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Mobile Text Campaign Ideas for Your End-of-Year Fundraising Efforts

February 7th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Canada, Fundraising, Mobile Giving

Winter is rapidly approaching and you are probably busy finalizing your end-of-year giving plans.

Have you considered using mobile as a way to tie it all together?

The first thing many people think about when it comes to mobile is text donations.  Mobile can indeed be used to ask donors for contributions but limiting mobile to that narrow role is like using the Internet just for email.  The Internet has many uses – and so does mobile.

In fact, mobile is so versatile that the Pew Research Center called it the “Swiss Army Knife” of communication.

With all that versatile power available in the palms of your donors’ hands, how can you best harness its capabilities to help you have a stellar end-of-year campaign?


A key fact to remember is that text messages have a 97 percent open rate and 85 percent of texts are read within 15 minutes of receipt.  In fact, mobile phones are so important to their owners that 75 percent take them into the bathroom.  Talk about your captive audience!

The bottom line is that mobile is a powerful way to communicate with your supporters as you wrap up the year.   Use mobile broadly, to involve donors in your initiatives, ranging from education, social media participation and of course, giving.

Here are a few tips.

1.  Build Donation Campaign Awareness Through Text Messaging Before Soliciting

Don’t let your end-of-the-year campaign get lost in the fury and frenzy of the holidays.  The effectiveness of text messages in reaching and being read by their target audience makes it the most powerful attention-grabbing device you have in your tool chest.

But many text message efforts fail because nonprofits don’t use this power wisely.  Plan your communication carefully.  Use educational messages first, before making the solicitation.  Segment your mobile list by interest, level of involvement or giving history, and tailor your message and outreach accordingly.

It works.  When donors receive at least two non-solicitation text messages within a week of a solicitation text, donation conversion rises by 7 to 21 percent. The conversion rate tends to be higher the closer in time an informational message is sent to the donation message.

2.  Collect Mobile numbers from an email

Ask for mobile numbers and permission to send texts in your emails (make sure you’ve included a field for mobile phone numbers in your online forms so email recipients can simply add the information).  This is easily done when including a hyperlink for people to sign up for your mobile campaign!

3.  Optimize your website for mobile

Optimize your website for mobile.  By 2014, mobile Internet usage is predicted to overtake desktop Internet usage.  That means more people will access the Internet on the go from the palms of their hands than while sitting at a computer terminal.    If your website can be more easily seen and used from a mobile device, then you can use the immediacy of text messaging to drive donors to your website on the go.

4.  Tie Texting to Social Media

Social media and text messaging is a two-way street.  You can use social media to drive donors to give through their phones and use text to encourage donors to participate in your social media outreach.

Our 2013 mGive Text Donation Study found that more text donors than ever before are learning about text giving campaigns through social media.  Social media is the second most common method donors hear about text donation campaigns (TV and radio is first), with a six-point increase among text donors from 2012 to 2013 saying that social media was how they learned about donating to their charity by text.

You can also easily link text messages back to Twitter and Facebook.  Send texts to your supporters asking them to share your messages with their networks of friends and family online.  With text message open rates so high it’s an easy way to drive awareness of and participation in your social media outreach for both you and your donors.

5.  Pre-schedule a message for 2014

December 31, 2013 may be the end of your year-end development drive but your nonprofit mission doesn’t stop there.  Plan to send a message in early 2014 to share your success, thank supporters and highlight powerful vignettes.  These types of messages can generate additional revenue even without a specific donation request.

With end-of-the-year campaigns so important to the success of nonprofits, you can’t afford to ignore using the power of mobile to help you educate, involve and solicit donors.   Make sure it’s a planned and integrated part of your campaign to maximize your results and return, by using these mobile suggestions in your end-of-year campaign plans.

By  | October 30, 2013

Mobile giving, crowdfunding, and the “Next Generation of Canadian Giving”

February 5th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Canada, Crowdfunding, Fundraising, Mobile Giving

n a major study of more than 800 Canadian donors that hjc recently completed with BlackbaudEdge Research, and Sea Change Strategies, two big trends stood out: mobile fundraising and crowdfunding.

The increase in use of mobile devices means that mobile fundraising can no longer be ignored. And crowdfunding has emerged as a new form of the familiar “peer-to-peer” fundraising approach. How will these two trends help you reach each generation of Canadian donors?

First, let’s look at the generations studied. The Next Generation of Canadian Giving 2013, which builds on a similar study conducted in 2010, looks at the philanthropic habits of the following generations of Canadians:

  • Generation Y (or Gen Y, born 1981 – 1995)
  • Generation X (or Gen X, born 1965 – 1980)
  • Baby Boomers (or Boomers, born 1946 – 64)
  • Civics (born 1945 or earlier)

Some interesting data emerged around how the mobile technology and crowdfunding trends are shaping each generation’s’ interaction with charities and nonprofits.

Engaging through mobile technology

Since 2010, an overall 12% increase in donors who have a landline but choose to use their mobile phones has been fuelled by Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y in particular.

  • 20% of Boomer donors have a landline, but primarily use their mobile phones — a 10% increase since 2010.
  • The use of a mobile phone as a primary phone by Gen X has increased by 20% since 2010, to 39%.
  • 50% of Gen Ys are mobile-only users, while 38% of this generation have a landline but primarily use their mobile phones.

