People nowadays are much too busy to notice your donation jar next to the register or your paper flier posted to the bulletin board. Most won’t even spare a minute to look at your email newsletter — that is, if it doesn’t already immediately filter into their spam folders. Your potential donors are always moving, always searching for the latest, greatest, fastest way to get things done, which means to attract their attention, you have to get going, too.
Whether or not you keep up your traditional fundraising strategies, it is imperative that you adapt to the never-stopping, digital world with mobile fundraising strategies. Fortunately, as technology advances, nonprofits gain major advantages in reaching their audiences no matter where they are.
For most nonprofits, fundraising events generate a significant chunk of their annual change. Dinners, auctions, carnivals, parties and more allow charities to gather their donors together and inspire them to give in support of their favorite causes, but with the slow and steady death of cash, fundraising events could become less profitable than they were in the past. Thus, nonprofits must begin adapting to the paperless future now with methods to accept mobile payments.
At the bare minimum, fundraising events should be equipped with mobile-ready card readers, like Square, PayAnywhere or PayPal Here. Most of your donors will be more comfortable using their cards to make donations and with direct access to their bank accounts, they will be willing and able to give more than the cash and coins in their pockets.
Eventually, as the technology improves, your donors will be able to use Wi-Fi or Near Field Technology to connect directly to your coffers and give sums to your cause from their phones, but for now, portable payment is less trustworthy than plastic.
Americans are text-crazy. One report says we use text messages five times more frequently than phone calls, and that number is steadily rising: While more than a third of the American population prefers sending texts to making calls, but well over a half of teens rely entirely on text-based communication. Some academics bemoan this shift away from face-to-face interaction — but many nonprofit organizations see the new opportunities for fundraising.
Text-to-donate campaigns have existed for several years and they reached their peak popularity in 2010 when the earthquake devastated Haiti and surrounding communities. With a single text donation evet, the American Red Cross was able to raise more than $7 million to benefit its cause. Your nonprofit could run a similarly impactful campaign with smart strategies centered on smartphones’ SMS capabilities and the public’s texting proclivities.
New trends in text donations employ QR codes, which are information-dense barcodes, to help potential donors access information and make donation amounts more flexible. Plus, QR codes usually bypass third parties which can skim percentages from your donations. Text-to-donate campaigns are progressing with technology, giving nonprofits more power to collect from mobile users.
Of course, phones that only text and make calls aren’t particularly smart; these days, developing and distributing apps can much more lucrative. For nonprofits, dedicated apps provide not only another method of accessing donor funds, but they also tend to help organizations grow their reach and acquire new donors and provide extra features, like games and information, to their base audience.
Fortunately, if you lack the resources to build your own app, you can take advantage of the giving apps other savvy developers already have on the market. In fact, only a handful of charities have worked to create distinct apps for their sole use. Much more common are mobile fundraising apps that allow charities to make individual profiles. With combined marketing efforts of the app and hundreds of charitable organizations, donors are more likely to download and give to such shared applications. Some of the most popular examples include:
- Boundless Fundraising. This social and mobile app by Charity Dynamics allows your peer-to-peer event participants to make their donation ask easier, more social and more effective.
- Just Give. This app is a straightforward way to accept traditional donations from donors.
- Instead. This app receives micro-donations from donors who elect to give “instead” of making minor everyday purchases.
- Budge. This app encourages friendly competition between family and friends, with the stakes as donations to particular causes.
- Check-in for Good. This app allows partnership between for-profits and nonprofits, with the result of businesses donating money whenever patrons check in.
- One Today. This app helps donors set up automatic $1 donations to important causes.