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The Ultimate Guide To Mobile Fundraising

What is Mobile Fundraising?

Mobile fundraising is the raising of money for a nonprofit or faith-based organization that involves donors giving through their mobile devices. These mobile devices can be smartphones or tablets, and the whole point of mobile fundraising is that it makes giving easy, quick, and accessible from anywhere.

Why is Mobile Fundraising Useful?

Because it’s such an accessible means of raising money, nonprofits can solicit donors anytime, anywhere. No longer are there the restrictions of a physical address for direct mail (or even having a computer to check fundraising emails). The whole world of fundraising is now in the palms of your donors’ hands.

How Do Most Nonprofits Use Mobile Fundraising?

Mobile fundraising can be used in several ways. Most commonly, nonprofits use mobile to raise money for specific projects. But they also often leverage their existing donor bases to expand their networks through peer-to-peer fundraising. Some nonprofits use mobile fundraising technology to gather more information about their donors and their donors’ habits. In any case, it’s an incredibly useful fundraising tool.


Part One: The Basics                                                                                     Part Two: Ready, Set, Go Mobile!

Part One: The Basics

If you’re interested in learning all about mobile fundraising, text-to-give technology, and what they can do for your organization, look no further. In this section, we’ll discuss the definitions of common terms, learn a few best practices, and figure out why mobile giving is a trend that’s not going away anytime soon!

Mobile Fundraising 101

At the most basic level, all mobile fundraising really is is a way for nonprofits to raise money using mobile devices.

There are several different avenues within mobile fundraising that nonprofits can choose to take.

They include, but certainly aren’t limited to:

  • QR code promotions.
  • Text-to-give technology.
  • Mobile email fundraising.
  • Mobile-responsive donation pages.
  • Mobile websites that feature donation buttons.

Common terms, defined:

What is a QR code?

A QR code is a Quick Response code that can be scanned by a smartphone. When scanned, it takes the user straight to whatever website has been programmed into it. They’re useful for promoting donation pages and can be placed anywhere: on flyers, posters, and more.

What is text-to-give technology?

Text-to-give is a way for donors to give to their favorite nonprofit by texting the amount they’d like to give and confirming payment through their mobile email.

What does mobile-responsive mean?

Mobile-responsiveness is a website’s ability to change and adapt based on the kind of device it’s being displayed on. In other words, if it’s being loaded on a phone, it must load quickly and be easy to read on a small screen. Buttons and links must respond well also.

For a more total picture of the basics of mobile fundraising, click here.

Why Mobile Giving Is So Popular

Mobile fundraising in all of its forms is one of the most popular ways for people of any age to give.

And it’s only gaining in popularity.

But what exactly makes it so appealing?

For starters, mobile giving is one of the easiest ways for donors to show their support for organizations on the go.

In addition to being unbelievably easy, mobile fundraising is:

  • Safe and secure for both donors and organizations.
  • Keeping up with the state of today’s tech-crazy world.
  • Full of choices and possibilities.
  • Popular among millennials.
  • A fan-favorite of churches across the nation.
  • Already changing the world for the better.
  • Easy to incorporate into your existing fundraising efforts.

For more on each of these points (and more!), check out a full article about Why Mobile Giving Is a Trend That's Here to Stay.

What is Text-to-Give?

Text-to-give technology, also known as text-to-donate technology, allows donors to give through text.

A donor will text a nonprofit’s text-to-give phone number with the amount they’d like to give. It can be any amount, $1 and up, and the nonprofit’s phone number will automatically text back telling the donor to check their email.

If they’ve given before, all they have to do is hit “Confirm” in their mobile email.

If, however, they’ve never given before, they will be sent a link that will take them to a payment information form.

Once they’ve filled that form out, they will be able to give in just two clicks (one to text and one to confirm) forever after.

If you’re interested in what text-to-give looks like for both donors and for nonprofits, click here to read all about it.

Mobile Giving Statistics

Did you know that in the past year the percentage of smartphone owners making mobile payments grew by 36%?

Mobile donations have also risen a whopping 205% since last year.

And you might not have been aware that over a quarter of people find nonprofits’ websites directly through their mobile phones.