In terms of actually giving, we asked Canadian donors whether they would consider making a donation on their mobile device (smartphone or tablet) and through which channels: charity websites (on a smartphone), charity apps, or text-to-give. The results:

  • Charity websites were identified by the majority of donors as a potential donation channel, as close to 1 in 5 donors said they were willing to donate using a mobile device through a charity site.
  • 44% of Gen Y, 31% of Gen X, 13% of Boomers and 11% of Civics would consider making a donation through their tablet or smartphone on a charity website.
  • 24% of Gen Y, 18% of Gen X, 4% of Boomers and 3% of Civics would be interested in making a donation on a mobile device through a charity app.
  • 17% of Gen Y, 7% of Gen X, 2% of Boomers, and 2% of Civics would consider making a donation on their mobile phone through text-to-give.

Ready or not, the mobile trend is affecting your organization. Your charity website is being accessed through mobile devices, with donors ready to donate through your donation page. Be sure to optimize your website to make the mobile donation process intuitive and donor-centric. Give your donors a hassle-free mobile web and donation experience, and your donors will thank you – perhaps even with another gift.

Crowdfunding and generational giving

Crowdfunding involves a large number of people funding a program, project, or cause. Runs, relays and extreme challenges (such as climbing Mount Everest) have already motivated people to collect small sums of money from their peers for years. Crowdfunding uses the same dynamic of many small gifts, and has a great potential for growth in our sector.

The percentage of Canadians who have given through crowdfunding is similar to the US – 6% of Canadians compared with 9% of Americans. The breakdown by generation:

  • 14% of Gen Y have given through crowdfunding; 43% are likely to give in the future.
  • 7% of Gen X have given through crowdfunding; 24% are likely to give in the future.
  • 4% of Boomers have given through crowdfunding; 13% are likely to give in the future.
  • 4% of Civics have given through crowdfunding; 6% are likely to give in the future.

Donors have multiple options in crowdfunding platforms: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Kiva, Crowdrise, GiveEffect — and this list is growing fast. Charities are also developing their own Crowdfunding platforms, like the innovative HealNowwebsite from the Sunnybrook Foundation. Not all platforms are made alike: while some are uniquely designed for artists, others target consumers. Very few specialize in charities.

Kickstarter is by far the most popular site amongst donors, receiving 42% of Canadian crowdfunding gifts. Indiegogo rates second, with gifts from 25% of Canadian Boomers. Nearly 50% of Boomers’ crowdfunding gifts went to other crowdfunding sites such as Kiva (a micro-loan crowdfunding site).

Most platforms will require your donors to access a page beyond your own charity website, so be sure to consider whether sending your donors to an external page is right for your organization. Keep in mind that once a donor is out of your site, distractions could it difficult to return. Hosting a peer-to-peer page on your own site keeps donors in your site, giving you a greater advantage in continuing to leveraging your brand and increase peer-to-peer ROI.

Leveraging mobile and crowdfunding trends for your organization

From the mobile trend, we learn that donors are using their mobile devices to visit your website and to donate. Be sure to optimize your website for a donor-centric mobile-friendly experience to show your donors that you care about their preferences.

Crowdfunding as a fundraising appeal is not quite a new science, as peer-to-peer fundraising has been around for quite some time, but it’s clear that there is great potential in using this approach. Consider what will benefit your organization most – your appeal can be driven by the organization or can leverage the peer-to-peer model, asking participants to raise funds on your behalf.

Marry the two fundraising trends by making your peer-to-peer pages mobile-friendly to allow participants and their donors to maximize their access to your organization.

Find out more about mobile, crowdfunding, and the next generation of Canadian donors in the full report at:


publication date: Nov 5, 2013
author/source: Michael Johnston

Facebook Adds ‘Donate Now’ Button for Non-Profits

January 9th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Mobile Giving, Social Media

Facebook added a new donation feature on Monday that allows users to contribute cash to non-profits directly through the platform.

Facebook partnered with 18 different non-profits during the initial rollout of the feature, including the Boys & Girls Club of America, Livestrong Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund.

Users can donate using an embedded “Donate Now” button on each partnering non-profit’s Brand Page. The button allows users to donate in preset amounts of $10, $25, $100 or $250, using a credit card, debit card or PayPal.

The donate button on the Facebook page.


If a user comes across a non-profit’s post in his News Feed, he can donate using the same button embedded on the post. This button also gives donors the option to manually enter a preferred donation amount so they are not restricted to the preset amounts listed above.

For now, only the 18 partner non-profits can elicit donations on Facebook, but the company “hope[s] to open it up in the coming weeks” to other non-profit partners, according to a spokesperson. There is no plan to add partners that are not non-profits.

Facebook first tested this feature in November when users were able to donate to Red Cross via Facebook following the deadly Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the amount of money raised through the campaign, but in that instance, users were able to donate straight from a notification at the top of their News Feeds.

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 9.52.16 AM


Monday’s feature was rolled out on the Facebook’s web version to all users in the United States Monday. There is no set timetable for its available on mobile, but a Facebook spokesperson called mobile integration a “priority.”

By Kurt Wagner

December 16, 2013