How to Increase Mobile Engagement While Fundraising


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Reaching donors and engaging with them is important for donor retention! On average, nonprofits only manage to retain between 40-45% of their donors each year. That means more than half won’t make another gift to your nonprofit. Take a look at how you can use mobile engagement to keep your donors captivated by your organization. 

What is mobile marketing and why does it matter? 

Mobile marketing is the practice of reaching out to donors on their mobile devices. This typically involves sending outbound text messages to donors and even encouraging donors to sign up to receive alerts via text. This mobile engagement makes it easy to reach your supporters quickly and keep them connected to your nonprofit between appeals.

Take this a step further by optimizing your online presence for mobile users. Mobile-ready websites and donation forms are important because 54.8% of global web traffic was generated by mobile devices in the first quarter of 2021. And this percentage doesn’t even include folks browsing the internet on their tablets!  

As more and more people rely on their smartphones to browse the internet, keep in touch with people and businesses, and donate to causes that matter to them, your mobile marketing efforts will have a significant impact on your ability to connect with your supporters.  

How to opt supporters in to text messages 

You can’t begin to engage your supporters on mobile without their phone numbers and permission to text them. Luckily, they’re your supporters, so getting them to opt in is easier than you think, especially because nonprofits don’t need written consent to start texting.  

Opt them in on your donation form

An easy way to obtain consent is on your online donation form. Your donors will most likely provide their phone numbers on your donation form. If they give you their number you’re halfway to getting them opted in. All that’s left is to ask for permission to contact them via that phone number.  

A quick and painless way to get consent on your donation form is with a communications opt-in checkbox. Your donors can select the checkbox to agree to be communicated with using the contact information provided. This means, you have their consent to reach out via direct mail, email, calls, and texts!  

A checkbox from a donation page encouraging donors to check it to opt in to communications of all forms from the nonprofit.
A simple checkbox like this is an easy way for donors to choose to opt in to all of your nonprofit’s communications.

This feature is available on Qgiv’s online donation forms, which makes it easier to build a contact list of donors open to receiving your texts. You can build this same communications checkbox into other online forms you use too. Use that checkbox for event registrations, volunteer signup forms, and mailing list signup forms.  

Other ways to opt supporters into your texts

Additionally, you can get your supporters to sign up for your texts using other marketing channels. For those individuals who are interested in the programs you offer or events you host, create text update lists for these topics of interest. You can then promote those unique keywords in your event’s marketing.  

You can place keywords on your website, social media pages, in emails, and direct mail. Just be sure to provide the number they should text your keyword to when you promote your keywords. Then, your supporters can provide their consent by texting those keywords to that number. With Qgiv, they’ll automatically be added to those contact lists. It also acts as their consent to receive texts from you.  

A text message exchange showing how donors can text a keyword to opt into text communications from you.

Creating ongoing mobile engagement 

As we mentioned earlier, getting your supporters to sign up to receive your texts is a great way to get them opted in and engaging with your mobile content.  

Incentivize signing up

But how do you entice your supporters to sign up? You have to provide them with something of value like crucial information about the program or events they care about. The incentives you offer don’t have to cost much (or anything) but could still be a huge motivator that gets your supporters on board.  

If you don’t think providing useful content would be enough, you could also consider providing a coupon to your nonprofit’s thrift store (if you have one) or even entering supporters into a drawing to win exclusive merchandise or a tour of your facility. 

Create segmented lists

Not everyone will be interested in everything your organization does. To increase the likelihood of engagement with your mobile content, you can segment your mobile communication by signing supporters up for messaging related to certain programs that interest them. 

To do this, create a unique keyword for each program. Then, tell donors to those programs about that keyword and explain that this is the way they can get the most up-to-date information about what’s going on in that program. When they sign up, add them to those specific text keyword lists. Many text marketing platforms, like Qgiv’s Mobile Suite, will add them to the list for you. 

Market your text fundraising keywords 

If you want more of your supporters to sign up to receive your texts, you have to let them know that option is available. Add the unique text keywords you create to your website, the specific pages for the programs you offer, in your donor newsletter, in appeals, and on social media to make sure your keywords are visible to those you want to opt in. 

How to get donors to give via text message 

Once you’ve got a contact list of donors who consent to receive your texts, you can convince them to give to your organization with a text message appeal. For your text fundraising campaign to be as successful as possible consider the following. 

