In a world where almost everybody has a smartphone, it’s harder and harder for nonprofits to ignore the idea of mobile fundraising. Online giving is ever on the rise, according to research published in Blackbaud’s 2013 Charitable Giving Report, which showed it increased 13.5 percent in 2013, compared with the 4.9 percent increase in charitable giving overall.
Given that so many potential donors are moving online and to their smartphones for everything from email to shopping to donations, it only makes sense for nonprofits to get on board, too. So how can your foundation or charity use the boost in mobile activity to its advantage? What strategies could you take advantage of in 2014?
To help answer those questions, here are four specific strategies to consider, based on four hot trends in the mobile realm today. These are a few ways the nonprofit sector can take advantage of mobile devices this year:
1. Marry Mobile & Crowdfunding: Nonprofits need to marry mobile donations with the also popular trend of crowdfunding (i.e., raising money through many small donations from a large number of people): “By making your peer-to-peer pages mobile-friendly, [you] allow participants and their donors to maximize their access to your organization,” according to npENGAGE.
- What makes crowdfunding so powerful? There’s nothing new about using crowdfunding for fundraising, but that’s only because it’s a proven strategy that works. By asking your donors to share your information with their friends, you essentially enlist their help in raising funds. Your donations increase exponentially as more and more people become exposed to your organization and its mission.
- How can you combine mobile fundraising and crowdfunding? Mobile devices are ready tools for crowdfunding, and here’s why: With an on-the-go smartphone, it’s easier than ever for your donors to share links via email or social networks. Through a custom app, you could allow your users to automatically share their love of your nonprofit with their friends. What’s more, you could gather data that will be constantly up to date and efficient.
2. Design for Tablets, Too: It’s more than smartphone users who make up the growing mobile user population; it’s tablet users, too — and those tablet users are worth paying attention to, since they have almost double the conversion rate of smartphone users, according to Monetate®. With that in mind, you must design your nonprofit website and/or mobile apps to work well on tablets.
- How do you design for tablet users? The first thing to remember is to avoid flash, which may look slick on a desktop but won’t work properly on most tablets. If your design relies on something that won’t show up for tablet users, you lose them before they ever get the chance to consider your pitch. Likewise, be sure to design for resolutions around 1024 pixels, so they’ll fit the tablet’s screen. “Most websites’ grid systems total a width of around 960px anyway, so this shouldn’t be a massive problem to implement,” says Tuts+.
- A word of caution: Designing for tablets is not the same thing as designing for iPads. IPads are tablets, but they are only one type of tablet — so don’t forget to test any and all designs on more than one device.
3. Get on Board with Fundraising Apps: While it’s true that various mobile fundraising apps have popped on and off the market, “in 2013, a new suite of mobile fundraising apps launched that have staying power — and more will likely follow in 2014,” says Nonprofit Tech for Good. By getting on board with these apps now, you don’t get stuck behind the competition; instead, you become one of the nonprofits getting noticed by ready donors.
4. Prepare for the Last Three Months of the Year: If you want to make the most of mobile fundraising, you have to prepare for the last quarter of the year. “More than one third (33.6 percent) of overall charitable giving happens in the last three months of the year, with the highest percentage (17.5 percent) coming in December,” says the GuideStar Blog.
How can you make the most of mobile fundraising at the end of the year? Rather than sending your final push to potential donors in the last days or weeks of the year, start sooner. Since research proves the majority of donations are happening in October, November, and December, design your fundraising events and campaigns to capitalize on this.
All four of the above tips point to key trends in the mobile market today, all of which are good news for the nonprofit industry — at least when you know what to do about them. By being aware of what’s happening in mobile fundraising, you can stay ahead of these trends and use them to your business advantage.
About the Author:
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, offering credit card processing solutions for nonprofits. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company, and also serves on its Board of Directors.