The U.S. is mobile—literally. Mobile penetration in America is above 100 percent (CTIA). But even as people increase their number of mobile devices, many nonprofits are still hesitating about adding mobile as a staple to their organization’s initiatives. The hesitancy comes from misconceptions such as what information can be collected from SMS based campaigns, how data correlates to existing databases and the general feel that mobile can be a lot of work with little return.
The fact is, mobile is no longer just an exciting new addition to fundraising or engagement, but a tool that supporters expect you to have. And the data around mobile proves it is a worthwhile venture for many nonprofits – beyond times of disaster. An organization focused on statistics and analytics will likely tell you that more than 20% of their web traffic comes from a mobile device. And a nonprofit using mobile tactics will tell you those users are generally more engaged online, through SMS, and donate via text as well as in other ways.
1.) Every potential donor in the U.S. has a mobile device within arm’s reach at this very moment.
Many nonprofits falsely view their email database as the most accurate address to use. Take a look at your database. How many emails do you have per supporters? How many of those emails are dead ends? Today, people average about three email addresses compared to one mobile number.
According to the 2012 eNonprofit Benchmarks study, email lists have a churn rate of 19 percent and open rates of 14 percent compared to text message open rates soaring at 97 percent. Mobile phone numbers often stay with a person five years or more, which indicates that mobile is becoming a better unique identifier in your CRM database than email addresses.
How many of you have left emails unread compared to how many text messages you have left unread? The answer is probably “a lot” – and an organization reviewing database reports would not be the least bit surprised. Text can be used as a point of contact with supporters, as well as drive them to open emails for more comprehensive information. So the next time you want to reach a supporter, do you do it only through email? Or do you consider the fact that mobile is truly at their fingertips – and what that could mean for all of your communication activities?
2.) Engage your next live audience through mobile – and then add the info to your database.
Asking people to fill out a form or take an online poll still works in the traditional sense, but what if you could capture the information via mobile? And even better, what if you could collect the data shared in the heat of the moment vs. only when someone is online? And then use that data to drive awareness, giving and more when you combine it with information you already have about your supporters?
Organizations can use mobile to conduct polls, receive live feedback at events, track open rates of text campaigns, generate ROI for social media through giving apps and social sharing options, plus so much more. In addition, nonprofits can gain a broader and deeper understanding of their supporters when combining mobile behaviors with more traditional information probably already housed in your CRM system.
3.) Mobile is a pivot point for influencing supporter behavior.
The mobile device is a hub of activity for many people in the U.S. If your supporters own a mobile phone, they likely have a smartphone or will soon. And most probably use it for text, to visit websites, to post to social media sites, to email, to share photos and videos – and occasionally actually take or make a phone call.
If you could determine what supporters are doing, how they are doing it, when they are doing it and then ask for them to take an action through mobile, you may be surprised at the results. So collect what you can, when you can about mobile behavior to run more robust reports and drive additional engagement.
4.) It’s easy to determine how a donor feels about your organization.
Mobile engagement creates a more personal relationship between you and your donor, but it’s a relationship that you can measure. When your organization sends out a mobile call to action, the feedback you receive is more immediate and complete, allowing you to tailor your fundraising strategy for better results. By measuring opt-ins, click through to links, donations, and even opt-out numbers, you can more closely monitor the temperature of your donor pool, to create tactics that resonate.
Capitalizing on this mobile revolution is not just about increasing mobile databases or building more robust donor profiles, it’s about better ways to change the world. It has never been easier for donors to help those in need with just a few clicks on their cell phone. Mobile allows everyone to become an everyday philanthropist and for your organization to benefit from the results.
Not sure where to get started with a mobile strategy? First, start by changing every form (online and offline) to capture a mobile number. Chances are, that’s the information you are collecting anyway but you may not have it labeled correctly in your system. If your data is only as good as what you put into your database, you want to make sure you are putting it in correctly!
Once you start collected mobile data, start reviewing the profiles of donors and supporters with mobile numbers flagged in your system. You may be surprised at the trends around age ranges, giving rates, volunteer hours and more. That valuable information will guide you down the path of an effective mobile strategy for your organization.
Cassie Bair is the VP of Marketing at Mobile Accord. Cassie has worked with many U.S. nonprofits leading marketing, strategic partnership, mobile and cause marketing initiatives. mGive, a Mobile Accord service, educates, engages and empowers nonprofits and their stakeholders through our groundbreaking utilization of SMS (text message) technology. Contact Cassie on Twitter (@Bairings) or by texting CASSIE to 50555. Message and Data rates may apply.
Jenifer Snyder is the Executive Director of The mGive Foundation. The mGive Foundation furthers the mobile channel for social good through education and policy initiatives while supporting mGive clients engaged in mobile campaigns. Text JEN to 50555 for Jenifer’s mCard. Message and Data rates may apply.