Mobile for Good: How Mobile Wallets Will Transform Fundraising

Mobile for Good book coverBook excerpt: Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits

Based on more than 20 years of experience and 25,000+ hours spent utilizing mobile and social media, Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits is a comprehensive 256-page book packed with more than 500 best practices. Written on the premise that all communications and fundraising are now mobile and social, Mobile for Good provides step-by-step how-tos and best practices for writing, implementing, and maintaining a mobile and social fundraising strategy for your nonprofit.

More than any other mobile payment processing technology, mobile wallets have the greatest possibility for transforming fundraising, but the technology and its implications are not well understood in the nonprofit sector. Many incorrectly assume that mobile wallets are only for processing payments at retail establishments by swiping their smartphones, but mobile wallet services are increasingly also offering digital wallet services, i.e., the ability to make payments online. How the technology works is that a user downloads a mobile wallet app and then enters their credit card information inside of the app or through the wallet service’s website. The credit card information is stored and users can then swipe and tap to pay at brick and mortar locations, or in the case of online payment processing, click or tap to add a payment to their wallet to have the payment automatically added to their credit card bill.

This minor tweak in payment processing eliminates both the need to carry credit cards and to enter contact and credit card information when purchasing a product online or making an online donation. Since many mobile and online donors often give impulsively or are pressed for time, this simplification of the donation process could be transformational. In fact, mobile wallets could be the greatest advancement in mobile and online fundraising that the nonprofit sector has ever experienced.

Of all the mobile wallet services – VisaIsisPayPalPassbook – Google Wallet is the pioneer for online donation processing. They were the first, and as this book went to press, the only digital wallet service to offer “Donate” buttons that nonprofits can add to their website and to their YouTube Channel. In fact, in 2013 Google replaced Google Checkout with Google Wallet, and odds are that they will integrate Google Wallet into Google+ in the near future as well.

Not to be outdone, Facebook is also rumored to be working on a mobile and digital wallet service. And while PayPal-branded donate pages are not the best option for online donation processing, their mobile and digital wallet service could become widely used since the company already has more than 130 million active registered users. In the near future, it is very likely that your donate page will not ask donors to choose which credit card they want to donate with, but rather, which wallet service.

Thus, it’s also likely that in the future many of the current companies who offer online and social fundraising and crowdfunding software, like Network for GoodRazoo, and Indiegogo, will partner with mobile wallet services. It’s also possible that future text-to-give campaigns will be empowered by mobile wallets rather than mobile carriers. Currently, a service called TapFunder allows users to text a keyword and short code to receive a link to a mobile-optimized page where donors can enter contact and credit card information to make a donation, rather than have the donation added to their mobile phone bill.

Imagine if instead donors were sent a link to a mobile-optimized page that featured an “Add to Wallet” donate button where all that was required on the part of the donor to complete the donation was one tap to add the donation, a tapped entry of their wallet password, and a second tap to confirm their donation. Take that even further and imagine a mobile alert sent by a nonprofit in a time of crisis that links to a mobile-optimized page where donors can tap to add a donation to their wallet.

Once a nonprofit begins to imagine and conceptualize how mobile and digital wallets can be used to streamline mobile and online fundraising processes, the next step is experimentation and early adoption; as always, the early adopters tend to have the highest fundraising success. That said, mobile wallets have yet to be widely adopted by consumers and donors, but one in three Americans now voice that they would prefer to leave their purse or wallet at home when going out shopping or for entertainment and instead bring their smartphone for payment processing if more brick and mortar businesses offered the capability to do so.

When you combine that trend with soaring smartphone sales and the ease of digital wallet payments and donations, it’s clear that the days of plastic credit cards, checks, and cash will soon be behind us and relegated to history.

Heather Mansfield
Nonprofit Tech for Good
Heather Mansfield is the editor-in-chief and founder of Nonprofit Tech for Good and author of the best-selling books Social Media for Social Good and Mobile for Good. Over the last 10 years, she’s presented over 500 webinars thus training more than 250,000 nonprofit, NGO, and charity staff worldwide. Heather also writes and produces the Global NGO Technology Report and the Global Trends in Giving Report.