7 Ways Organizations Can Get Started with Mobile Fundraising

Young woman texting a charitable donation on her mobile phone.
andresr/E+/Getty Images

 Your donors are constantly on the move. On a daily basis, they need to:

  • Pay the bills.
  • Make lunches.
  • Drop the kids off at school.
  • Meet work deadlines.
  • Pick the kids back up.
  • Drive to soccer practice.
  • Cook dinner.
  • Do laundry.

And that’s just Monday! There’s hardly a second to breathe, much less time to write, sign, and seal a check and put it in the mail for your nonprofit.

Don’t get me wrong: these donors want to give to your organization.

They just need an easy, quick way to give on the go.

The solution?

Mobile fundraising, from text-to-give to mobile email.

One study found that one of every five donors has given using a smartphone or tablet, an increase of 80 percent since 2013. And that is true across age groups, from Millennials to Baby Boomers.

So, how do you get started with mobile fundraising? We’ve got the answer for you right here, step-by-step.

#1. Assess Your Existing Plans

The first step in launching a successful mobile fundraising campaign is to figure out where you are now.

There’s a simple who, what, when, where, how, and why to understand before you get started with mobile fundraising.

Who: Before you can hope to have a successful mobile fundraiser, you must first designate a person (or a team, if you have a larger nonprofit) to be in charge of all things mobile.

What: You must also figure out what avenues of mobile fundraising you will pursue and ultimately provide to your donors.

Are you going to launch a text-to-give campaign, a mobile email fundraiser, or a QR code promotion? Or all of the above? The possibilities are endless. You could try more than one to figure out what works best for your particular organization.  

Where: A crucial part of any fundraiser is figuring out the legality of donation solicitation in any given area.

This is especially true for mobile fundraisers, as you never know where your donors are going to be when they give to your organization. They might live in states where your nonprofit is not registered.

How: When you are planning a mobile fundraiser, it is important to decide how you’ll deal with all of the incoming information. How will you integrate new donor information into your existing systems?

Why: Finally, you should figure out precisely why you’ll be employing each method of mobile fundraising. Having a solid reason behind each decision will help you move forward with purpose.

Now that you have the who, what, when, where, how, and why all figured out, it’s time to look at how you’ll make room for mobile fundraising at your organization.

#2. Make Room for Mobile Fundraising

Now that you’ve assessed where your nonprofit is now and where it needs to be, it is time to start upgrading your existing channels to include and conform to mobile.

To make sure that you are ready for mobile fundraising, you’ll need to:

  • Update your online donation page to optimize it for mobile.
  • Ensure that your nonprofit’s website is mobile-responsive.
  • Make sure that your emails are mobile-friendly.

What does it mean to be mobile-responsive?

Mobile-responsive means that a site loads and functions just as well on a mobile device (such as a smartphone or tablet) as it would on your home computer or laptop.

Why should you pay attention to mobile-responsiveness?

The vast majority of donors search for and find your nonprofit’s website through the mobile web app on their phones. Google even gives priority to websites that are mobile friendly.

If your site cannot keep up, you can bet those potential donors will leave your site and find another nonprofit.

On the flip-side, the more responsive your page is, the more successful your mobile fundraising campaign will be. 

You can further increase your organization’s mobile donation page’s success by:

  • Reducing the number of required fields for mobile.
  • Increasing the size of your donation buttons.
  • Cutting out unnecessary text.
  • Decreasing the size of your images (without sacrificing quality) through a free image compression site.

The same principles are true of your nonprofit’s email and website.

Your emails should:

  • Load quickly.
  • Be an appropriate size.
  • Have easily clickable links or buttons.
  • Be easy to read.

Your website needs to:

  • Feature relevant images.
  • Have easily clickable buttons.
  • Load quickly on a mobile device.
  • Have large, easy-to-read text.

After you’ve made sure all of your sites, pages, and emails are optimized, it will be time to start marketing your mobile fundraiser through social media.

#3. Optimize Your Social Media

In this day and age, it’s hard to escape the reality of social media. Everyone has a Facebook. Even Presidents are on Twitter. And Snapchat is quickly becoming a fact of life.

Social media is an easy, accessible way to get in contact with and interact with dozens of your donors instantly.

It’s obvious that in order to keep up with the times, nonprofits have to get on board with social media.

Your nonprofit can take advantage of how easy and accessible it is to get the word out by optimizing the ways you use each social media platform.

To get the most out of each social media site (and to market your mobile fundraiser), your nonprofit should pay attention to these best practices:

  • Twitter.

Keep it short, sweet, and to-the-point.

Incorporate humor.

Tweet between noon and 3 PM on weekdays.

  • Facebook.

Include images in your posts.

Keep text to a minimum.

Post updates in the afternoon, Wednesday through Friday.

  • Instagram.

Make your images sharp and exciting.

Provide a link to your mobile fundraiser in your bio.

