April 5, 2013

Mobile Giving 101: Why Mobile Is an Important Part of Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns

Research shows that by 2014 mobile device usage will exceed that of desktop and laptop computers. What does this mean for nonprofit organizations and online fundraising campaigns? In order to keep participants, sponsors, and supporters continually engaged, nonprofits should integrate mobile giving as part of their fundraising strategies.

How does mobile giving help your fundraising campaign?

Mobile giving provides a great way for nonprofit and community organizations to further extend the reach of their online fundraising campaign. With mobile fundraising, you are providing a place for people to engage at anytime from any place by easily accessing your fundraising website from their mobile devices.

Many savvy fundraisers now have dedicated online fundraising websites where participants, donors, sponsors, and community members engage. The website is where organizations share information about their cause and the benefiting charity, specific event details such as date, time, place, highlight sponsors, and track overall fundraising progress with a goal thermometer. Participants register for events and create individual fundraising pages where they post photos and videos, personal goals, and accept online donations. Sponsors make payments, upload logos, and share information about the reason for their support. And importantly, donors safely and securely make online donations.

Now here’s where the importance of mobile really comes in! Imagine one of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign participants is sitting at a bus stop talking to a new acquaintance about a fundraising cause in which he or she is involved. Perhaps the new acquaintance would be willing to make a donation to the cause if it was as easy as three quick steps: 1) typing a URL into their phone, 2) selecting a donation amount, and 3) paying with their Google Wallet or credit card. Many people act on impulse. If this same person waits until they get home to log-in to their computer to make a donation, they are likely going to forget or not make the effort.

Similarly, mobile gives peer-to-peer fundraisers real-time access to their fundraising progress. They can log-in at any time to see how many donations have been collected and how close they are to reaching their goal. They can easily post updates on Facebook or Twitter using sharing widgets in order to keep their fundraising campaign top of mind with all of their family and friends.

What is a mobile optimized website?

So now that you understand how important mobile giving is to your fundraising campaign, let’s briefly talk about mobile optimization. In order to ensure that constituents can easily engage from their mobile devices, nonprofits are going to need their fundraising websites to be mobile-optimized.

If your site is not optimized for mobile browsing, your risk of losing potential supporters is much higher. The content is harder to read. The font is too tiny, and the text boxes are too small for our fingers to use on the touch-screen. This requires users to excessively zoom, scroll and pan to navigate the site. A mobile optimized fundraising website removes these barriers and creates a low “interaction cost” for users. This makes them more likely to browse your site and ultimately make a donation.

Mobile fundraising websites provide summarized details for quick scanning while on-the-go. Navigation tools such as larger buttons, drop-open menus, auto-dial and auto-email features create easier navigation for people using smaller screen sizes. A mobile fundraising website reformats content so that it fits within the screen size of your smart phone. In addition, text boxes must be repositioned and sized appropriately so people can easily click in these boxes and use their keypad for data entry. (Like the example in the screenshot, and more examples from our website here.)

Consider offering buttons with set donation amounts instead of a blank text box for donors to enter an amount (like the example to the right). This makes the step that much easier for donors (one touch of the screen vs. multiple), and it removes the possibility for the donor to erroneously type in an incorrect amount. (Imagine a donor accidentally adding one extra zero to the end of their donation!) These donation buttons make it very easy and clear to choose a donation amount. Choose amounts that are common and appropriate donation amounts for your organization and for mobile giving.

Summary: Benefits of a Mobile Giving Campaign

Integrating mobile giving as part of your campaign shows your constituents that your nonprofit organization is “tech savvy” and responding to current trends. In addition:

  • Mobile giving allows you to reach constituents more frequently by engaging with them while they are on the go.
  • A mobile giving campaign increases the “engagement factor.”
    • Participants can share personal fundraising pages, check status of their donations and post notifications at any time from their mobile device
    • Donors can easily make an online donation with a credit card using a mobile optimized screen to help them enter data.
    • Sponsors, volunteers, media and any other community members can access your website at any time and from anywhere for information, to check progress, read comments, make donations, etc.
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Kari Ann Kiel
Kari currently manages marketing initiatives for DoJiggy, provider of online fundraising software solutions. She has more than twelve years’ experience developing and executing strategic event marketing plans including managing community fundraising events and sponsorships for non-profits, and integrating targeted online marketing campaigns