According to the Seattle Times, Mobile giving is on the rise allowing donors to give directly to your organization by sending a simple text message.
Recently, the American Red Cross raised over 190,000 with its Text2Help mobile giving campaign - a drop in the bucket compared to the $300 billion that is donated annually by individuals. Nevertheless, it is move in an exciting direction. Nearly 70% of the growing demographic of 18-24 year-olds text message, and this growing trend signals that as this age groups continues to mature and increase its giving potential, capturing this audience early has never been more important. And, as I wrote a few weeks ago, mobile giving is not the only way to engage the 'mobile' audience. And in fact, there are better ways to engage your donors then one-off fundraising.
According to Jim Manis, CEO of the Mobile Giving Foundation, "Giving should be easy, it should be fun, and it should be rewarding." And that is the real takeaway - Mobile giving can help you provide a rewardingexperience, however, by itself, mobile giving is NOT an experience, its a transaction, a simple one-time act that gives a relatively small amount from a lot of people. That being said, mobile giving capabilities are important when you will be interacting with transactional donors (donors who give once, but do not stay engaged), but wherever possible, stick to donor engagement as a way of raising money.
Somewhat recently, Alisha Keys at her concert asked her concert attendees to pull out their cell phones and text ALIVE. 8,000 people followed her and they raised $40,000 - a noteworthy accomplishment, until you realize the real potential of what 8,000 could raise. According to the Donor Power Blog, a group of 8,000 people could help you raise over $1 million.
Another example showing Mobile Givings relative success in more news-worthy situations, is this recent campaign endorsed by Hilary Clinton helping refugees in Pakistan escape Taliban and Military action by funding the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refuges). As this atrocity hits the news, so did an easy way to help raise funds to help the people affected by as. As pictures like this spread across the Web, mobile campaigns will help recruit transactional donors:
Another popular Mobile Giving Campaign was done in tandem with American Idol - Keep a Child Alive. Like the refugee program, it was done hand-in-hand with a popular and newsworthy event and again attracted Transactional donors.
Should you choose to pursue a Mobile Giving campaign, please keep the above examples in mind - its great for a one-off campaign, but should NEVER replace your primary donor engagement strategy.