Not only that, but also over 50% of people who happen upon a nonprofit’s site through social media on their phone will take action immediately afterward. They donate, sign up to volunteer, and more!

Speaking of social media, did you know that emails with social sharing options increase click-through rates by 158%?

The point of all of these statistics is to show you that mobile giving is on the up-and-up.

There are clear, concrete ways to optimize the way you use mobile fundraising to enhance your existing efforts.

To read every statistic out there on the subject of mobile giving, mobile pledging, text-to-give, and more, simply click here to read about mobile fundraising statistics.

What Types of Organizations Use it?

You might be curious about the kinds of nonprofits and other organizations that have already hopped on the mobile-giving train.

You’re in luck, friend!

We’ve surveyed all of the major nonprofits and have come up with a comprehensive list of all of the types of organizations that use mobile to boost their fundraising:

  • Health and wellness nonprofits use mobile fundraising to raise awareness and help treat those in need.
  • Churches and other faith-based organizations use text-to-give to raise money on a weekly basis. Thousands upon thousands text-to-tithe on Sunday morning.
  • Animal rights nonprofits make use of mobile at live fundraising events (and beyond).
  • Disaster response and relief organizations are the first to react with text-to-give when disaster strikes and funds are needed quickly.
  • Political organizations make the most out of mobile fundraising by exploring every avenue, from text-to-give to mobile email buttons, and more.
  • Teachers and educational advocacy groups alike use mobile crowdfunding to change the world, one student at a time.
  • Arts, culture, and humanities charities fund their efforts through mobile pledges and mobile-responsive donation pages.

As you can see, there’s not a single kind of organization (nonprofit or otherwise) that can’t benefit from mobile giving.

Whether you’re in the business of advocacy, or you’re a local politician hoping to make a difference, you can make mobile fundraising work for you.

To learn more about all of the different ways that organizations use mobile fundraising to further their causes, click here.

Part Two: Ready, Set, Go Mobile!

You’re well-versed in all of the basics, and you’re ready for that next step. You’ve maybe heard some rumors flying around about the high cost of text-to-give technology (rest assured, they’re untrue), or maybe you’re not quite sure how to get started.

Never fear, the second half of the guide is here to steer you in the right direction. If you read on, you’ll find information on how to optimize your mobile emails (to raise more money and awareness than ever before) as well as actionable advice for how to pick the right mobile fundraising software.

Common Myths--BUSTED!

There are more than a few rumors flying around about the costs of text-to-give.

There are myths about: 

  • The time it costs your organization to receive funds,
  • The money it costs to process donations,
  • And the amount it costs to purchase a “shortcode.”

Not only that, but there are also those who would say that all text-to-give platform providers put a cap on individual donation amounts.

Want to know the truth?

With next-generation text-to-give providers, your organization will see donations almost immediately. There’s no more 90-day wait and no more being held up at the mercy of the cell phone companies.

Thanks to some payment processing wizardry (okay, really it’s just bypassing the middleman), your nonprofit no longer has to miss out on up to 50% of donations through processing fees.

Traditional text-to-give providers, i.e. the cell phone companies in conjunction with organizations like the Mobile Giving Foundation, would shave off 20%-50% of each donation. Next-generation providers don’t do this.

So the money you raise is the money you keep.

Your nonprofit also doesn’t need to purchase a shortcode. Next-generation providers allow you to purchase a unique phone number that your donors can text whenever, from wherever. No need for silly keywords, either! A simple donation amount in the text will do.

Finally, there’s an extra pervasive myth that there are donation caps with every text-to-give provider. The truth is: next-generation platform providers let donors give as much (or as little) as they’d like.

If a donor wants to give $500, they can simply text “500” to your organization’s number, hit “Confirm” in their mobile email inbox, and that $500 goes straight to your organization’s account.

How simple is that?

For more on each of these myths (plus some bonuses), check out 5 Myths About the Cost of Text-to-Give Campaigns.

How to Choose the Best Mobile Giving App

Have you ever been grocery shopping and noticed just how many options for spaghetti sauce there are? There must be at least a hundred!

Choice can seem daunting, especially when it seems like there are endless options and few ways to discern which is the absolute best.

