Insights to Power Social Good

Mobile for Nonprofits in 2014: What We Learned in 2013 and What’s Hot in 2014 for Mobile

Posted by Elizabeth Same on Feb 6, 2014 1:40:08 PM


mobile-for-nonprofitsHappy New Year! 2013 was a great year for mobile engagement and 2014 offers even more opportunities for nonprofits to reach donors with text campaigns. Here’s our compilation of trends and tips for 2014 and our suggested list of 2014 Mobile New Year Resolutions you can put to use.

Most Important Mobile Trend for 2014:  Americans may have flocked to bigger screens to see their favorite movies on IMAX in 2013, but their choice for personal communication is moving increasingly towards smaller screens.  In short, goodbye desktop, hello mobile.  Okay, so desktop computers aren’t going away but the trend is clear – more Americans will browse the Internet using a mobile device in 2014 than ever before.  Nonprofits will need to embrace this trend by optimizing their websites for mobile and by seizing the opportunity to drive traffic through text communication.  If you want donors to follow a link to your website, your best bet in the New Year is to do it through mobile.

2014’s Match Made in Heaven:  Start getting your valentine’s ready: 2014’s sweetest love story will be mobile and social media.  When it comes to integrated donor engagement, social and text is a match made in heaven.  One of the clearest trends we saw in our 2013 mGive Text Donation Survey was that more donors are learning about text campaigns through Twitter and Facebook.  We saw this in action when a client doubled their text donations in 2013 from 2012 through a thorough integration of social media with their mobile campaign.  In 2014 the nonprofits who gain the most with text will be doing so largely because of heir integration of social media and mobile.  Tweet your mobile calls-to-action.  Use text to link to your Facebook page, website and YouTube videos – and feel the love. You can drive donors to and from social media posts and amplify your message across more newsfeeds.

Mobile is the New Face Time: The only way you could get a donor to focus more on your message delivered by mobile would be to get in front of their face.  Mobile has a 97 to 99 percent open rate.  And 85 percent of those messages are read within 15 minutes of being received.  In terms of getting your message seen and heard short of having one-on-ones with each donor, mobile is your best bet.

2013 Lesson Learned:  Mobile is not just for text donations anymore.  Our Text Donation survey showed that mobile donors are increasingly desirous of getting news from nonprofits through text.   Want more proof?  An animal-adoption client solicited touching stories about supporters and their pets by incorporating mobile. One client successfully signed up 1,100 people to receive informational text updates about a two-day public park event.  Another client used mobile to send information to volunteers and supporters during an annual racing event.  As an added benefit, we also know that sending informational texts can help boost conversion when it comes time to solicit.  The animal-adoption client saw conversion rates increase to 21 percent from 10 percent when they sent out four to seven information texts per month preceding a solicitation.   If you have something important to say, say it with mobile.

What Nonprofits Need to Get Right About Mobile in 2014:  The idea that mobile is only good for small $5 and $10 donations is pure derp.  There is more computing power in a modern mobile phone than in the computers NASA used in 1969 to send men to the Moon and – with the trend to use mobile for Internet access and social media participation – mobile is the gateway technology donors use to connect.  Nonprofits who want to benefit from this power have to integrate mobile into their core strategies and not just use it as an add-on.  Further, mobile strategy must be based on the same fundraising principles that apply to everything else nonprofits do:  research, identification, cultivation and solicitation.

Retention is the New Acquisition:  This is becoming a truism in nonprofit circles, and mobile can help you do both…clients who build a mobile engagement program tend to see 90 percent retention rates – and up to 80 percent of mobile donors are unique to an organization.   One of our clients even reactivated dormant supporters through mobile, after they had refused to respond in any other way.  Look for ways to recruit mobile donors through mobile (at events, for example, or through email sign-ups or with a cause marketing program).  Chances are you’ll find new supporters and they will stick with you.

Get By with a Little Help From Your Friends:  Enlist celebrities, athletes, local community leaders or other prominent supporters to help amplify your message to their networks, through social media.  Their call-to-action can be to send you a text, either to make a donation or to opt-in to your mobile community. However, always make sure you know your audience and you include a compelling reason to take action. A celebrity asking their network to give money without a genuine fundraising appeal will not see the participation you want. Know your audience and provide genuine, suggested social media posts to partners and advocates.

Based on these items, here are our suggestions for your 2014 mobile Mobile New Year’s resolutions. 

  1. I will maximize my website for mobile devices
  2. I will develop an integrated mobile strategy based on the principles of fundraising
  3. I will deploy mobile as a donor engagement and communication tool and not just a source for $5 and $10 donations
  4. I will integrate my social media outreach with mobile
  5. I will use mobile to share news and information
  6. I will find ways to use mobile to cultivate better relationships with donors
  7. I will go to the gym more and take a Yoga class (okay…that’s not about mobile, but this would still be good for you.  Don’t have time to go to the gym?  There’s an app for that…)
  8. I will look for ways to use mobile to learn more about donors through mobile-based survey research
  9. I will develop a mobile acquisition campaign
  10. I will build a third-party outreach program  using celebrities or well-known leaders or personalities, with a mobile and social media call-to-action component

There’s a lot of opportunity to build relationships and a better campaign with your donors through mobile.  Factor these trends into your programs and honor these resolutions and you can benefit from this opportunity in 2014.

Jenifer Snyder head shot (533x800) resized 600Jenifer Snyder, Executive Director of The mGive Foundation

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.

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