It’s small, it’s fast, it’s powerful, it fits in the palm of your hand and you can take it anywhere.Need a hint? Check your pocket or your purse. It’s your mobile device. Mobile devices can be used for chatting, playing, banking, shopping, working… and donating. And, with over 25.5 million mobile phone subscribers in Canada, you can’t afford to ignore this preferred method of communication.If you aren’t convinced of the mobile device’s power yet, there’s more. As an increasing number of Canadians upgrade to smartphones, they’ll be surfing the web on the go significantly more – not just while chained to their personal computers. This shift in browsing behaviour is impacting how Canadians shop, donate and pay their bills. A TNS study revealed that while 11% of Canadians currently use their mobile devices to make payments or do banking, a whopping 41% want to. Mobile giving is up, too. Mobile Giving Foundation Canada (MGF-C) has noted that while 6% of Canadians who are aware of mobile giving have made mobile donations via text messages, 12% of survey respondents expressed interest in subscribing to a monthly giving plan through their mobile devices.

While you may feel mobile communication is like the speed-dating version of solicitation, remember that donors are looking for ways to connect with your cause on an individual and convenient level. Here are some ideas to nurture your mobile giving strategy:

Mobile marketing for cultivation
Mobile marketing may seem counterintuitive to building relationships, but much success has been made in nurturing and building relationships through this technology.

  • Seeing is believing. Develop your electronic communication to be read on mobile devices as well as personal computers. You can’t build a relationship through this medium if it isn’t accessible in the first place.
  • Take it to the next level. Encourage mobile participation by offering a free gift, such as a colour-banded plastic coffee cup or tote bag, for any new constituent who signs up for your e-newsletter or participates in an interest poll. Imprint these items with your mission to help build that personal relationship.

Mobile marketing for donations
If you are promoting a campaign or appeal, consider implementing “text-to-give,” direct links, and QR (quick response) codes.

  • Quick and easy. In just a matter of days, a nonprofit can initiate a text-to-give campaign using SMS (short message service) whereby mobile users can text a short string of words to donate to a charity, but be billed by their mobile wireless provider.The cost for this type of service can vary, sometimes including a set-up fee or a percentage of donations. Organizations like MGF-C make it easy for Canadian nonprofits to activate their mobile giving channel. The ease of a program like this can yield results quickly, such as it did following the Haiti earthquake when MGF-C helped Canadian charities raise approximately $400,000 towards relief efforts via SMS donations.
  • Time-consuming, but good data retrieval. Direct links sent via social media or SMS can be clicked, copied and pasted into Internet browsers and directed to the donation page of your organization’s website. This method allows you to ask for and retrieve long-term valuable data about your donor, but it requires more time and effort on the part of your development department.
  • Long-lasting results on the go. QR codes can carry the most long-term value because they can be shared over and over again, either in print or electronic media. QR codes can be scanned by an “app,” or application, that has been downloaded onto a mobile device. The QR artwork resembles a matrix barcode, can hold large amounts of digital information, and it can be placed on nearly anything, such as a Fold-up Blanket Bag, magnets or a Gusseted Attache. Once it is scanned with a smartphone device, it requires little effort to direct the potential donor to the appropriate place on the Internet where they can learn more about an organization, read testimonials or make a donation.

Putting the two stages of initial interest and donating together, the variety of methods for successful cultivation are exciting. Work with your marketing, development, finance and IT teams to implement an effective mobile donations strategy that will take you through all five stages of cultivation, right from the palm of your hand. And, if you would like to learn more, read our Blue Paper® on the subject!

Oliveira, Michael. “Canadians turning away from computer web use as mobile browsing takes off.” Winnipeg Free Press. 8 Dec. 2011. <

“Cellphone-wielding customers are changing the selling game.” CBC News. 6 Oct. 2011.

“A Study of E-Commerce in Canada.” Mobile Giving Foundation Canada. 8 Nov. 2011.

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