I rolled over in bed and grabbed my phone. Sliding my thumb over the screen to silence my morning alarm, I reached up and rubbed my eyes. I sleepily scanned the notifications on my locked screen. I noticed the date. Good news, I thought. It’s payday!
Then, immediately I moved to something that has become a ritual: I always text a certain percentage of my paycheck to a mobile short code that automatically charges my account and donates it to a local nonprofit organization. I smiled when I received a confirmation text, thanking me for my donation.
I’m not the only one who likes to give.
- 72% of all US charitable giving comes from individuals.
- 95% of households give more than $3,000 annually.
- 20% of giving occurs in December.
Online giving matters a lot.
- 75% of donors spend fewer than 2 hours researching the organization they give to.
- While overall giving increased 4.9% year over year, online giving increased 13.5% in the same time period.
If you haven’t researched your online fundraising strategy, you might be losing 50–70% of your fundraising potential. Similarly, if you aren’t targeting your audience correctly, you are probably alienating potential constituents for your organization.
It’s not just the cool kids who are texting to give.
The American Red Cross crushed the walls of distrust attached to mobile giving a whopping 10 years ago with their first SMS campaign to raise money after Hurricane Katrina. Today, SMS campaigns, as well as fundraising apps like One Today by Google, have become quite popular.
Earlier this year, MAF Norway recruited donors for helicopters in Nepal. They found out that the cost to benefit the ratio of fundraising through SMS was easy, quick, and affordable. Over the course of two days, they sent out 2,500 SMS messages each day. In Norway, they charged a set amount to receive a text message so every time someone responded with a certain code word, that amount was charged to their account. An SMS-autoreply then immediately sent a thank-you and receipt. All of this was done in a completely automated manner through their CRM software CiviCRM, leaving them to focus their manual efforts on attracting new donors to their campaign. In just two days, they raised approximately €30,000 ($33,836.40) in donations. Now that is impressive!
According to a recent study by mGive, donor respondents gave text(SMS)-giving high ratings:
- Test donor respondents chose text-giving as their most preferred method of making a donation.
- A plurality of 45 percent of donor respondents reported using their mobile phones to make a donation through a charity’s website. This suggests an opportunity to use texts to drive donations online, and the need for a mobile optimized website—especially the donation page.
- Text donors gave more money. Looking at overall donations made by text donors in 2013, the percent of donors who gave more than $250 rose to 46% from 42%.
I found so many cool statistics. Check them out:
- 99% of texts are viewed, 83% within 15 minutes. It’s safe to say that the response and action rates from sending text messages are extremely good.
- 70% of people have voted that they would like to receive text messages from causes that they care about!
- More than 60% of nonprofits have never launched an SMS campaign.
Another case study by GreenPeace highlights the results of two campaigns where they compared the use of SMS, Facebook, and email to reach their audience.
SMS vs. Facebook
A video campaign was posted to Facebook and shared through SMS. The video was watched by only 1.1% of the organization’s audience on Facebook, compared to 6% of SMS recipients who opened the video and watched it. That’s more than a 500% increase in response between SMS versus Facebook.
SMS vs. Email
They also compared results of the emails they sent out versus text messages people received in a campaign with a different call to action. People took action after receiving texts 5X more often than action taken after opening an email.
You’ve still got mail.
It’s been over 17 years since Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan got to know each other through AOL. (Never mind that I suddenly feel old for referencing one of my favorite flicks!) Unlike many other digital forms of communication, email is still around and it’s been revolutionized to become a beautiful, mobile responsive experience with email campaign tools like MailChimp.
Email is still important.
- 1 in 6 donors who give from email are on a mobile device. And when the nonprofit’s site is responsive, mobile donations from email click-throughs went up to 18.5%. /npENGAGE
- Over 80% of people will delete an email if it doesn’t look good on a mobile device. /Litmus
- 91% of consumers check their email at least once per day on their smartphone, making it the most used functionality. /ExactTarget Mobile Behavior Report
- 75% of Gmail users access their accounts on mobile devices. Gmail now has 900 million users. /Google Report
A responsive approach makes all the difference.
Today the number of people accessing the web on mobile devices has surpassed the number of people using desktops.
Mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop at 42%. /eMarketer
It’s crucial to make sure both your email and your website are mobile responsive. When people touch a call-to-action button in an email or an SMS campaign to give to your cause, are they led to a clean, responsive donation page?
Here are a few more interesting facts:
- 84% of online giving pages were NOT optimized for mobile in 2014. <Insert facepalm.>
- Mobile responsive design doubles giving on mobile devices. /Donor Drive
- 70% of mobile searches led to action on websites within one hour. That’s assuming that the website is mobile-friendly, otherwise 40% will choose another result. /TechCrunch Report
- Among 343 nonprofits studied, an average of 9.5 percent of donations came via mobile devices. For the top one-fourth of nonprofits with the highest mobile-to-desktop giving ratio, that average climbed to 17.8 percent. That’s more than 1 in 6 donors on mobile./npENGAGE
“If you’ve created an urgency for your donors to act, don’t let a conversion slip away because your website is not optimized for mobile.” /npENGAGE
47% of donors give up because the online journey is too cumbersome and complicated.
Stop giving away your people.
How are so many nonprofit organizations missing the mark in their online fundraising efforts? One of the biggest missed opportunities in online fundraising is not keeping your audience on your website where they can continue to be engaged.
So, what’s the cost when donors are pushed to third-party donation pages powered by PayPal or other online giving tools such as ColoradoGives.org? You might be surprised by this statistic:
- According to npENGAGE 70% of website visitors abandon a third-party, non-branded donation page. /npENGAGE
A case study on RunningAhead.com compared the bounce rate of their off-site, nonbranded donation page to their new onsite branded donation page with content for re-engaging visitors in their mission. The offsite, nonbranded page saw a bounce rate of over 40% while their designed and branded donation page saw a bounce rate of less than 1%. That’s right, you read that correctly.
Keeping your clients on a donation page that is part of your website allows you to re-engage them after you’ve brought them there through an email or SMS call-to-action.
We’d love to hear from you.
What’s your fundraising plan? If you’ve implemented an SMS campaign, we’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below!