Jenifer SnyderJenifer Snyder of mGive is back with some more tips on how to use mobile to your advantage. ~Kivi

Guest Post by Jenifer Snyder, Esq.,  Executive Director of The mGive Foundation

If one of your 2014 goals is to more effectively engage with donors, then consider integrating mobile outreach into your plans this year.   And why not?

With mobile’s amazingly high open rate (97 percent) it’s one of the most effective ways to get your message read by donors.

But wait – before you start texting, it’s important to carefully plan your mobile engagement campaign.   You think carefully about how you engage donors and prospects through email, phone and mail.  Mobile is no different.  Here are some common considerations and questions you should be thinking about as you plan to effectively communicate with your donors through mobile in 2014.

Do You Qualify?

First things first – to solicit text donations you must meet minimum requirements established by the wireless carriers.  These requirements are:

  • Be an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) organization
  • File an IRS form 990
  • Have reported revenues of at least $500,000 in the previous year (as reported on your form 990)

You can see a full list of requirements here.

Who Will be in your Mobile Network?

Do you want to attract new donors to your organization with mobile?  Recruit from your existing donor base?  Or some combination of the two?   Donor prospects can be recruited at events and through cause marketing campaigns.  Your existing donors can be opted-in to your mobile network through online forms, email solicitations and event promotions.

Maybe you want to use mobile recruitment to bring in a younger demographic.  Or perhaps you have a targeted geographic area you want to focus on.  Possibly you are launching a new YouTube video series targeted to a particular segment and mobile can help drive your target audience to watch.  Segmentation applies to mobile.  Once you’ve determined “who” you can move on to “how” and “what.” 

How Will You Engage your Mobile Supporters?

You should figure out what you will communicate and how often so you can tell your mobile supporters what to expect when they opt-in.  Remember, your donors’ mobile phones are very personal.  People carry their mobile phones on their person and the average American has their phone within arms’ reach 19 hours per day.  Tell donors upfront what to expect from you and follow it.   This is the Golden Rule of Mobile.  Text unto others as you would have them Text unto you.

That said, when planning your mobile engagement, remember all the types of information you can communicate through mobile.  You can engage supporters through mobile polls and help educate them through informational texts.  Mobile links can take your donors to your website, YouTube videos and social media.  Other ideas for mobile include using it for appointment reminders, special media updates and links to images and videos of volunteers.  And of course, the solicitations you will send for text donations (or links to your mobile optimized online donation page).

This is an important part of your planning process.  Our clients have found that sending recurring informational text messages timed within a week of a solicitation text have boosted conversion rates from 1 percent to 24 percent.

You Must Comply

The wireless carriers have implemented rules and regulations relative to mobile donations processed over their billing systems and transparency is vital.  Mandatory language must appear with all mobile call-to-actions across all communication channels in the form of terms and conditions and disclaimer language.

Essentially you need to provide a link to terms and conditions.  You must include your organization’s name in outbound text messages.  You must provide a clear way to opt-out and clearly state that wireless charges may apply.   When soliciting you must let the donor know the charge will appear on their wireless bill.

We Can Measure That

Make mobile count by counting your results.  Mobile metrics include response rates, donation conversions, post-donation opt-ins (the number of donors who agree to continue receiving text messages after they’ve made a text donation) and social share clicks.  Build metrics into your mobile plans, both in terms of goal setting and then use the results to measure against and plan to adjust as needed.

Mobile is exciting and effective.  Most of us can’t imagine life without our mobile devices.  Mobile marketing is integral to for-profit sales strategy and it is becoming just as important in the nonprofit sector.  You can and should adopt mobile into your plans…just plan to do it right!  Taking these points into consideration will start you on your way.

To learn more, view our webinar “Five Steps to Successfully Launch Your Mobile Initiative.”

As executive director of The mGive Foundation, Jenifer is dedicated to expanding the scope and reach of the mobile channel for social good. She brings years of leadership experience in the mobile industry to the position. You can find frequent guest posts from Jenifer on the mBlog.

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