Post anytime (except 3 PM-4PM) on Monday-Thursday.

  • Pinterest.

Keep your content action-oriented.

Make sure you have clean, crisp images, as they are more likely to be re-pinned.

Users are most active in the evenings, so be sure to post between 6 PM and 10 PM during the week.

  • LinkedIn.

Engage with the most business professionals on their lunch breaks by posting at noon during the week.

Make sure that the content you share is pertinent and actionable.

Whenever possible, include a link to your mobile fundraiser to let your connections in on your plans.

Of course, these rules are not hard-and-fast. They’re just suggestions to help your nonprofit get off the ground in marketing your mobile fundraising plans.  

Once you’ve optimized your online social networks, it’s time to expand your in-person social networks.

#4. Expand Your Network

Another way to get the word out about your mobile fundraiser is through peer-to-peer fundraising.

How do you use a fundraiser to increase awareness about your fundraiser?

Great question!

It’s quite simple. All you need to do is to get the help of the people closest to your organization. People like:

  • Board members.
  • Frequent volunteers.
  • Recurring donors.
  • Vocal advocates.
  • And more!

Give these people the tools they’ll need to get started with your mobile fundraiser.

You can:

  • Show them how to use your text-to-give technology.
  • Introduce them to your mobile email campaign.
  • Let them create their own mobile crowdfunding pages.

The next step is to encourage them to use these platforms for themselves.

After they’ve familiarized themselves with the ins and outs of the technology, they are ready to get out there and start marketing your mobile fundraiser to their families, friends, and anyone else in their social networks who might be interested in giving to your cause.

Not only will this increase revenue for your fundraiser, but it also has the potential to expand your network to encompass new donors and volunteers.

Through peer-to-peer fundraising, you can easily leverage your donors to cast a wider net.

After you’ve expanded your in-person network, it’s time to look at your organization’s goals for your mobile fundraiser.

#5. Set Realistic Goals

Mobile fundraising is not instantaneously miraculous. It takes time.

It is like riding a bicycle. To get anywhere, you have to put in the effort.

Also like riding a bike, you have to set reasonable expectations.

You cannot expect to ride your bike to the moon.

You can, however, plan to ride your bike to work every day, saving the environment and improving your health.

Likewise, you’ll need to work on your mobile fundraiser consistently and be realistic about what you can accomplish on any given day.

Set your goals early in the process, so you can track your progress and improve your strategies accordingly.

With your goals in mind, you are ready to consider the advantages of unveiling your mobile fundraising plans at your next live event.

#6. Take Advantage of Live Events

One of the final steps in launching a successful mobile fundraising event is to host a live fundraising event where you announce your plans.

Why are live events so perfect for mobile fundraising?

Glad you asked!

Live events are perfect to announce your mobile fundraising plans because:

  1. You have a captive audience.
  2. You have a platform from which to speak.
  3. You can easily demonstrate how it works.
  4. Your event’s attendees will go home and tell their friends and family about the cool new way to donate to your nonprofit.

What more do you need? Live events are perfect marketing opportunities for your mobile fundraiser.

The next time you’re planning an event, make sure you leave time for rolling out your exciting new plans.

After you’ve made your appeal at a live event (whether it is a concert or a 5K), it’s time to track your progress.

#7. Track and Improve Your Strategy

The final step for your mobile fundraising campaign is to track your progress and improve your fundraising strategies.

Just as with any other fundraiser, there are certain key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll need to keep track of, such as:

  • ROI - return on investment.

Make sure that the money you are pouring into your mobile fundraiser is heading toward breaking even and eventually making a profit.

It will not happen right away, but it is an important metric to track from the beginning.

  • Donor acquisition.

Track acquisition because it is the most likely KPI to give your organization positive results quickly.

  • Donor retention.

Equally important (if not more so) as donor growth is donor retention. You’ll want to make sure that those donors you just worked so hard to acquire stick with you for the long haul.

  • Social media metrics.

There are several social media metrics to track, including:

  • Applause rate. Do people like your content?
  • Amplification rate. Do people share your content?
  • Conversation rate. Do people talk about your content?  

If you notice any troubling trends in any of these metrics, it may be time to step back and reassess your tactics.

When you’re just getting started with mobile fundraising, it is important to try new things. If they don’t quite work the first time, it’s okay to try something else.

Find what best fits your organization’s needs.

Mobile fundraising is so diverse, you’re bound to find the peanut butter to your jelly. Or the macaroni to your cheese. Whatever works for you!

Getting started with any fundraiser can seem daunting. However, with all of these steps and tips in your back pocket, it should be far less intimidating.

With mobile fundraising, your organization can reach any donor, anywhere, anytime. So go out there and get started today!

John Killoran is the CEO of @Pay, a mobile giving platform. John and his company are on the cutting edge of mobile for nonprofits, working on making mobile fundraising easy and inexpensive. See John's bio for more about his company and how to stay in touch.

Continue Reading...