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Non-profits Should Look to Mobile Giving to Engage New Donors

Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

January 29, 2014

Non-profits Should Look to Mobile Giving to Engage New Donors

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By Karen Veazey
TMCnet Contributing Writer

I ran a non-profit for nearly 10 years and we passionately, lovingly pursued our mission. As the leader of that organization I quickly learned that a big part of that for me was passionately, lovingly pursing donations. Since I don’t come from the rich part of town I very purposefully looked for very good reasons to motivate people to give but I also learned that despite the best intentions, people forget. Even I forget, all the time, to write checks to the non-profits I want to support. And trust me, non-profits understand that we’re all overtaxed with life.


When it comes to regular giving, auto-drafts and e-giving have made things easier on both donors and non-profits. But every once in a while there’s an immediate need – an emergency, a humanitarian crisis – and the charity needs cash fast; for these times, there’s non-profit mobile commerce.

There are compelling reasons to consider mobile outreach: the Chronicle of Philanthropy shared that one-third of website traffic now comes from smartphones and an equal number of emails are opened on devices. This is a platform that capitalizes on that large number of people you can reach who will open your email and quickly respond with a small gift. It’s is a great way to engage a lot of donors at an entry level, which can be important to non-profits who are always looking for the next generation of donors. Much has been made about the retirement of the boomers and what the decline in their giving will mean to the non-profit sector. Bringing in a young donor in with a small mobile donation is a good way to introduce them to your cause and encourage them to learn more.

A mobile campaign requires a keyword and a shortcode which are predetermined by the company the non-profit partners with to manage text donations. There are literally thousands of these codes available for donations every day but most mobile users only see them when they’re flashed on a TV screen during a benefit concert or news update. To make a donation the mobile user sends the text code and the cell carrier charges a predetermined amount to their account, and then passes the money along to the non-profit. Normally it’s an act of goodwill on the carriers’ part to transfer the entire donation without taking a cut.

One of the early pioneers of mobile giving was the Mobile Giving Foundation (News - Alert) (MGF) and they continue to encourage mobile carriers to get involved by making the process simpler and more cost-effective. They’ve just announced a new partnership with mobile commerce, marketing and payment service Danal Inc. which will streamline operations using the BilltoMobile interface. Danal has typically worked in the consumer market, where transactions need to be processed quickly and with little distraction but the billing structure they provide, which charges directly to the users mobile account, is a natural fit for the non-profit sector.

The partnership is also a boost for Danal since the MGF was founded by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to empower non-profits and donors alike through mobile commerce. In a time when all donors are concerned that they money is used well, the BBB stamp of approval can mean a great deal.

Reports on charities and more information on the BBB’s involvement with non-profits can be viewed on its website. Before donating to any charity check it out on CharityNavigator.org, and to learn even more about mobile commerce in the non-profit sector and beyond, check out the 2014 Mobile Payments Conference, taking place this week at the Miami Beach Convention Center, collocated with ITEXPO (News - Alert).




Edited by Alisen Downey


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