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How nonprofit organizations can leverage mobile messaging

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As mobile advertising increases and businesses continue raking in profits from mobile sales, nonprofit organizations should be paying close attention. The same strategies used to inspire consumers to buy can be used to inspire supporters to donate.

It’s no mystery that businesses are focusing on mobile since texting is the most used data service in the world. Did you know that texting is the most prevalent form of communication for American adults under 50? And that 60% of web traffic comes from mobile devices?

People want to give. In fact, 84% of Canadians donate to charitable organizations with an average donation of $446 per year. Mobile makes it even easier for them to give. Organizations that give donors the option of donating on mobile websites and/or apps receive as much as 123% more donations per campaign than organizations that don’t.

Here are some ways your organization can reap the benefits of mobile.

Optimize your site for mobile

Desktop is desktop and mobile is mobile and each requires its own design. Fifty-one percent of visitors to your site are doing so on a mobile device, so if you’re not offering a mobile-friendly experience, you’re losing donors. Not only that, but since last year when Google started using mobile optimization as a factor in its ranking system, if you’re not mobile optimized, it may be harder for donors to find you on the web.

Some factors in making your website mobile friendly include:

Fast loading. Even if they’re donating to a charitable organization, people are trained to expect fast page loading on a mobile device. Forty-seven percent of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and according to one survey, the majority of participants would abandon a page after waiting 6-10 seconds. That means if your website is full of high-definition photos, it’s not going to load very quickly.

Large buttons. Mobile sites need to be intuitive. The screen is small and therefore the call-to action buttons need to be big to draw the visitors’ attention.

Fan menus. The fan menu saves space on the page and is a simple way for users to navigate to different site pages.

Easy-to-read fonts. The fonts should be easy on the eyes and a black font on white background is usually the easiest to read.

Simplify your message. Long, detailed texts are ok for desktop accessed sites, but for mobile, the shorter the better. Reword and rework your message for mobile to get the essential points across and make it easy for visitors to capture the core message(s) at a glance.

Streamline your visuals. A complicated website with lots of graphics and features is fine for desktop, but can be confusing on a mobile device. Make the layout as simple as possible so that people can find what they’re looking for without having to scroll too much or switch between pages.

To ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, use this free tool from Google.

Text to increase fundraising event attendance

Nonprofits can take advantage of SMS to communicate with donors about fundraising events. Emails and voicemails don’t have as high a response or open rate as texts and SMS has proven to be an efficient way to boost fundraising event attendance.

This case study of SAWA-Australia shows how using texting to alert donors about upcoming fundraising events has increased their event turnouts. They also use text messaging to direct supporters to their online shop, which has also seen sales increases.

Mobile messaging can also be used to communicate with and coordinate volunteers and staff. The efficiency and immediacy of texting make it an ideal communication platform when planning events.

Use various donation platforms:

Mobile giving apps. Your organization’s app can make it easy for contributors to make donations. The downside is the donor has to go to the trouble of downloading the app. The upside is that donors who go to the trouble of downloading the app usually take your organization more seriously and are repeat donors. Once downloaded, you can maintain communication with the donor through the app and many apps include features like printing donation receipts for tax returns.

Mobile donation pages. Just like on desktop, your supporters can fill out a form on your website to make a donation. As with the rest of your site, you should make sure the donation page is optimized for mobile. Allow information such as name and credit card to be autofilled. Simplify the form for mobile to ensure donors can make their contribution quickly and easily.

Text-to-give. Probably the most popular mobile giving platform, text-to-give campaigns have produced some impressive results for various organizations. The best way to achieve the goals of your text-to-give campaigns is to:

  1. make sure your donor information is up-to-date so you don’t waste messages;
  2. choose a secure text software provider so donors can feel safe in giving you their information;
  3. integrate your text-to-give campaign with other media such as your website and email messages, casting a wider net to let donors know about this opportunity to give;
  4. advertise your text-to-give at fundraising events to increase donations at live events where people in attendance are more committed to your cause and more likely to donate.

Nonprofits can reap the benefits of the popularity of mobile through the adoption of mobile apps, mobile optimization, text-to-give campaigns and fundraising promotion via text. Mobile use surpasses that of desktop and reaching customers through mobile is becoming increasingly common. In order for nonprofits to continue serving their public, they need to adapt their outreach to include smart mobile strategies.

Alexa Lemzy is the customer relations specialist and blog editor at TextMagic. She writes mainly about customer service strategies, fundraising techniques and use of text messaging. You can reach out to her on Twitter at @Alexa_Lemzy.

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