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Why Nonprofit Mobile Marketing Is Worth It

Not sure if mobile marketing works for nonprofits? What if I told you that Forbes reported that 1 in 10 Americans have texted a charitable contribution from their phone? And a study published by M+R Benchmarks found that for every 1,000 email subscribers, nonprofits had 285 Facebook fans, 112 Twitter Followers and 13 mobile subscribers.

That may not seem like much, but if you consider the success of mobile marketing campaigns, organizations who have invested in mobile marketing have reaped the rewards. Besides, what good is it to have 1,000 email subscribers if email fundraisers only have a 14% open rate, with a response rate drop of 12% between 2013 and 2014?

More and more organizations are turning to mobile marketing because of its high open and response rates. Organizations who work to close the gap between email subscribers and mobile subscribers are slated for success. Here's why:

1. Mobile marketing can skyrocket the open rates.

Did you know that texts have a 98% open rate? If you compare that with email's 22% open rate, nonprofits can be sure they've got a powerful communication tool in their hands. Chances of the text being missed, ending up in spam, or remaining unopened are minimal.

Besides that, most texts are opened within 3 minutes of being received on a device. Emails can sit for days, weeks or more before they're opened. With stats like that, mobile has become the most efficient way to deliver the message to members, donors, staff, volunteers and anyone else involved in a nonprofit organization.

Also, mobile can’t be missed when it comes to fundraising – donors go mobile, and nonprofits should too, if they want to keep raising money from their donors. That doesn't mean they have to abandon their old ways of sending out emails. But they could use all forms of outreach to promote their mobile campaign (and yes, use mobile-friendly email templates).

Nonprofits can let their members and donors know that they've gone mobile and raise awareness about their mobile campaign everywhere they can, including social media platforms, emails and newsletters.

The important thing is to give clear instructions on how to opt-in to the mobile program (Ex: “Dial 3131 to opt-in and receive texts about our organization's events and fundraisers.”) The more people they have opted in, the more effective their mobile campaign will be.

2. Mobile marketing is an investment, not a cost.

Some nonprofits look at mobile marketing as just another advertising expense that they could live without. That's a mistake. If they understand the power and reach of mobile marketing, they'll also understand that it's an investment they're making in their organization's success, and not another cost to cover.

Organizations of all stripes who have used mobile marketing, from large associations to small businesses to nonprofit organizations have benefitted from the investment they made in going mobile. Consider the following case of successful text marketing campaign for a nonprofit:

SAWA-Australia, a nonprofit organization that provides women in Afghanistan with education and health services, were frustrated with the low and delayed response rates in their email campaign. They reported increased attendance at fundraisers and increased sales of their online raffle tickets through their text marketing campaign.

In the end, mobile marketing worked in SAWA's benefit, making it a worthy and effective investment. If you’re looking for the long-term success and are ready to try out various approaches in order to engage with your potential donors in the most effective way, then mobile marketing is a way to go.

3. Mobile marketing from Millennials to Baby Boomers.

Some may think that texting is only for young people and that the majority of serious donors won't respond to a text. The popularity and response rates to mobile marketing don't have age limits. Today, two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone -- 64% of household decision makers read their emails on a mobile device.

Back in 2011, a study by Nielsen showed that the second-fastest growing smartphone penetration rate was among individuals ages 55-64. This is why it shouldn't be surprising that a text donation study found that the demographics of the highest text donors are between ages 49-59.

Millennials certainly seem to have adopted their smartphones as something they can't live without - consider the fact that 87% of Millennials have their smartphone with them 24/7 and 80% of them admit that reaching for their smartphone is the first thing they do in the morning.

The real question here isn't whether or not Baby Boomers respond to mobile texting campaigns. Clearly they do. The question is that if Millennials are the organization's future donors, why wouldn't nonprofits want to learn the best, most effective way to communicate with them?

4. Nonprofits can take some advice from business mobile marketing strategies.

Nonprofits use a variety of methods to engage the public and get their message out. Social media platforms, videos, newsletters and email campaigns all work to increase their ability to serve the cause they advocate for.

Mobile marketing has great potential for engaging the public and spreading the message. Just as businesses use exclusive promotions to target SMS clients and increase leads, nonprofits can use the same strategies to increase their organization's membership database and promote their cause.

Take the example of peta2, for instance. They wanted to spread awareness and increase pressure on tobacco companies to stop cigarette testing on animals. Their strategy was to promote this cause through mobile marketing. First, they advertised across different media by putting up banners and handing out t-shirts encouraging people to sign on to the texting campaign to Win Free Stuff.

Once people opted in, they could enter a raffle by sending a comment to the FDA to stop testing cigarettes on animals. The result? They gained over 25,000 new opt-ins on the East coast alone.

If nonprofits aren’t using mobile marketing to promote their initiatives, they actually can miss a great opportunity. Mobile marketing is immediate, it's effective and it works for all donors no matter what their demographic.

Author Bio

Alexa Lemzy is the customer support specialist and content editor at TextMagic. She is constantly looking for new ideas on how mobile can be leveraged by both businesses and nonprofits. You can reach out to Alexa via Twitter.