Mobile giving does not cannibalize other donation channels: Nonprofit Mobile Day panel
By Dan Butcher
February 17, 2011
The Salvation Army partners with Didmo, GetJar and Southern Territory to encourage mobile giving
WASHINGTON � Mobile giving initiatives do not cannibalize other fundraising channels such as online and direct mail, according to a panel at Nonprofit Mobile Day.
Cohosted by Mobile Marketer and the Direct Marketing Association, the conference offered best-practice tips and case studies related to mobile giving. The �Mobile Giving, Mobile Marketing or Both?� panel was moderated by John Styers, Kansas City, MO-based vice president of corporate strategy and industry relations at 3Cinteractive.
�Mobile giving does not jeopardize other forms of giving,� said Christian Zimmern, vice president of the Mobile Giving Foundation, Washington. �People who donate via mobile are different from people who donate via online or traditional channels�mobile donors have a unique profile.�
Panelists said that they often get asked �How do I get a donation on someone�s phone bill and how do I market that to my potential donor base?�
The Mobile Giving Foundation worked with the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, and two former presidents issued a video call-to-action at http://www.clintonbushhaitifund.org asking supporters to text the keyword QUAKE to the short code 20222 to donate $10.
Jenifer Snyder is executive director of The mGive Foundation
Mr. Zimmern said that he has to manage raised expectations in the wake of the $40 million or so that has been raised for Haiti earthquake victims via mobile.
�Haiti was a once-in-a-lifetime event, so we�re trying to live up to those expectations to help nonprofit organizations use mobile,� Mr. Zimmern said. �If you only look at it from a fundraising perspective, the initial results tend to be small.
�The key successes for mobile giving has been and will be the ease of use of SMS�last year 1.5 trillion text messages were sent,� he said. �It is still growing and SMS is not going anywhere anytime soon as a marketing vehicle�it is here to say.�
Doug Stovall is senior vice president of sales and client services at Hipcricket
Panelists presented various examples and best-practice tips, covering various use cases and types of campaigns.
For example, organization X collects mobile numbers via its Web site and 80 percent of mobile numbers are from unique supporters � on average 56 percent of these supporters become donors, according to mGive.
Organization Y uses mobile to drive volunteer and participation at events, then follows up with daily SMS alerts to keep supporters engaged and convert them into donors.
Organization Z uses mobile to cultivate local chapters and promote events and collects mobile numbers through all forms of donor/supporter communications.
The first step to mobile success is building a mobile database. Encourage supporters to opt-in to a mobile database by texting a keyword to a short code, for example, text JOIN to 50555.
The second step is to establish a mobile relationship with supporters. Send regular outbound text messages to opted-in donors that inform supporters about upcoming events, recent projects and campaign goals
Step three is asking supporters to take action. Leverage mobile relationships to give supporters the opportunity to act, donate and mobilize within seconds.
�Mobile giving is unique in that it is the only time there is no revenue share�the wireless carriers generally donate their networks to raise funds for nonprofit organizations,� said Jenifer Snyder, executive director of the mGive Foundation, Denver. �We surveyed a number of mobile donors to see how often they want to communicate with the organizations they support, and most said monthly if not weekly.
�We�re often asked, �Does mobile giving cannibalize other channels,� and the resounding answer is no,� she said. �Also, most mobile donors would like to give more than $10�we did a study to see how effective a $25-per-text initiative would be.
�Haiti was a wonderful tipping point for mobile donations, but it skewed perceptions�mobile is a critical channel for communicating and engaging with donors�it is not just a fundraising channel.�
Nonprofit organizations should include a mobile call-to-action in all of their consumer touch points.
National Public Radio has partnered with Hipcricket to use SMS for supporter engagement and fundraising. On-air mobile calls-to-action are a key tactic.
�Our broadcast partners and their individual stations have built mobile databases throughout the year, then followed up with text alerts about news or traffic or asking listeners to opt in via SMS to win something,� said Doug Stovall, senior vice president of sales and client services, Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA.
�Now, during fundraising time, NPR is hitting those folks with fundraising messages, which can have click-to-call functionality within the text message,� he said. �NPR is engaging people who care about the cause, free public radio, and reaching out to them to help achieve their fundraising goals.
�It�s a great example of a nonprofit communicating with their customer base and giving a valuable service using mobile.�
Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief, Mobile Marketer
Mr. Alam Khan and Elmo
Ran Farmer, managing director for North America at Netbiscuits, the exclusive sponsor of Nonprofit Mobile Day
The audience at Nonprofit Mobile Day
Samantha Scheidler, account executive, Russ Reid