Mobile fundraising has the potential to bring you and your donors closer than ever before. After all, your donors carry their mobile devices with them wherever they go. Mobile campaigns should bring a flood of fully engaged donors directly to your door, right?
With modern mobile giving technology, it’s easy to text in a donation or fill out a mobile donation form. What takes effort is staying involved with a nonprofit after the initial donation. So how can your nonprofit encourage mobile donors to get even more engaged in supporting your mission?
By approaching mobile fundraising as an exercise in donor retention, your nonprofit can turn mobile donors into some of your most loyal supporters.
Not sure how to focus on retention for your mobile-based constituents? Try these 5 techniques to build stronger relationships with your mobile donors:
- Attract mobile donors.
- Get to know your mobile donors.
- Engage mobile donors off mobile.
- Get engaged on social media.
- Track the right metrics.
Whether you’re a mobile giving veteran or a novice ready to try this new fundraising channel for the first time, these strategies will help you intensify your mobile donors’ interest in your organization’s mission.
Ready to reinforce your network of mobile donors? Keep reading!
1. Attract mobile donors.
Before you can retain your mobile donors, you need donors to retain!
Attracting mobile donors takes a different strategy than engaging other types of donors. Consider the following:
Mobile donors prioritize security.
While there is always some kind of risk involved in sending a donation of any kind (even checks sent through the mail can be stolen!), you can take steps to ensure that the giving platforms you implement are safe for your donors.
Your donors are looking for this assurance particularly when it comes to purely electronic forms of giving such as mobile giving.
To encourage your donors to participate in mobile giving campaigns, you need extra emphasis on why your systems, not just your fundraising practices, are worth your donors’ trust.
As such, focus on how the mobile donation platform you choose secures your donors’ information. Don’t hesitate to request additional information from the vendor if you need it to make an informed decision. Your donors’ trust is worth a little longer on the phone with a representative or another organization who uses the software.
It’s not enough to just choose secure software, though. You also have to let your donors know what steps you’re taking to ensure their privacy. Try investing in an SSL certificate and including a “Security” or “Privacy” page on your website.
Not all fundraising campaigns are mobile campaigns.
Not every fundraising campaign makes sense for a mobile platform. A surefire way to derail a mobile fundraising campaign and disengage your mobile donors is to launch a campaign, market it, and reach an unsatisfying conclusion because the donors you thought would be interested really aren’t.
In contrast, a prudently selected mobile fundraising campaign is chosen for mobile primarily because of the donors who will be supporting it.
Think of the segments of your donor database that are most likely to respond to a mobile campaign. One example? Young people.
Once you’ve got your segment in mind, think about the actual campaigns you’ll support with mobile fundraising. Typically, fundraisers for a one-time project with a defined beginning and ending work well as mobile campaigns.
For example, any of these school fundraising ideas from @Pay pair well with a text-to-give campaign because they target young donors and support one-time projects.
As tempting as it may be to only focus on millennials for mobile giving campaigns, don’t dismiss other segments of your donor database. Do you own research to find the best target demographic for your organization before undertaking a campaign.
Events engage mobile donors.
One of the most engaging fundraising strategies out there is an in-person fundraising event. No matter how well-designed your website or donation form is, there’s nothing like the energy of a room full of people supporting a charitable cause they’re passionate about.
Luckily, there are ways to engage your mobile donors in your fundraising events through your use of mobile giving technology. Consider:
- Encourage onsite donations on mobile with a fundraising website or app.
- Demonstrate your tool in action during an event’s live appeal.
- Implement mobile bidding software for charity auctions.
- Enable online bidding and donating so donors who couldn’t make it can still participate.
- Print QR codes linking to your donation form on tickets and programs.
- Display a live fundraising thermometer that broadcasts text donations in real-time.
- Send post-event surveys over email, text, and social media channels.
- Follow up about pledged gifts over email or text.
Inviting mobile donors to a fundraising event is a great way to show them what other kinds of support look like. If you put your best foot forward, your mobile donors will want to come back again!
2. Get to know your mobile donors.
Once your mobile donors trust that you’re a reliable steward of their money and passion, your relationship with them relies on a clean donor database.
On the surface level, without the correct contact information, you have no way to contact your mobile donors. This matters more with mobile donor engagement than with volunteer engagement, which typically includes some in-person elements. With mobile donors, proper contact information is your primary (often only) connection.
It’s not just contact information that contributes to strong mobile donor relationships. The other fields in your database are vital for planning and outreach. Imagine how hard it would be to determine if mobile donors would be interested in your next campaign without this information:
- Past giving to your nonprofit and others.
