Going mobile opens new tactics to engage supporters and fundraise

27 Mar

There’s a buzz beginning to build about mobile fundraising. There’s talk about apps, mostly from board members that hear the app hype and don’t think about the massive cost and challenge apps present. Then there’s my personal favorite tactic, text-to-give. This expensive and poorly regarded solution is not mobile fundraising. Donors don’t like it, it can take 6 months in some cases to get your money and it’s very expensive whether it works for your cause or not.

True mobile fundraising, what donors have said they are looking for in mobile fundraising in reports like the MCON 2012 report in Millennial Giving, is giving through a fully-optimized mobile website.

So if you’ve made the decision to move forward with a mobile website your next logical thought would drift to, “so I’ve got this nice mobile website that’s fast to load and easy to navigate, now what?”

The next logical step is to get the word out and there are many tactics that mobile opens up that should help you achieve an ROI your supporters (and your board) will be thrilled to see.

Try this tactic: Get local businesses in your area to compete in fundraising for you.

This tactic is perfect for raising money for educational causes like a high school or university. Let’s say, for example, that the girl’s tennis team at some NCAA school is looking for funds to help the team travel to a meet and the athletic department says it will likely not be able to attend due to a lack of funds.  Like many schools, if you’re not football or basketball funds can be hard to come by within the athletic department.

Old school fundraising for any business that wants to help the girl’s tennis team was putting a clear plastic box on the business’s counter or holding a car wash for the girl’s tennis team in their parking lot. Or perhaps the business owner just wrote them a big check and called it a day.

Mobile can reimagine this scenario easily and effectively. Let’s start with the tennis team. What if they could get 5-10 businesses signed up to compete to see who raises the most amount of money for the girl’s tennis team? Each business could have their own QR code assigned to them and then the business can ask their customers to help them win the fundraising challenge for the school’s girl’s tennis team. Donations made can be processed directly and immediately into the appropriate account at the school by scanning the QR code and making a credit card or PayPal donation. This will only take about a minute.

The benefit of winning the contest to the business can be established by the school depending on what in-kind value benefit they could offer the winning business. This may not be needed by the business at all since they may just want to help. The business also benefits by not having employees handle cash or having cash in plastic boxes that can be stolen or never attended to when they are stuffed full.

I have spoken to business owners that have had plastic boxes on their counters for causes and many times they become a source for employee bad behavior. Mobile can take the business out of the money handling process and put them in position to leverage their customer outreach channels with the QR code and corresponding URL. The QR code can be placed on all printed materials and the corresponding URL can serve as a hyperlink in an email to the merchant’s base of email addresses on file.

In this scenario, each business can be asking customers to support the girl’s tennis team and anyone that wants to donate can do so immediately through their mobile phone versus having to wait until they get home.

Over the timeframe of the competition, the results can be shared with the participating businesses and they can choose to rev up their own tactics in an effort to win the competition.

Once the competition is over, the winner can be announced and they can receive their “prize” from the school and best of all, the girl’s tennis team will likely meet or exceed their fundraising goal. What an easy way to do a great thing-keep deserving athletes competing and representing their schools.

If any of you would like to try this tactic please let me know at dale@razmobile.com.

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