Social Media and digital marketing have been at the forefront of nonprofit fundraising strategies and initiatives in recent years. However, in the past year mobile marketing has emerged as a preferred marketing and communication channel that has surpassed desktop online use. I often include mobile optimization as a key component to reaching Millenial Donors and a Basic website Strategy to Help Improve Nonprofit Fundraising Results. One key initiative that has been growing over the years has been giving through texting. During the recent Toronto Pride Festivities, The 519 – a local community centre that provides programs and services to members of the LGBTQ community – encouraged text giving to the organization via various marketing initiatives. Throughout the four-day event, The 519 raised a record breaking $300,000.
Text giving is a trend that continues to grow as more nonprofits realize the value of using it creatively and supporters are becoming more tech-savvy and comfortable making a donation through their smart phone or mobile device. Text giving is one of the top three preferred methods to give with a rating of 2.91/4 behind online fundraising (3.14/4) and special events (3.02/4) on a rating scale of 1 = poor and 4 = excellent. This data is according to the mGive Text Donation Survey 2013 released recently by The mGive Foundation which analyzed responses from 20,445 text donors. The results certainly provide insight into supporter motivation to give through this channel amongst other highlights:
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Demographic – The demographic of those surveyed is perhaps representative of the demographic that uses this giving channel and not surprising over a third (33.8%) of respondents were Millennial donors born 1977-1994, while the second largest age group are the Generation X who were born between 1966-1976 with 28.4%. Broken down by gender females dominated with an overwhelming 70%, while the overall group is highly educated with over three-quarters (76%) having post-secondary education.
Donation Amounts – Interestingly, although most text-giving programs only support $5 and $10 donations, most donors want to be able to contribute more money through text with 85% of respondents wanting to donate $25 to $50, representing a 3% increase from 2012’s survey results.
Source – The top three sources in which donors have heard of text donation campaigns include Television or Radio Programs (66.9%), Social Networking (27.7% – increasing nearly 6% over 2012’s results) and a Public Event (19.1%).
Gateway – An incredible 72% are inclined to continue giving through text and 42% have given over $250 annually through other channels. Giving through text seems to be the gateway to further communication with supporters and there is a growing interest in receiving various types of information through text. In addition to standard donation information (70.0%), respondents also wanted to receive News and Updates (37.4%) and Volunteer Information (32.8%).
Retention – Key to retention is the user experience as 85% of respondents rated their experience good or excellent, which is relevant as donors prefer methods that are easy and convenient and under their direct control. An interesting aspect of mobile users is that three-quarters (75%) have had the same phone number for over 5 years minimizing the churn rate of an organization’s mobile donor database.
Verticals – Text donors are most likely to support Disaster Relief organizations as indicated by 87.3% of responses, while Human Services came in a distant second with 50.6% and Health organization in third with 40.5%. Although it may seem obvious that urgency is important when rallying funds in the case of an emergency, there is still value for organizations in other verticals to implement text-giving programs providing they are creative, attention grabbing and contain a clear single focused appeal.
Depending on your organization type and supporter demographic, text giving can become an excellent source of fast fundraising revenue. Initiatives need to be creative and integrated into all communication and marketing efforts to yield the strongest results.