If you're in the business of advocacy, chances are you're a passionate individual. You think globally and act locally. You care about having your voice and the voices of those you advocate for heard above the fray.
Whether you're lobbying, litigating, educating, or organizing for your cause, there's one common factor that all groups have to consider: funding.
There are any number of ways to raise money for your advocacy campaign. In this day and age, when smartphones and tablets are more numerous than headlights on the highway, mobile fundraising is one of the best ways to raise money from donors on the go.
Within mobile fundraising, your advocacy group can launch:
- A mobile email fundraiser.
- A QR code promotion.
- A text-to-give campaign.
- And so many more!
With all of that in mind, read this step-by-step guide on how to incorporate mobile fundraising into your advocacy campaign.
- Step #1. Set Goals
- Step #2. Make Timely, Targeted Efforts
- Step #3. Forget Flyers
- Step #4. Add Calls to Action in Your Emails
- Step #5. Upgrade Your Online Petitions
- Step #6. Mobilize the Masses with Social Media
- Step #7. Get on the Text-to-Give Train
- Step #8. Thank Your Supporters
The first step in incorporating mobile fundraising into your advocacy campaign is to take a step back.
Assess where your advocacy campaign is and where you want it to be in six months.
How do you get started assessing your advocacy campaign? As with any other type of campaign, you need to keep track of your organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs).
Once you’ve assessed where you are and where you want to be, the next step is to create a realistic timeline that encompasses all of your fundraising growth goals along the way.
One of the hardest things for nonprofits and advocacy groups is figuring out who’s willing to donate. But as they say, past giving is the greatest indicator of future giving.
There are several ways to figure out who’s willing to donate. Your group can:
- Send out a survey.
- Gather together a focus group.
- Use a charitable giving database.
- Consult your CRM.
- Ask key influencers their opinions.
- Research statistics.
- Look at relevant case studies.
Regardless of how you figure out who’s willing to give via mobile, it’s an important factor to keep in mind in order to be able to set attainable goals for your advocacy group.
Above all else, your organization needs to create a manageable timeline and brainstorm goals that you know to be within reach.
It’s better to set realistic goals and be surprised when you surpass them, which you definitely could!
Mobile fundraising is not miraculous. It’s just a newer alternative that advocacy campaigns find useful.
When it comes to figuring out the most effective and efficient means for contacting potential donors and advocates, there are a lot of really wonderful options to consider.
Email is one of the most cost-effective and time-saving means of communicating with your donor base.
If you’re thinking about incorporating mobile email fundraising into your overall strategy, remember that with mobile, keeping your communications platforms mobile-responsive is key.
There’s nothing worse than opening an email on your phone only to find that it doesn’t quite translate. It’s like unwrapping a large present only to discover that it’s mostly bubble wrap.
Don’t let that happen to your advocates. Be sure that your email content is:
- Branded. Be clear who you are and what you’re about upfront.
- Concise. Overly wordy emails rarely get read.
- Platform-specific. Make sure your email loads as well on a phone as it does on a computer.
If your emails are specific, clear, and have easy-to-discover calls to action, they can inspire a major spike in donation and advocacy responses in no time at all.
Now that you’ve made sure that your efforts are targeted, it’s just as important to make them timely. There are wrong times to send an email (for instance, 4 AM on a Wednesday).
On the flip side of the coin: there are perfect times to send out your appeals.
Use email analytics to discover the most active times for your advocates. If you notice a trend, make sure you follow up and start sending out your most important emails at those times.
We have all, at one point or another, tacked a flyer up on a bulletin board or telephone pole.
But in the modern age, with all of this ubiquitous technology, does creating physical flyers really make sense anymore? The short answer is obviously no.
That’s not to say, though, that flyers in all their forms have gone completely by the wayside. Integrated marketing techniques utilize the same sorts of tactics that have always been around:
- Using imagery. A picture is worth 1,000 words is a cliché for a reason.
- Telling a story. People feel the deepest connections with causes that have familiar stories attached.
- Supporting points with statistics. The stronger you can make your case, the better. Concrete numbers always help.
All of these tactics that were once found on paper can now be translated into digital format, to be distributed an infinite number of times in an infinite number of places. Plus, you can make your flyers interactive now!
When you’re crafting the perfect virtual flyer, make sure that it loads well and looks nice on both mobile devices and desktop computers. You never know where it might pop up!
As we mentioned before, email is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to get in touch with your advocates.
That being said, there’s more to a great email campaign than just on-point branding and catchy headlines.
There needs to be a clear call to action.
Calls to action include, but aren’t limited to:
- Sign this online petition
- Call your congressman
- Donate now
- And more!
Once an advocate opens your email, you want to provide them the opportunity to engage with your organization as readily as they’re learning about your latest updates.
You’ll want to give them the chance to sign your online petition.
If it’s not signing your online petition, it’s prompting them to call their congressman.
You can also encourage them to donate $5 to your cause. Some technologies, like @Pay, will let donors give directly.
