Getting set up with mobile giving

Part three of a three part series on mobile giving

Mobile giving and mobile donating are two ways technology is changing nonprofit fundraising and communication. Communicating and giving are now happening via text and mobile devices.

We asked Dave Asheim, CEO of Give by Cell for details about what a nonprofit needs to do to enter this mobile world. Here are the details. “Mobile giving (giving via a text message) takes about three to five weeks to set up. ‘Mobile donate’ involves setting up credit card processing and that takes about a week. Mobile giving costs $500 to set up, about $1,000 a year, and about 40 cents per transaction. Mobile donate costs are the about the same, but instead of a per donation fee there is a percentage fee paid for the technology. This allows organization of all sizes to participate – from local churches to the American Cancer Society.”

Regarding the all-important “thank you,” Asheim shared, “With mobile giving a thank you text automatically arrives on the donor’s phone. When people give using a mobile donate page, the thank you letters are generated in the same way as when people give using their laptop or desktop.”

From a traditional fundraising perspective there are a few things to consider in regards to data collection. “With mobile giving the only contact information the organization receives is the donor’s cell phone number. That can be a deal breaker for organizations who want more information. But you do have options: you can continue to communicate by text, or you can seek to drive people to a mobile donate page where you can collect more information. Because mobile donate uses credit cards you can collect the information you want via the mobile form. Everything collected is transmitted into the organization’s existing credit card processing system.

Asheim continued, “Your credit card processing system should already be set up to feed into your data management system. You can track which gifts have come through mobile donate by an “id” that is generated and fed into your data management system.”

A mobile donate program builds on your current online giving program. It integrates with your current credit card processing and data management systems. If you don’t yet have these in place, it may take more time, effort and resources to get set up with a mobile donate program. But you can start with mobile giving (giving by text) and then move to a mobile donate program.

Here’s Asheim’s bottom line, “Everyone needs a mobile strategy. Not having one is like saying, ‘I don’t have a web strategy.’” Here’s our bottom line: Your mobile strategy is an important part of a larger fundraising program. You still need a marketing and communications strategy that inspires people to give with their phone or device. There are no short cuts in fundraising.

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