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What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About Mobile Fundraising

Mobile fundraising is gaining popularity, and the statistics prove it. According to recent research, mobile fundraising accounted for 21 percent of the online donations made in 2017.

This figure rose from 17 percent the year before. But mobile fundraising requires a solid strategy if it's to be successful.


Leverage Texting

Pledge texting and text-to-donate campaigns are great ways to drive funds for your nonprofit's cause. Text-to-donate allows donors to easily give to your organization when they are inspired in the moment directly from their mobile phone.

The Bay Area Fire Relief Fund (BAFRF) launched an ambitious campaign to raise $250,000 to help Bay Area residents who had lost their homes due to wildfires. Using a radio advertisement in conjunction with a text-to-donate campaign enabled BAFRF to exceed its fundraising goals substantially, raising close to $300,000.

Text-to-donate offers many advantages: higher average donations, recurring gift options, and faster donation processing. For instance, it takes less time to receive your donations since you don't have to to receive funds from wireless carriers.

Setting up a text-to-donate campaign is as easy as choosing your keyword, setting a mobile responsive donation page, promoting your campaign, and collecting donations.

With pledge texting, you can provide a phone number to your target audience to text. This generates a link that the donor clicks, which takes them to a landing page to fill out their information on a form.

They will receive a confirmation once the donation is successful. However, it's vital that your form not be too long. It should be simple to use and free of errors so that the process is easy for the donor.

drawing of money moving between a phone in one hand to a wallet in another hand

Streamline the Process on Your Website and Facebook Page for Your Donors

When it comes to encouraging donors to participate in your drive via their mobile devices, it's important to streamline the process. That means removing obstacles that can deter them from making a donation, such as a poorly designed website that doesn't use the principles of responsive design or UX best practices.

For example, instead of using long forms for your donor audience to fill out, simplify the process by only requesting the necessities. Ask for the donor's name, email address, and payment information.

Also, consider using built-in donation tools from social media platforms that your audience may use. For instance, you can use the donation tools Facebook offers, such as the donate button, to increase donor engagement and encourage them to donate.

You can add the donate button to your posts and page as well as provide donors with the option to make a one-time donation or a monthly donation. Lastly, don't forget to get your Facebook page verified so you can create fundraisers.

Get Familiar with the Process

Without understanding the experience the donor may encounter, it's challenging to create a seamless donation process. That's why it's important to try making a donation yourself using a mobile device.

If you have never used a mobile device to make a donation, then it's time to get familiar with the process. Make a mobile donation to a nonprofit of your choice to get used to how it works. It's a simple process that takes little time and effort, but it will give you great insights into the experience of your potential donors.

Mobile Payments Offer Promise

Don't overlook mobile pay options as a form of collecting donations. More and more individuals have access to the Internet via their mobile devices. According to the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone as of 2018.

That's a vast increase from 2011, when only 35 percent of the U.S. market owned a smartphone. Mobile payment platforms — such as Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and Google Pay — provide additional ways to streamline the donation process. These platforms are making it easier for donors to give from their phone.

For instance, Amazon Pay offers a seamless donation experience by using the information already stored in your donor's Amazon account. Paired with Alexa Donations, donating is as easy as talking, using Alexa's technology to enable voice-activated donations.

Your target audience may also be more inclined to use these payment options because the options are right on their phones, and they are from a trusted source. Because mobile payments improve the efficiency of the donation process, they're a tool worth considering in your next mobile fundraising campaign.

Consider Building Mobile Apps

If you can afford one, a mobile fundraising app can offer another simple option for donors to give to your cause. The Canada and Bermuda chapters of The Salvation Army decided to take their experience mobile, with their app iKettle.

Users who downloaded the app were able to design their own virtual version of the red kettle and then share it with their friends. Each user's unique iKettle had its own button for visitors to click to donate.

There are two ways to leverage mobile apps. First, you can sign up with an existing mobile platform that allows donors to give to multiple causes, such as Google's One Today app. [Note: This app has been discontinued.]

Alternatively, you can build your own mobile app. This can be done in two ways:

  • Use an app builder platform such as Appy Pie or Shoutem. These are cost-effective since they work off templates and have a drag-and-drop editor so that anyone with basic computer skills could create an app.
  • Custom build an app with an app development company. Of course, this is a more expensive route, but you get complete flexibility on the design and features.

An app makes it easier for your organization to reach a wider audience. If you decide to go this route, make sure to consider the process involved in creating an app, including ideating your app and creating a prototype before completing the final product.

For nonprofits who can't currently afford an app, remember that there are other mobile options. These options include setting up a text-to-donate campaign, making your website and Facebook page mobile-friendly, and taking advantage of mobile payments, as discussed above.

Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder of Arkenea, a custom software development company that helps entrepreneurs and businesses build experience-rich mobile and web apps. Rahul has been featured as a business technology thought leader in numerous media channels such as Bloomberg TV, Forbes, HuffPost, and Inc., among others.

Additional Resources: Mobile Fundraising