Close this window
The next frontier in nonprofit fundraising is reaching prospective donors on their mobile devices. Most nonprofits aren't doing it yet, but mobile is where our donor audience has largely migrated. The good news is that a charity only needs two things to start doing mobile fundraising — mobile-responsive emails and a mobile-friendly donation page.
Ninety-one percent of American adults now own a smartphone, and they really like to use them. I've heard that we check our phones an average of 150 times a day. More than half of us who visit a nonprofit's website now do it on a mobile device, and more than half of all our emails are opened on smartphones.
The problem is that lots of charities are not yet engaging donors via donors' mobile devices. Online Marketing Scorecard estimates that 84 percent of charity landing pages are not optimized for mobile. And only 9.5 percent of donations come from mobile devices as yet.
For fundraising, email has the highest return on investment of any marketing channel.
Social media does work really well on smartphones and tablets. If you're reaching your supporters with Twitter, Facebook, or any of the other social media platforms, said supporters are able to engage with you easily on their mobile devices. But email is still the killer app for fundraising.
The most effective two things we can do as charities are
Don't worry; it's actually not very hard.
Crafting emails that are readable on a small screen can be quite complex. However, if you're a small charity or library and not sending thousands of fundraising emails, they can actually be pretty easy to do.
TechSoup's digital marketing manager, Nick Fynn, recommends the following.
I also like the Copyblogger's Essential Tips for Creating Mobile-Friendly Emails, which include the following:
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms. The company has a Forever Free Plan that may be useful for small charities. With this no-cost plan, you can send 12,000 emails a month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers.
All of MailChimp's email templates are optimized for mobile. There is no expertise or custom coding required to use them.
If your organization sends out lots of fundraising emails to a larger audience, TechSoup has a discounted email marketing offer from Informz. This service has mobile-responsive email templates and a drag-and-drop email designer so nontechnical people can use it. The service also provides metrics on the effectiveness of campaigns.
Check out Informz
Although it is ideal to have a website that's entirely viewable on a small screen, the most important thing is to have a mobile-friendly donate page to send donors. It doesn't even have to be on your website.
There are a daunting number of choices for getting a donate button on your website. All of them cost something; prices vary quite a bit.
The most common method used by small charities is to add a PayPal donation button to their website. The PayPal processing fee is a very reasonable 2.2 percent of the donation, plus $0.30 per donation. See Wired Impact's simple how-to for adding a PayPal donation button. I also recommend QGive's simple How to Design a Mobile Donation Page.
TechSoup offers two donation and discount programs to help eligible organizations build mobile websites.
TechSoup's Connect2give discount program allows you to
The Guide by Cell program allows you to create and manage a mobile website via Guide by Cell's drag-and-drop website builder. This means even without HTML coding skills or funding for a site redesign, your organization can still build and launch a mobile website. Learn all about the Guide by Cell program and its donated annual subscription to a mobile website service.
Get Guide by Cell mobile website
One solution to getting a mobile-friendly donation page is to add a donation button on your organization's Facebook page. Have a look at the Nonprofit Tech for Good directions on how to set one up.
If your charity has a GuideStar listing, you may well have a donation page on the Network for Good DonateNow Light service that you can link to. The service lists more than 1 million U.S. charities. The DonateNow service has a 5 percent transaction fee per donation. The donor can elect to cover this cost. These pages show up on mobile devices tolerably well.
The newest free donation page service is from GuideStar itself. It offers all U.S. charities a donation page that shows up especially well on mobile devices. Find directions on how to set one up for your organization at the How to Collect Donations through GuideStar page.
GuideStar doesn't take any portion of donations, but its transaction service, Kimbia, gets $0.99 per donation and The K Foundation receives 3.99 percent of every transaction. Having services fees like these is typical of donation processing services.
Image: lzf / Shutterstock
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.