Nonprofits are a lot like gardens. Gardens need tending: watering, sunlight, tilling. Nonprofits need tending, too.
But tending to a nonprofit takes more than just a little water once a day. It takes some real fundraising know-how.
You want your nonprofit to grow sky-high in today’s digital age, but first you need some practical tips for how to use mobile fundraising to make that happen.
Whether it’s updating your nonprofit’s online donation page, or launching a text-to-give campaign, you’ll need to learn a few tips and tricks before you can reap what you sow.
We’ve harvested only the cream of the crop when it comes to mobile fundraising tips and brought them straight here to you.
In this article, you’ll find these tips:
- Do your research first
- Know your audience
- Learn how to market for mobile
- Follow the pros
- Make sure you’re measuring along the way
- Be true to your cause
- Have fun with it!
1. Do your research first
Just as with any other fundraising venture, setting up a mobile fundraising campaign will take time, energy, and resources.
As Double the Donation mentions on their blog, you wouldn’t drive a new car off the lot without doing a little research first.
Just like picking out a new car, picking out a mobile fundraising platform first takes having an idea of what’s out there compared with what your nonprofit needs.
You’ve got to make sure that the mobile fundraiser you’re planning is in keeping with best practices for your nonprofit. As with most other modern advancements, there are a lot of choices when it comes to mobile fundraising platforms.
With a little internet digging and some savvy insider knowledge about mobile fundraising, you can figure out pretty easily what’s a scam and what’s going to make donating to your nonprofit easiest for everyone.
2. Know your audience
Once you’re certain that mobile fundraising is right for you and you’ve picked out a mobile fundraising platform, you must figure out the best way to convince your audience to use their mobile devices for the greater good.
What this entails is:
- Reaching out to individual donors.
- Conducting research based on past giving habits.
- Sending organization-wide surveys.
When you have a clearer picture of what your donors’ giving preferences are, you can better meet them where they like to give.
Imagine that you’re trying to incorporate mobile giving into your university’s fundraising efforts. Knowing your target audience — which could include students, alumni, and professors — will give you a better understanding of how to promote mobile giving.
Let’s say you’re hosting an alumni event. It’s likely that your guests will be using their phones to reconnect and network, making it the perfect opportunity to promote mobile donations. You can teach donors how to give using their phones and encourage them to contribute throughout the event.
Knowing your alumni will make it easier to determine which giving methods to promote. If you want to connect with recent alumni, for example, you might create networking events or send them texts with career advice. By sending them informational material via text message, your content has a better chance of being read because 90% of text messages or opened in the first three minutes.
Additionally, this will help you develop long-lasting connections with alumni. Recent graduates might not be at the stage where can give, but by staying in contact, you’ll be on their mind when they are ready to donate!
Finding opportunities like the one mentioned above will help you promote mobile giving in a way that makes sense to your supporters.
As you’re watering your new mobile fundraising plants, keep in mind some of the keys to asking for donations of any kind.
3. Learn how to market for mobile
Meeting people where they are is great, but it also has its problems.
Have you ever been to the grocery store and been asked to give money to a specific cause as you’re checking out? While it’s a great way to raise money, it also brings up a marketing conundrum:
How do you avoid pressuring people into giving in favor of inspiring them to give?
One of the best ways to market for mobile is to get creative with the mundane. If you think that email is dead, you’re dead wrong. It’s all in the way you use traditional means of marketing to further your end goal.
Say, for instance, that you’re an animal rights nonprofit, and you’re trying to market your mobile fundraiser to benefit stray dogs and cats in your area. You need people not only to open your latest email newsletter, but also to click on the link to your website.
But how do you convince someone to click a link?
The answer is simple: appeal to their hearts, not to their heads. When people feel an emotional connection to a cause, they are ten times more likely to donate.
In the case of the animal rights nonprofit, the wisest move is to employ a picture of a cute puppy with the option to click, instead of just a sentence as a call-to-action. Because who wouldn’t click on a cute puppy picture?
4. Follow the pros
If you’re still a little fuzzy on how exactly mobile fundraising can help your nonprofit grow like a weed, the best thing you can do is to look to nonprofits that are already making it work for them.
There are examples all around you.
Aside from churches, one of the most notable examples is the Red Cross’s campaign to send immediate relief to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. Mobile fundraising efforts around the earthquake raised upwards of $32 million in less than a month.
On a smaller scale, nonprofits all around you are going mobile. You’ll see the shift:
- In your email inbox.
- On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- On a lot of nonprofits’ mobile websites.
Though the shift should be noticeable to you as a nonprofit, it should be an almost imperceptible shift to your donors. Just as the way the world works is evolving naturally, so should the way you communicate with your donors.
5. Make sure you’re measuring along the way
As soon as your mobile fundraising initiative is off the ground, the most important step you need to be taking as a nonprofit is to measure, measure, measure.
Measurement isn’t just a way to track the increase in donations; it’s the best way to learn about how and why donations are increasing…and how to adapt when they’re not.
At the top of the fundraising metrics that your nonprofit needs to be paying attention to are:
- Donor growth. Are the tactics that you’re implementing resulting directly in more donors?
- Donor retention. Have your existing donors stayed with you through this mobile transition?
- ROI. Has the money you initially invested in mobile fundraising been donated back to you?
- Email conversion rate. Are the emails you’re sending out translating into website views?
6. Be true to your cause
There’s nothing better than trying on a hat that feels like it was knit just for you.
Likewise, there’s nothing better than coming across a mobile fundraising campaign that feels like it was made just for your donors.
While it’s amply important to look to the pros for how to get started with a mobile fundraising campaign, it’s equally as important to make sure that your campaign is uniquely you.
Your donors will appreciate the personal touches you’ve incorporate to your mobile fundraising campaign.
With the range of mobile fundraising technology out there, it’s easier than ever to:
- Tailor your mobile donation pages.
- Come up with a unique text-to-donate platform.
- Market your mobile efforts to your specific audience.
7. Have fun with it
Fundraising is serious business.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little fun with it!
Some fundraising ideas:
- Incorporate custom emojis, made just for your nonprofit.
- At an event, have a rolling screen showcasing all of the donations you’re receiving as you receive them.
- Create an interactive donation page with fireworks or balloons…whatever your heart desires!
The point is: be creative. If you’re having fun with it, your donors are sure to notice and join in on the party.
With all of these tips in mind, your nonprofit is destined to blossom like never before!
Wauker Matthews is Director of Sales at @pay, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to give in just a few clicks from text, email, web, and social media. Wauker has been in brand and business development for over eight years, helping organizations grow in both size and reach.