Five fundraising tools for mobile

Special guest blog post from Robert McAllen, Blackbaud Europe. Rob will be hosting a workshop on mobile giving at our upcoming Social Media for Social Good conference (26th April 2012). Conference tickets are now sold out but we’ll be releasing free tickets for #BeGoodBeSocial Glasgow (17th May 2012) this week.

There are many ways to fundraise via a mobile phone and more and more we are turning to a system that is easily accessible as well as gives far greater access to the donor.  Mobile phones are always carried, almost always on, personal, have a built in payment channel and are importantly, interactive.


I’d like to take a look at some basic tools that people are using to make their donations more accessible to this medium.


1. SMS Text
The SMS text area has become far more useful in the past few years.  The removal of VAT and charges from the Telco with the advent of the 70x codes has meant this is a far more accessible medium.  A donor can donate to a number and give an instant gift.  Despite the UK leading the way with these methods, it was actually within the US that this captured people’s attention.  The Haiti disaster in 2008 raised an astonishing $39 million by text giving alone and it is estimated that some 95% of those giving had not given before.  Here in the UK Comic Relief raised a staggering £15 million last year using text donations.  The system seems to work and most charities are taking their first tentative steps with this completely new medium.  Many are even looking at the next steps and examining the likes of totometers at gala events to encourage text giving.


2. Regular Giving
A recent addition to the SMS text system is the idea of giving a regular gift via this method.  The UK has been a huge user of regular gifts via standing orders and direct debits, and it’s something that people are now very familiar with as billions are being raised every year. It’s more interactive when people have the ability to skip a month if necessary and stop whenever they please and it’s also incredibly easy to set up.  Some organisations have now been authorised to take the full £10 mobile gift regularly from now on which is a big step by the regulators but a massive help to charities who want a cheap, easy way to fundraise and garner a regular income.


Last year the UK raised something in the region of £500 million using Friend asking friends methods such as Just Giving, Virgin Money giving and Everyday Hero.  Most of these(not all), rely on traditional credit card type giving which is great but perhaps not as good for the impulse type gift.  Having a keyword on the runners top is a great way for people to give when watching the person in the marathon, for example.  So a keyword which might be something like ‘Give Robert’ which is texted to 70004 makes it so easy to give, that spectators or passersby have the ability to help out too.  Couple that with a dashboard where we can monitor this type of gift and we have a strong way for people to fundraise.


4. QR codes
The QR code is something that has really taken off in the past few years.  These codes are most likely to be used by young males and get us to a demographic we might not have previously looked at.  However, we might be getting it wrong in how to use them.  We see OR codes all over the place, on billboards etc, but a recent Comscore piece of research stated that 57% of QR code scanning went on at home.  So is it better to put them onto direct mail pieces?  The same research stated that magazines/newspapers were the best format for this work.  Now if we can get direct gifts from QR codes or even regular gifts then we’d be really getting a lot out of the new functionality.  I have talked about these in my blog posting here.
5. Apps/mobile giving pages
The final area of my five is a little less focussed than the others.  There are all sorts of giving apps out there.  Some are generic such as Give on the Mobile whilst others are far more specific such as the excellent Brain Map App from the Alzheimer’s Society.  There is yet to be a killer app built around this area which has had mass market appeal but I am sure it is coming.
So many tools for this work and we haven’t even touched on mobile ready web pages etc but it’d be great to hear if anyone else has seen any other examples they would like to share.  Please let us know or bring them along on the day to the Social Media for Social Good event.
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