By Jenifer Snyder, Executive Director, The mGive Foundation
Have you considered using mobile as a way to tie it all together?
The first thing many people think about when it comes to mobile is text donations. Mobile can indeed be used to ask donors for contributions but limiting mobile to that narrow role is like using the Internet just for email. The Internet has many uses – and so does mobile.
In fact, mobile is so versatile that the Pew Research Center called it the “Swiss Army Knife” of communication.
With all that versatile power available in the palms of your donors’ hands, how can you best harness its capabilities to help you have a stellar end-of-year campaign?
A key fact to remember is that text messages have a 97 percent open rate and 85 percent of texts are read within 15 minutes of receipt. In fact, mobile phones are so important to their owners that 75 percent take them into the bathroom. Talk about your captive audience!
The bottom line is that mobile is a powerful way to communicate with your supporters as you wrap up the year. Use mobile broadly, to involve donors in your initiatives, ranging from education, social media participation and of course, giving.
Here are a few tips.
1. Build Donation Campaign Awareness Through Text Messaging Before Soliciting
Don’t let your end-of-the-year campaign get lost in the fury and frenzy of the holidays. The effectiveness of text messages in reaching and being read by their target audience makes it the most powerful attention-grabbing device you have in your tool chest.
But many text message efforts fail because nonprofits don’t use this power wisely. Plan your communication carefully. Use educational messages first, before making the solicitation. Segment your mobile list by interest, level of involvement or giving history, and tailor your message and outreach accordingly.
It works. When donors receive at least two non-solicitation text messages within a week of a solicitation text, donation conversion rises by 7 to 21 percent. The conversion rate tends to be higher the closer in time an informational message is sent to the donation message.
2. Collect Mobile numbers from an email
Ask for mobile numbers and permission to send texts in your emails (make sure you’ve included a field for mobile phone numbers in your online forms so email recipients can simply add the information). This is easily done when including a hyperlink for people to sign up for your mobile campaign!
3. Optimize your website for mobile
Optimize your website for mobile. By 2014, mobile Internet usage is predicted to overtake desktop Internet usage. That means more people will access the Internet on the go from the palms of their hands than while sitting at a computer terminal. If your website can be more easily seen and used from a mobile device, then you can use the immediacy of text messaging to drive donors to your website on the go.
4. Tie Texting to Social Media
Social media and text messaging is a two-way street. You can use social media to drive donors to give through their phones and use text to encourage donors to participate in your social media outreach.
Our 2013 mGive Text Donation Study found that more text donors than ever before are learning about text giving campaigns through social media. Social media is the second most common method donors hear about text donation campaigns (TV and radio is first), with a six-point increase among text donors from 2012 to 2013 saying that social media was how they learned about donating to their charity by text.
You can also easily link text messages back to Twitter and Facebook. Send texts to your supporters asking them to share your messages with their networks of friends and family online. With text message open rates so high it’s an easy way to drive awareness of and participation in your social media outreach for both you and your donors.
5. Pre-schedule a message for 2014
December 31, 2013 may be the end of your year-end development drive but your nonprofit mission doesn’t stop there. Plan to send a message in early 2014 to share your success, thank supporters and highlight powerful vignettes. These types of messages can generate additional revenue even without a specific donation request.
With end-of-the-year campaigns so important to the success of nonprofits, you can’t afford to ignore using the power of mobile to help you educate, involve and solicit donors. Make sure it’s a planned and integrated part of your campaign to maximize your results and return, by using these mobile suggestions in your end-of-year campaign plans.
Jenifer Snyder is Executive Director of The mGive Foundation. She brings years of leadership experience in the mobile industry to the position. Previously, Jenifer was a founder and General Counsel for 9 Squared, Inc., a mobile content and services company subsequently acquired by the Zed Group. She left Zed in 2007 and started building the mobile channel for social and charitable effort, later forming The mGive Foundation.