While we can’t help you figure out which pasta sauce would be ideal for your Monday night dinner, we can give you some guidance when it comes to picking the ultimate mobile giving app for your nonprofit or faith-based organization.

The first five questions you’ll need to ask yourself are:
  • What exactly are you looking for in a mobile giving app?
  • What would be the easiest app for your donors to adopt?
  • Would you consider offering more than one way to give?
  • What would the monetary cost be? What about the cost in time?
  • How would your organization need to shift to incorporate the new technology?

To read all about the final five questions you need to consider, click here.

Optimize Your Mobile Email Marketing

You already have a stellar donation page, but for some reason, you’re not seeing an increase in donations when you send out emails that have links to that page.

Don’t worry; it’s not you that’s the problem. It’s email.

While email is a convenient medium (and 245 times cheaper than direct mail), it’s also somewhat problematic for fundraising.

Why is that?

In order for a donor to give to your organization when you send them an email, they have to click out of that email and load a separate browser (on their phone, which, we all know, can be a huge pain).

Then, they have to fill out a donation form with dozens of tiny boxes, and they have to pull out their credit card every time.

It’s just a hassle! No wonder the majority of all online and mobile shopping carts are abandoned by that final step.

By incorporating one, small improvement to your fundraising emails, you can bypass all of this nonsense and see a significant increase in your email marketing profits.

2-click enabled email buttons can take your fundraising to the next level and beyond.

Much like next-generation text-to-give technology, email buttons allow donors to give with just two clicks. One to select an amount and the other to hit “Confirm.”

Learn everything there is to know about how email buttons can help your organization flourish this year by checking out this article on How to Raise Significantly More Money from Your Existing Email Marketing Campaign.

How to Get Started

Now that you feel that you have a well-rounded education on all things mobile fundraising, it’s time to learn how to get started, step-by-step.

First things first, you’ll want to assess where you are right now.

Are you ready for mobile? Are you prepared to incorporate mobile fundraising into your existing plans?

Once you’ve figured out how you’ll integrate text-to-give, QR codes, or mobile crowdfunding pages into your overall fundraising strategy, it’s important to update your donor info.

With accurate donor info in your toolkit, it’s time to choose your champions. Your champions are the ones who will give you their honest opinions about your mobile fundraising campaign ideas.

They’ll steer you in the right direction and help you choose the perfect strategies.

After you’ve consulted your key influencers, it’s time to start thinking about setting realistic goals.

Mobile fundraising isn’t miraculous, but with the right amount of work, you can soar to new heights.

Make sure you gauge your capabilities accurately.

Now that you’ve set your goals at a reasonable level, you’re ready to get the word out there about your revolutionary mobile giving campaign!

The final step in getting started is to track, analyze, and improve. You should make sure that you’re keeping track of all the right fundraising metrics.

There is always room for improvement, and with mobile fundraising, the sky's the limit.

If you’re still wanting a bit more guidance on each of these steps, be sure to check out the step-by-step guide to getting started with mobile fundraising.

Increase Your Donor Retention Now (Via Mobile)

This past year, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project Survey Report found that only 19% of first-time donors ever gave again.

But, donors who gave a second time were three times more likely to give again thereafter.

It turns out that second donation is golden, so to speak.

If you can get your organization’s donors to give more than once, more than 60% of them will give again. How amazing is that?

The issue at hand is: how do you secure that golden donation?

We’ve got some easy, actionable steps for you to take right here, right now:

  • Step 1: Have a first-time donor communications strategy.
  • Step 2: Remember to thank them (more than once!).
  • Step 3: Use social media to keep your organization front-of-mind.
  • Step 4: Ask for donations that go beyond money (time, in-kind, etc.).
  • Step 5: Always deliver on your promises to prove you’re trustworthy.
  • Step 6: Ask for it!

One of the biggest mistakes that nonprofits make when they’re seeking recurring donations is not asking. They believe that the ask is implied. But it’s not.

If you want a second donation, ask for it!

Of course, good stewardship goes a long way, too.

With mobile fundraising, you can achieve all of these feats on the go.

Interested in more insider tips for increasing your donor retention rate using mobile? Click here!

Topics: Supporter Management Fundraising