Is Mobile Fundraising the Next Big Thing?

Margo Anderson- 05.11.2009

I recently made a $5 donation through my iPhone to the ASPCA which only took a matter of seconds to complete. The ease and simplicity of the transaction made me think to myself, “Is this the next step in fundraising?”

So I began to do a little research and realized there is more to mobile fundraising than I thought.

First off, here are some key statistics that position mobile fundraising as the next channel for people to give.

  • The first year in mobile giving outperformed the first year in online fundraising!
  • In June 2008, 84% of total U.S. population had a wireless subscription
  • In 2008, 72 billion text messages were sent
  • Text messages have a 95% read rate

Source: CTIA-The Wireless Association®


Here's a few tips for nonprofits who would like to start mobile fundraising:

  • Research companies that provide the mobile fundraising platform. Transaction rates can get expensive, so do your homework.
  • Every mobile phone number you collect is as valuable as an email address. Treat your texters with respect. Let them know how often they will be receiving messages from you and make sure the messages you send are relevant and concise, you only have 160 characters!
  • Mobile fundraising cannot stand alone. It is important to integrate mobile campaigns into your overall fundraising strategy. Mobile phone users carry their phones everywhere, so broadcast your message on billboards, landing pages, stickers, t-shirts, etc.
  • Provide incentives for individuals to provide their mobile phone number. The ASPCA sends weekly tips about pet poison prevention, health care, foods to avoid and fun pet facts to their mobile subscribers.


Case study:

In 2008 United Way leveraged their partnership with NFL, Blackbaud partner, Mobile Accord and their product mGive, and The Mobile Giving Foundation to promote their “Get Fit” Campaign. During the 2008 and 2009 Super Bowl a ten second commercial was aired to urge viewers to text the word “FIT” to “UNITED”. This tiny advertisement raised $10,000 and has been viewed approximately 26,000 times on YouTube.  Watch the ten second spot below.



Have any of you experimented with mobile fundraising? If yes, what did you think? Were you successful? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!

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