- Hobbies and interests.
- Educational background.
- Membership in community organizations.
Your database should also serve as a record of your past engagement and communications with your constituents. To keep your mobile donors interested in your campaigns, you need to stay in consistent contact with them — and your communications can’t be effective if you don’t know when you last reached out to them with an email or a text, or what the content of the last message was.
Once you’re confident that your donor database is clean, it’s time to make use of it! Consider segmenting your donor database by:
- New and repeat donors
- Age, gender, and marital status
- Location (e.g., city, state, country)
All of these segments will come in handy when you decide when to send mobile communications to your mobile donors.
When asking for a donation or sending surveys, you need to time your messages for when they will be seen. These data points will help you identify the optimal time for these messages! For example, reach out to professionals via email during their lunch breaks or after work, and avoid texting parents of young children in the evenings.
3. Engage mobile donors off mobile.
Just because your mobile donors made their first gifts over their mobile devices doesn’t mean you should silo them as just mobile donors!
Mobile donations are often a gateway to other types of engagement, such as participation in crowdfunding or advocacy campaigns.
Encouraging mobile donors to expand their involvement with your nonprofit takes time, thought, and action on your part. Try the following tried-and-true methods:
- Host a tour. Invite your mobile donors to a tour of your location to meet stakeholders and get a better sense of your mission and how you support it.
- Go direct. Add mobile donors to your direct mailing list. Flyers, newsletters, and postcards sent through the mail are harder to forget about than texts.
- Recognize achievements. Create a special section on your donor recognition wall for other forms of giving, encouraging mobile donors to engage beyond mobile.
You might be surprised how open your mobile donors are to other forms of giving!
4. Get engaged on social media.
Though many people conflate text-to-give with mobile giving, the first is actually a subset of the second. Mobile fundraising encompasses giving through text messaging, mobile email, mobile-optimized donation pages, giving apps, and social media.
Social media can be difficult to incorporate well into a strong retention strategy. There’s nothing wrong with using post scheduling software, but templated posts and preset schedules tend to disengage nonprofits from their profiles.
To turn your social media presence from a one-way street into a two-way engagement, try these tried-and-true techniques:
- Share relevant content. If your only posts are self-promotional or connected to specific fundraising campaigns, no one will want to follow your accounts. Mix in educational content about your cause that you know your donors will be interested in.
- Launch an event page. You don’t have to host a physical event to create an event page on Facebook or other events planning platforms. Launch an event page for your mobile fundraising campaign for your donors to RSVP to, share pictures and updates on, and invite their friends to.
- Choose a hashtag. An easy way to curate updates, pictures, and feedback about your mobile campaign is to choose a hashtag for donors to tag their posts across different social media platforms. You should use the hashtag to share official updates about fundraising milestones met, and your donors can share their feedback.
- Respond. The simplest strategy of all — don’t let your followers think you don’t value their opinions! Take the time to follow back the supporters who are the most active on social media, and like or share a few posts about your campaigns.
Keep in mind that these social media strategies require more time to implement than scheduling updates about mobile fundraising campaigns. Be sure to set aside enough time to implement these strategies properly, and designate a point person on your staff to head up the effort.
5. Track the right metrics.
As with any fundraising strategy, mobile fundraising pays off when it’s undertaken with a plan that extends past “gather donations and celebrate” to “plan for next time.”
Once your latest mobile fundraising push comes to an end, it’s time to analyze the data you gathered throughout the campaign. The following data points will come in handy later as you plan future campaigns that will engage your mobile donors:
- Timing: What times of day did you receive the most mobile donations? Did that change across segments of your database (e.g., by age or employment status)?
- Gift size: How did your average gift size compare to other fundraising campaigns?
- New donors: How many new donors did this campaign draw? How did they hear about your nonprofit?
- Devices: What devices do your mobile donors use to access your donation buttons and forms?
The right mobile giving software will collect much, if not all, of this information automatically, so you shouldn’t have too many gaps to fill in manually.
Gathering this information is only worthwhile if you actually do something with it. Make sure you either implement a sophisticated software solution that can generate easy-to-read reports or bring on a team member or consultant who can help you make sense of the mountain of data that results from a mobile giving campaign.
If you’re starting out with mobile giving, check out @Pay’s guide to free fundraising software providers to find the solution for you.
Smart nonprofits don’t just set up mobile giving campaigns and never interact with their mobile donors again. Instead, the most successful mobile campaigns are those that strengthen the relationships between nonprofits and their mobile donors. With these strategies, you can do just that!