Ask any child what’s at the end of the rainbow and they’ll quickly say “a pot of gold,” stashed there by a tricky leprechaun. As St. Patrick’s Day nears, as with all things Irish, imaginations turn to hidden treasures. But, when it comes to finding the hidden prize in mobile outreach, you don’t need the luck of the Irish and a rainbow doesn’t point the way. What you need instead is a little know-how so mobile technology can help you reach out and build better relationships with your donors and supporters.
Take, for instance, the successful integration of mobile outreach used by Mile High United Way in Denver as part of its 39th annual Turkey Trot race last Thanksgiving which attracted nearly 10,000 people. The Turkey Trot was highly successful, and not because of luck. Success came because Mile High United Way strategically used mobile outreach to connect with its volunteers, supporters, and also with people who were just attending, but weren’t registered with United Way previously. Mile High United Way used mobile to increase human interaction during the event and build a more lasting relationship with supporters long after it was over.
Robert Thompson, director of media relations at Mile High United Way expressed excitement at the pot of gold found through mobile. “Our mobile campaign gives us a stronger base audience with which to communicate about the Mile High United Way,” he said.
The organization sent targeted, relevant messages before, during and after the event. Logistical changes about the race, even a quiz game about turkeys, were all part of the engagement—allowing Mile High United Way to build meaningful connections with attendees who opted into their mobile community for valuable information.
Most importantly, mobile opened a new avenue for volunteer interactions for Mile High United Way. Using text messages immediately before and during the event kept volunteers up to date and plugged into any last minute changes. After the race they kept volunteers (and participants) informed on the difference they made in the community and aware of future ways to get involved.
Looking at the results from their initial foray into mobile, it’s clear that Mile High United Way found the prize at the end of the rainbow.
Over 88 percent of all Turkey Trot participants who opted into the Mile High mobile community are still receiving general mobile communication from Mile High.
Mile High didn’t have a mobile community prior to last year’s Turkey Trot. Now they have a new dimension in their promotional mix.
Mile High United Way continues sending one to two messages per month to their mobile community. Four months after Turkey Trot, only 12% of their mobile community has opted out.
On average, email has a 15 percent open rate, versus a 97 percent for SMS messages. Meaning Mile High UW’s mobile community is 6 ½ times more powerful than their email list.
Thompson is enthusiastic about mobile’s role in Mile High United Way’s member communications going forward. “Now we have a healthy audience of opt-ins, so we’re talking to them regularly—mostly storytelling about our impact, links to videos, and volunteer opportunities. Later, we’ll ask for donations.”
The Turkey Trot didn’t take place on St. Patrick’s Day, but which holiday isn’t important. On any holiday, or any day of the year, mobile offers a pot of gold to savvy nonprofits.