking for donations.

Once you’ve made sure your mobile website is clean, your board is on board, and you’ve got all of your ducks in a row, you’re ready to see how mobile giving can take your nonprofit into the future and beyond. It’s an exciting time in the nonprofit world: why not be a part of the change?

John Killoran

John Killoran

John Killoran is CEO of @Pay, a exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to donate in two clicks from text, email, web and social media sites. John pioneered SMTP payments and has been a major innovator in the mobile payments space for the past 5 years. When he is not running a company, he is cooking food for his family and telling his dogs to stop barking.

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