Choose an effective text fundraising keyword

Your text keyword is the phrase that potential donors type to start the text-to-donate process. The keyword should simultaneously be something that’s easy for supporters to remember and relates directly to your campaign goals. 

We recommend: 

  • Avoiding basics like “DONATE” and “CHURCH” because those are probably taken. Though you can use them, it won’t stand out in your donors’ minds. 
  • Sticking to simple words that are easy to remember and spell. Otherwise, autocorrect will likely adjust it or donors might mistype it, reducing the number of completed donations. 

Create a memorable keyword your supporters will use. Choose one that is a shortened version of your organization’s name, corresponds with annual fundraising events, or uses the title of a recent campaign. 

There are both good and bad keywords that you may choose for your text-to-donate campaign.
Simpler is always better. Choose keywords like the examples shown on the left. These will be less likely to be changed by autocorrect on your donors’ phones.

Market the heck out of your fundraising keyword

We touched on this a little when talking about getting donors to opt in to receiving your texts. Similarly, during a fundraising campaign, you can earn text fundraising donations by sharing this giving option in your communications. This method works well on your website and on social media. The more they see it, the more likely they are to remember that text giving is an option.  

You can prompt donors to give via text in your print appeals, too! Just be sure to provide recipients with simple instructions for giving via text.  

It’s not enough to just share your keywords. These text message marketing best practices can help you raise more during your text fundraising campaign. 

Make links in texts mobile responsive

If you want more gifts via text fundraising and you’re using text-to-donate,  be sure the forms you text to donors are mobile responsive. It can be frustrating having to pinch and zoom to complete a donation on your smart phone. Avoid this using a mobile-responsive donation form for your text fundraising appeal. Qgiv’s text-to-donate users don’t have to worry! Qgiv optimized its online donation forms for mobile users. 

If you’re using a different system for your text fundraising and your donation page isn’t optimized for mobile, look into more mobile-ready options for your users. If you want a mobile-responsive donation form that works with text fundraising, give ours a try

Determine when text fundraising is your best option 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis webpage graphic sharing how supporters can give via text for Giving Tuesday.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis used text fundraising successfully for a Giving Tuesday campaign. They promoted text donations with this graphic.

Text fundraising doesn’t work in all situations. Sometimes reaching out via email or even sending a direct mail appeal may be more effective. But text fundraising can be incredibly helpful when you want to collect donations quickly. We recommend using text fundraising for emergency appeals, giving days, and during fundraising events. 

The element that makes text fundraising so effective for the three scenarios shared above is the campaign deadline. Text fundraising works best when you need to raise funds quickly. If you have an emergency need arise that just can’t wait, set up a text fundraising keyword and start marketing it. This method has served the Red Cross well for years. 

Giving days like Giving Tuesday are another scenario where your nonprofit is trying to raise funds quickly. Because the premise of giving days is raising money for your cause over a 24-hour period, text fundraising can be the way your nonprofit will see the fastest response to your appeal. The best part is that your text fundraising keyword is easily shareable so supporters can give and then ask their social circle to give too! For great advice on making your next giving day more successful, check out our Giving Day Playbook

Finally, text fundraising at events can provide the last push you need to reach your fundraising goal. You can accomplish this easiest by displaying a fundraising thermometer that can be updated with text fundraising donations. Qgiv uses a tool called FundHub Live to display a live screencast with a donation activity feed so event guests can see progress toward your fundraising goal! 

How to use mobile marketing in other ways 

A text from a nonprofit recuiting volunteers for a fundraising event.
An example of an outbound text from a nonprofit to members of their volunteer contact list seeking volunteers for a fundraising event.

You can use mobile marketing for more than soliciting donations or talking to supporters about your programs. Consider reaching out to volunteers with a text to communicate about new volunteer opportunities. You could also reach out to event attendees with crucial updates about your fundraising events, such as venue changes, reminders about the event, and more. Lastly, you can use your text marketing tools to quickly message staff and volunteers during emergencies. Purposeful use of outbound texts can lead to better mobile engagement.

Final thoughts

As smartphones become more commonplace, your mobile engagement efforts will become increasingly important. Reach donors on the devices they carry with them by using mobile marketing. Inspire your donors to give, get more involved, and more using a great mobile marketing strategy.

Looking for a text fundraising solution that makes mobile engagement easier? Request a demo of Qgiv’s Mobile Suite

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