10 Ways Mobile Fundraising Can Change the Game for Your Nonprofit

Kevin D. Hendricks
10 Ways Mobile Fundraising Can Change the Game for Your Nonprofit

Mobile devices have changed the game. It’s little wonder that putting an Internet-connected device in everyone’s pocket would have far-reaching impacts. The nonprofit sector is not immune. Let’s explore how mobile fundraising can boost your fundraising efforts.

Why Mobile Matters

People love their mobile devices. They use them all the time:

  • 97% of American professionals are within 3 feet of their mobile device 24 hours a day.
  • They look at their cell phone 344 times a day.
  • The average person scrolls through 300 feet of mobile content per day.

There are a lot of stats showing how phones and mobile apps are everywhere. That ubiquitous nature of mobile devices has truly changed society—from cameras everywhere capturing news in real time to mobile mapping changing the way we drive.

It’s why we suggest a mobile first approach for nonprofits.

That mobile love affair should impact how you do fundraising.

10 Ways to Do Mobile Fundraising

We’ve got 10 ideas to help you implement mobile fundraising for your nonprofit organization.

1. Text-to-Give for Nonprofits

The simplest way to roll out mobile fundraising is with a text-to-give fundraising campaign. It’s an easy way to collect donations. You share a short code and keyword, like “text KEYWORD to 24365 to donate”—it’s that simple.

Your supporters will get a text message with a link to your mobile-friendly donation page. They can complete their donation at their leisure for a quick and easy giving experience.

Plus, you can include all the usual functionality of your online donation form: capture phone numbers, offer recurring donations, opt-in for future follow up, etc.

Example: The Denver Rescue Mission uses text-to-donate for their turkey drive and it helps with acquisition—“New people, new supporters, new people who want to learn about the Mission,” said Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Alexxa Gagner. 

2. Grow Your Nonprofit List

Chasing likes and followers on social media sites is a losing game. The social media platforms want people to stay on their sites. That’s why you need to grow your list so you can directly reach people through their mobile phones. When people opt in, they want to hear from you. They’re begging for a text message with a clear call to action.

Social networks are fickle, so focus on a list you control.

Example: “We have a very specific strategy for texting that we’ve developed over trial and error the past couple of years,” said Katelynn Howell, the director of development for Special Olympics Virginia. “I think, honestly, probably last year and this year we’ve hit our stride and really nailed down our voice and the different groups we work with.”

3. Year-Round Communication

Any giving campaign starts with good communication. Long before you make the ask, well before they see a donation page or enter a credit card, you’re building your list and reaching out with regular communication.

Your donation process can’t start and stop with your annual fundraiser. Fundraising events are great, but real outreach means building an ongoing relationship with donors. You need to communicate year-round to really connect.

Then, when you finally make the ask, they’re ready to hit that donation button.

Bonus tip: An ongoing communication strategy is an ideal way to engage new donors. Why make them wait for next year’s fundraising campaign to hear more about the work you do?

4. Maximize Nonprofit Events

Mobile devices can supercharge your fundraising events. With text-to-donate options, your supporters can donate in real-time. There’s no forgetting to do it later or worrying about cash or where the checkbook is (what’s a checkbook?!). It’s great for in-person events, where you can put QR codes on table tents or online live events where a short code and keyword are easy to share verbally.

Plus, having that mobile option makes it easy to connect. You can send reminders, give last-minute updates, send parking info so they have it at their fingertips.

Bonus tip: Use a fundraising thermometer to track progress and encourage more donations.

5. Mobile Giving is Relational

Mobile apps are so popular because people are relational. Americans want to connect and interact with others. That’s why social networks are huge. It’s why nonprofit organizations encourage peer fundraising—you tap into that network power.

So if you’re going to do mobile fundraising, you need to be relational. That’s means replying. Some other text message platforms don’t allow replies. Responses either get an impersonal auto-response or they’re completely ignored.

That’s not good.

And that’s why you can reply with Rally. You need to truly embrace the mobile part of mobile fundraising.

Example: “After a Thanksgiving basket text someone asked for assistance and we were able to refer them from there,” said Anna Davenport, a digital marketing specialist with The Salvation Army Great Lakes Division. “That’s the most notable conversation I can remember.”

6. Optimize Mobile Giving

Mobile fundraising is all about the mobile part, so make sure to optimize the process for mobile devices. Seriously, pull out your mobile phone and go through the donation process to make sure it’s as smooth and simple as possible. You want people to have an amazing giving experience.

  • Streamline the donation form and don’t ask for donor data you don’t need.
  • Offer suggested donation amounts. It’s subtle, but those options can encourage donors to give more.
  • Give an option for recurring donations. That repeated giving will be a big boost to your bottomline.
  • Accept all payment forms, whether it’s credit cards or online giving options such as PayPal or Venmo.

Implementing these simple ideas will boost your fundraising efforts.

7. Mobile Fundraising Works Offline

While we’ve focused on online fundraising, mobile giving doesn’t have to be entirely online. You can use QR codes or short code/keyword combos to make it easy to donate anywhere.

Example: The Rock School for Dance Education encourages mobile donations with their direct mail return envelopes—“On return envelopes we put ‘place a stamp here or text to donate.’”

8. Year-End Fundraising

Every nonprofit organization knows that year-end giving is a crucial part of your fundraising strategy. You can work mobile fundraising into that process with a series of text messages to highlight your work and ask for support.

People aren’t checking their email over the holidays, so text messaging is an ideal medium to actually reach people.

Bonus tip: The same strategy can work for a Giving Tuesday campaign.

9. Embrace Video

Another way to embrace mobile? Video. Watching video is huge in social media platforms right now. Those short TikTok style videos are addictive.

Video is an easy way for nonprofit organizations to connect.

We’ve got plenty of ideas for how to make videos without a huge budget. It can add a human element to your mobile fundraising campaign, whether it’s a quick video to showcase your work or a simple thank you video.

10. Nonprofit Gratitude

Speaking of, it’s important to express your gratitude. At the end of your mobile giving campaign, be sure to give your supporters an update and say thank you. Text messaging is an ideal medium to that because it’s quick and effective. Open rates are way higher than email marketing, so your message will be seen.

Let supporters know how your campaign went and what you’ll be able to accomplish thanks to their donations. Include a picture or short video to showcase their impact (see our multimedia messaging service or MMS guide for more). And actually say thank you.

Example: “Every time we send a text, we usually always put a graphic with it,” said Breeana Gumpert with the Pablove Foundation.

Here to Help

Rally is here to help. We’ve got FAQs, webinars, and onboarding support. We help you connect to your customer relationship management (CRM) system and your mobile giving platform. We’ve got loads of integrations with your favorite fundraising tools.

Check out Rally and boost your fundraising strategy. Learn how to get started today.

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