The Death of Mobile Giving?

Aug 1, 2011 11:34 AM ET

Just a year ago, mobile giving was the new darling of fundraising. It was an easy and effective way to tap in to new and established donors with an immediate call to action. Today, the future of mobile giving is already ominous. A new study from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Kaptivate Research reveals over 50 percent of nonprofits have been disappointed with the results of mobile fundraising campaigns – disenchantment that has led to a 20 percent decrease in the use of mobile giving technology in campaigns over the last year.

Is mobile giving dead? Hopefully it's experiencing more of a rebirth. Although the overwhelming success of campaigns like the American Red Cross’ Text 2Help campaign prompted many nonprofits to rush to use mobile as a fundraising mechanism alone, some organizations are taking a step back to realize the potential of mobile as a communication tool first.

Silver Ring Thing, a Christian group that is using mobile to inform rather than solicit, is sending out news and links to blogs twice a month. saw radical results from a call-to-action text message sent to its teenage constituents. Since then, has used texts as a central part of its communication strategy – but it has not asked for donations. Doug Plank, chief executive at MobileCause, explains in a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article, “The old rules of establishing trust, building community, fostering engagement still apply regardless of the medium.”

Nonprofits don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to mobile fundraising; your best practices still apply. Tell your story first, grow a relationship and then ask for a donation. And yes, it can all be done through the simple text message.


Whitney Dailey