If part of the promise of mobile is the ability to take advantage of consumer sentiment and intent at a given time and place, then mobile should be a powerful tool for the charitable and not-for-profit sector. When you are dependant on the generosity of the public for your survival, I would imagine you’d want to make the donation process as convenient and simple as possible.
And nothing, I would argue, is more convenient and simple as sending a text message and having a small donation tacked onto your monthly cell phone bill. Agreed?
Canadians can now do just this thanks to a just-announced partnership between the CWTA and the Mobile Giving Foundation. As of this moment, there’s only a handful of approved charities (Plan Canada, Jays Care Foundation, Best Buddies and the Children’s Wish Foundation) but expect that to rise.
Key for the success of the initiative, 100% of all donations go the charities themselves and you still get a tax donation receipt.
On the surface, this is geared towards increasing charitable donations among younger consumers who are also the heaviest texters. But text messaging has become such a common activity that it should really appeal to anyone.
A few other thoughts:
- The best use case for this is for micro-donations (say $5-10) at events or via street team solicitation.
- Charities should also be using this opportunity to build their mobile database by getting opt-ins for future communication. If they aren’t able to under this program, it should be urgently considered.
- Extend the experience by building out simple mobile websites where you can futher education around how donations are being used. You never know how that might drive up donation levels.
- Suspicion of carriers is high, so really sell the 100% donation and tax receipt.
I can’t emphasize enough the opportunity this provides to create a sustained dialogue via the mobile channel.
You’ve qualified a consumer’s interest by their very act of donating. By securing an opt-in, you can now provide updates on how the money is being used (simple SMS updates or use the SMS to push to a mobile site housing picture or video updates), new fundraising events and initiatives (why not mobile ticketing?), or even subsequent donation calls to action.
I imagine the solicitation of future donations might be controlled and there should be guidelines around the frequency and relevance of communication. But properly designed, you can manage consumer preferences and ensure a high degree of relevance. Do that, and you’ve got a powerful new direct response channel.
So…would you spare a text?
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