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Getting mobile donations right

Earlier this month the Rapidata team attended the Institute of Fundraising National Convention. This year’s conference was fantastic – attendee numbers were up, there was a huge variety of vendors at the expo and most importantly the quality and variety of seminars was really impressive. Since we launched our mobile fundraising app at the IoF and because we’re slightly obsessed with our own mobile phones, our team attended a lot of mobile and SMS giving seminars.

It was really interesting to find out how the sector is experimenting with SMS and mobile giving. One of the most common ways of leveraging SMS technology is via text campaigns that don’t include a fundraising ask. The examples given covered everything from asking people to text their support for a campaign to signing a petition, requesting more information, voting and more. Supporters who texted a reply were contacted via phone and asked to sign up as regular monthly donors. Most charities reported a 10% conversion rate from these calls and fairly low acquisition costs.

I think this is a great example of how to combine SMS communications with donor acquisition, but what are charities doing to make that process simpler? Will supporters make a gift via their smartphone if a donation site is sent to them via SMS? Does your charity offer supporters a quick and easy way to give online from their smartphone? How can charities convert more of these supporters to donors – particularly the ones who didn’t answer their phone when called?

In December 2010, a New York based charity called City Harvest tested QR codes on their print ads. When a supporter scanned the QR code with their smartphone they were redirected to a mobile optimised page that gave them 4 options; watch a video about the charity’s work, donate online, donate by phone and learn more about the charity.  It’s a great campaign – but they missed a trick! Their donation form was not mobile optimised. It’s hard to use, hard to see and even the branding was vague.

Sadly, not that many charities have mobile friendly pages on their website.  In fact, one presenter from the National Convention told us that only 16% of non-profits were planning mobile friendly pages on their website in 2011/12*.

It’s actually pretty easy to convert some key pages on your website to a mobile optimise version – although this does depend heavily on your website platform.

The key pages you should optimise are your donate now page, contact page, what we do/how you can help page, and maybe some video or image to bring your organisation’s role to life.

Rapidata launched mobile optimised donation pages last year to all of our clients. Now whenever a donation page is created on our platform, a mobile friendly version is automatically created too. Now you might be wondering what that looks like – well in a nutshell, the page is styled to fit nicely into a very small screen, the fields are easy to navigate and you don’t have to mess around with lots of extra questions. And we can incorporate PayPal as a payment option alongside all the standard cards (40% of PayPal donations to Red Nose Day were via an iPhone in 2011**). Our mobile donation pages are short, to the point, easy to use and our client’s branding is front and centre as always.

The best part about our mobile donation tool is that you can create multiple donation pages, each with a different look and feel to reflect your campaigns. And you don’t need to manage multiple online giving platforms. All your data is one place allowing you to track donor behaviour, find out who’s giving via their mobile, keep track of gift aid declarations and more.

iPhone & Blackberry showing donation page
Setup your mobile donation pages and start connecting with your donors wherever they are!

Is your organisation planning an SMS or mobile giving campaign? Is your organisation planning on leveraging the power of mobile to raise funds?  I’d love to hear about it! Please get in touch by leaving a comment below or email abono@rapidata.co.uk.

If you would like more information about mobile giving, please get in touch by emailing info@rapidata.co.uk or call 01293 524066

For more information about the potential of mobile phones for charities and non-profits, please click here to view nfp Synergy’s report.

* Using Mobile to Raise Money & Friends, Institute of Fundraising National Convention, 2011
** Making the Most of SMS Fundraising, Institute of Fundraising National Convention, 2011
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