Mobile for good: How NPOs can maximize their mobile fundraising efforts

Originally published by Noelle de la Mothe on The Canadian Marketing Association blog, Jul 7, 2014.


Building on a previous post on mobile marketing for non-profits, I recently spoke with Claire Kerr, Director of Digital Philanthropy at FrontStream. She offers some helpful advice to NFP leaders on how to build internal support for investment in mobile fundraising campaigns:

State of mobile fundraising in Canada
I believe that we are not currently where we need to be when it comes to mobile fundraising. For proof of this we can look at how advertising on mobile is totally disproportionate to ad spend on all other media. Other channels like TV, or even digital marketing spend, are aligned to number of eyeballs and time spent -- but not mobile. And at the same time we're seeing that virtually all stats on smart phone usage are on the rise. Over 30% of traffic to fundraising and donation pages comes from mobile devices like smart phones and tablets. Industry and large corporations have jumped on the mobile trend but many NFPs are just getting started.

As the move to expand mobile fundraising efforts increases in the sector, what are the top things NFPs need to know to get started?

  • Everything social is inherently mobile -- Many organizations are still seeing the two pieces as separate…as though social media is being digested purely on a desktop. A good trend to take advantage of is that any call-to-action in social should be mobile optimized.
  • Optimize every transactional point of a web site for mobile.
  • We're seeing smoother and shorter checkout experiences for mobile -- Payments through dongles (an external device enabling mobile payment) are big in the U.S. through companies like Square, FrontStream and Paypal. But they haven't really caught on in Canada. Trying dongles would be a great test for fundraising events or mall programs.
  • Another trend is mobile apps -- Australia's World's Greatest Shave has an awesome mobile app and also a kit (just like the paper or desktop version) for mobile fundraising that's optimized for your smart phone.

This all makes sense but with tight budgets, how do NFPs prove that this is where they should be investing?

Artez completed a benchmarking review of data from tens of thousands of individual peer to peer event registrants and the numbers show that mobile technology has a positive effect on P2P campaigns.

  • Almost 1 in 4 registrants in a fundraising campaign will use mobile web, apps or both to raise $ for their cause if given the option.
  • Event participants who use mobile web and apps are almost 2x more likely to bring in at least one donation.
  • And participants who use mobile web/apps raised 2.2x more than those who only fundraised on the regular web.

Get access to your analytics. Right now in Canada, 20% of charity donations are coming from mobile/tablet. You need to access your organization's Google Analytics to understand the percentage of ages, revenue, growth, as well as which devices the donations are coming from and when they're coming in.

Any Final Thoughts?

  • When it's done right there shouldn't be barriers preventing NFP success in mobile.
  • Think of mobile in terms of your different audiences. Similar to different target markets, you now have your daytime desktop audience (donations spike on desktops online 10 a.m.- noon) and your evening mobile audience (donations spike through smartphones and tablets at 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. And make sure your entire mobile audience has a positive experience overall.
  • Make sure you know your analytics. Once senior management sees how many donations come online and what percentage of age (and growth) is coming from mobile, it's a lot easier to make the case for investment.

Read more about mobile giving and mobile technology for non-profits at!


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