MCON12 Live Blog: Creating a Mobile Strategy

Submitted by Sarah on Thu, 07/19/2012 - 10:37am

Throughout the day, I'll be living blogging sessions from MCON12, a virtual conference to help leaders engage the Millennial generation. For my next session, I'm covering "Creating a Mobile Strategy" with Ann Maier of the National Geographic Society.

Maier jumps right in by talking about the challenges the National Geographic Society, a large nonprofit research organization, faced when approaching their mobile campaign. The first was driving donor acquisition and fundraising with minimal direct mail and email marketing, the second is that their only previous mobile campaign happened during a large museum exhibition, and had poor results.

They decided to pilot their mobile campaign using a multi-channel approach. Thinking first about how to reach Millenials and increase their sense of urgency, they started with film - a time sensitive media. At the end of a documentary, they provided a text-to-give call to action and were able to track the metrics as the campaign developed. Maier sees this as a big benefit to mobile campaigns. You can not only prepare for the campaign, but can track dollars and awareness raised minute to minute.When thinking about creating a mobile campaign using film or video, make sure to include the details of the campaign on screen long enough to let donors get out their phones and respond.

While running their campaign, National Geographic found that the giving trends of mobile donors mirrored those of their more traditional fundraising methods. Maier referenced a recent mGive report that found a nearly even distribution of giving between generations. The National Geographic Society ran two different text-to-give campaigns: one gave an option to donate $5 or $10, while the other was simply a $10 donation. The campaign that had only the $10 donation option raised nearly ten times the amount of the campaign that had the option, despite 73% of those with the option choosing to make a larger donation. With the $10 campaign, they saw an 82% conversion rate. Both campaigns saw 25% of mobile donors sign up for email updates.

National Geographic also experimented with cross promotion of their text-to-give campaigns in print media, capitalizing on relevant new stories to promote their campaigns, as well as featuring the campaigns in print ads. Maier reports that these efforts, while at times were logistically challenging, proved to be one of the more effective ways to market the campaign.

What was the overall impact? Mobile donations accounted for 5% of total giving to the specific program, and added 5,000 more supporters to the database. Maier also mentions the number one lesson being mentioned today: capitalize on donor behavior. To engage Millennials, create a sense of urgency surrounding your issue, use a multi-channel approach, maximize last minute opportunities, provide regular opportunities for engagement, and don't be afraid to expand awareness about your mission with occasional messaging.

Has your org had similar successes with mobile text-to-give programs? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.