When all is said and done, you need to give your advocates concrete steps to take in your emails. The more obvious, the better.
Online petitions are the bread-and-butter of advocacy campaigns.
It’s hard to argue that petitions have become much more streamlined and wide-reaching since the internet arrived on the scene.
Before, when you had to go door-to-door or host a rally to amass a fair number of signatures on a petition, effective petitions were few and far between.
Now, with online petitions, thousands of people can sign from anywhere and everywhere.
Take that one step further with mobile.
With a mobile-responsive online petition, your organization can reach so many more advocates (and potential donors) on the move.
Of course, not everything has to be a donation appeal. Some things are reserved solely for awareness and litigative purposes. That doesn’t have to change.
You can take a page out of the mobile fundraising bible, though, and make sure that your online petitions are mobile-ready, mobile-friendly, and most of all--mobile-responsive.
As far as modern advancements go, social media has been one of the most revolutionary facets of technology. It’s brought millions of people together over shared interests that might never have been revealed otherwise.
Advocacy has seen a significant increase over the past few years thanks to the advent of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Even though virtual likes and retweets may feel somewhat insignificant, they really aren’t.
Studies show that social media advocacy translates directly into real world advocacy.
By tapping into the raw power that is social media, and particularly social media on mobile devices, advocacy groups can incite real change.
When you’re crafting your mobile fundraising component of your advocacy campaign, don’t discount the major media players. Learn the ins and outs of each specific platform and use that knowledge to your advantage:
- For a Twitter campaign, it’s important to realize that shorter, more straightforward content will perform better.
In this example, the tweeter has kept the word count incredibly low while still getting the point across.
- With Facebook, it’s been proven that people respond to images that are attached to a message far more than they engage with content that’s solely word-based.
In this case, the poster has made sure to emphasize the picture while still providing adequate information. The call-to-action is obvious, but the picture of the kitten is the largest and most prominent piece of the post.
- With Instagram and other visual social media sites (Vine, Snapchat, Periscope, etc.) making sure that you’re creating the most visually arresting content around is sure to incite your followers to get more involved. Images that tell a story and have concrete steps associated with them tend to have a greater impact.
Just like with the Facebook post, the focus is really on the image. The message is still clear, and the link to the donation page is right underneath the picture.
A lot like social media, text-to-give technology can be overlooked by advocacy groups. But the possibilities for growth using these simple tools are endless.
Text-to-give technology is kind of a one-way communication avenue. Here's how it works:
- Donors text a donation amount or short code to your nonprofit's number. Depending on the type of tool you have, donors may have the ability to text the donation amount straight to your organization. Alternatively, your organization may have a pre-selected keyword (or shortcode) that donors have to text.
- Donors are directed to a mobile donation form. Your supporters will instantly receive a response text message with a link to a mobile donation page where they can complete their gift.
- Donors confirm their gifts. Once they've entered their personal and credit card information, the only thing left for your donors to do is press the "Donate Now" button. Donors may receive another text from your organization thanking them for their gifts.
As you can see the donation tool doesn't allow you to send out mass text messages to advocates other than the automated messages that donors receive once they initiate the giving process.
But if you can’t use texting to fully communicate with your nonprofit’s advocates, how is text-to-give technology relevant for an advocacy campaign?
The simple truth is: so many of your group’s members are on the go 24/7. Because over 90% of adults in the US own smartphones these days, it means that texting is a powerful tool, and chances are the vast majority of your constituents are familiar with its uses.
Take advantage of the popularity of texting by advertising your advocacy campaign’s text-to-give component.
You can let potential donors know that they can give via mobile device through your existing advocacy materials, such as:
- Social media blasts
- And more!
Using a text-to-give tool means that you can encourage your advocates to give at live events when they're feeling the most generous. Have one of your speakers ask guests to give via text message and show supporters how to use your giving tool. Having a way for supporters to give in the moment means that you can earn even more donations for your cause.
Allowing your supporters to donate to your cause from wherever and whenever will undoubtedly boost your advocacy campaign.
Creating an online culture of advocacy takes a few steps, but one of the most important ways to maintain a network of active supporters and donors is to make sure they know they’re appreciated.
The best part about mobile fundraising is its ability to maintain a steady flow of communication. Take advantage of this immediacy by sending out instantaneous, personalized thank you emails each time someone donates to your cause or signs an online petition.
You can also give your donors the option to share their donation experiences on social media. With mobile-responsive donation pages, you can reach more people than ever before, and those people can show all of their friends and family at a moment’s notice.
Those friends and family then have the potential to become donors and supporters, too.
If you obey all the principles of Step #3, and you keep your sharing option branded, image-focused, and facts-based, you’ll have a highly shareable piece of content--embedded within a way to show your existing donors gratitude!
Let’s be honest: everyone loves the chance to brag about themselves.
Give your donors the chance to brag about their contribution every time you thank them for donating.
There you have it! The eight easy-to-follow steps for your organization to incorporate mobile fundraising into your advocacy campaigns. With all of these steps under your belt, you’re ready to start raising more money on the move for your cause.