First the nonprofit space had to adapt to the Internet. We built websites, started sending out email newsletters, and made Facebook pages to connect with our communities.
Now, mobile-based online interactions are the hot new thing. Smartphones and tablets are nearly ubiquitous, and social media shares information faster than you can say, “Update!” So how can you take advantage of this new frontier?
The next step for your nonprofit to stay at the front of the pack is to make sure that your online presence and your fundraising strategies are ready to include mobile technology advancements.
We’ve collected our favorite tips for staying in the game here:
- Pair your online and offline fundraising strategies.
- Make your nonprofit’s online presence mobile-optimized.
- Try a mobile-centric fundraising strategy.
- Offer different avenues for mobile support.
- Track and analyze your data.
If you’re ready to conquer the new frontier, so to speak, and get your nonprofit geared up for the new wave of mobile influence, read on!
1. Pair your online and offline fundraising strategies
Even though mobile fundraising is rising in popularity, nothing will ever take away the first-place position that traditional fundraising holds for nonprofits.
Instead of focusing on one or the other, merge your fundraising strategies into one cohesive plan that allows your nonprofit to reach the broadest possible audience!
There are a few simple ways to do so:
- Incorporate mobile giving into your in-person events, like fun runs and charity auctions.
- Use the same slogans and featured images across your printed and online fundraising campaigns.
- Host both in-person and virtual events for fundraising campaigns.
For example, if you hold an auction, consider trying out some different charity auction fundraising software options. You can get your attendees engaged early by advertising the items up for grabs, register guests as they arrive, and automate the receipt process, all online.
Using the same slogans across various communication vehicles allows for a cohesive marketing campaign that builds momentum better than confused or muddled advertising. It also creates less work for your marketing team, since they only have to design one campaign!
Consider hosting a Giving Day on the same day as your fun run or bake sale. Your supporters still participate in the event, but you can advertise that you’re fundraising for the cause online as well, and those who can’t make it can still support your nonprofit’s endeavors.
Melding your online and offline strategies can strengthen both approaches.
Bonus! Marketing your nonprofit’s events can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Check out this complete guide to marketing a nonprofit fundraising event from OneCause to learn more!
2. Make your nonprofit’s presence mobile-optimized
The mobile web is becoming more and more prevalent, and it stands to outpace the use of the web on desktop computers soon. Nonprofits have to take advantage of the mobile web if they’re going to stay relevant to their communities.
If your website isn’t accessible to users from their smartphones, they’re probably not going to come back to your site later when they sit down at their computers. They’ll consider your nonprofit behind on the times, or worse, defunct.
Some other places your nonprofit can benefit from updating are:
- Your nonprofit’s donation page. If your donation page isn’t accessible on mobile, it needs to be. It should also be branded to your organization, easy to use, and secure.
- Your nonprofit’s membership portal. Your nonprofit’s members should be able to access their accounts from anywhere, and new supporters should be able to apply for membership quickly and easily. Consider creating an app specifically for your members’ needs!
- Your nonprofit’s social media. Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook are all important places to network with your supporters and community. Keep people informed about your mission and issues relevant to your cause as well as your upcoming events and fundraisers.
- Your nonprofit’s email campaigns. If your carefully designed emails don’t load or format correctly on a cell phone, you are less likely to succeed in getting people to read your email, click a donate button, or visit your website from the email.
Stepping up your online presence can also mean making your whole online process more useful to your donors.
For example, if you don’t already pursue matching gifts, provide a matching gifts database and eligibility search tool. The incentive of giving more without having to give more will drive your donors to complete matches.
With more donors giving online, it’s incredibly easy to add information about matching gifts directly into your donation form and allow people to learn about their employers’ corporate philanthropy programs on the fly!
3. Try a mobile-centric fundraising strategy
Mobile-centric fundraisers are a fun new way to get your biggest supporters involved on the ground level as well as expand your geographic reach beyond your physical community!
Our two favorite types of mobile-centric fundraising are text-to-give campaigns and peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.
Text-to-give programs allow donors to give right through their phones’ native texting apps. The donor texts a keyword to a number provided by your nonprofit’s text-to-give vendor, and then they receive all the information they need to complete their donation quickly and securely.
Text-to-give programs are great for:
- Making donating easy during charity concerts, auctions, galas, or other events.
- Allowing churches to accept gifts during a service without having to break out a card reader or cash box.
- Making giving days like #GivingTuesday as easy as possible for any nonprofit to pull off successfully.
- Situational nonprofit circumstances like natural disasters.
Peer-to-peer fundraising also requires special tools or software for a nonprofit to run this type of campaign, but it allows organizations like yours to leverage its most dedicated supporters to rapidly and effectively expand its reach.
In a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, your supporters make their own donation pages, personalized with their photos and connections to your cause and organization, and then share them amongst their friends and family online.
A good peer-to-peer platform will come with mobile-optimized donation pages, so you don’t have to worry about functionality or accessibility. All you have to do is share the pages!
Peer-to-peer fundraising is especially effective with:
- Fun kickoff events like dinners, block parties, or charity concerts.
- Concluding events like runs, walk-a-thons, dance-a-thons, or other physical activities.
- Competitive aspects, like setting up teams to see who can fundraise more.
Learn more best practices for your nonprofit’s peer-to-peer fundraising with this list from OneCause.
4. Offer different avenues for mobile support
Fundraising campaigns aren’t the only valuable way to leverage your supporters’ mobile access! There are other ways to make the mobile web useful for your nonprofit.
QR codes are a great way to raise awareness for your nonprofit’s cause while allowing donors to engage with their phones.
A QR, or “quick response,” code is a square made of a black-and-white pattern. A smartphone’s camera, either by itself or with the help of an app, can read a QR code and translate the pattern into a URL, which the donor can then visit.
QR codes are free to make online, so make one for your nonprofit’s website or information page and post it around town to spread awareness about your cause and get people involved!
If your nonprofit is running a crowdfunding campaign, ask your supporters to get involved online even if they can’t donate.
Since a crowdfunding campaign uses a single donation page, ask donors to share it with their online communities, or use your campaign’s dedicated hashtag on social media to raise awareness about the campaign.
The mobile web is also perfect for awareness campaigns. Here are just a few ways to use social media to educate communities and increase awareness of your nonprofit’s mission:
- Join conversations on social media about issues relevant to your cause.
- Send text or email templates to your followers to send to politicians involved with legislature related to your cause.
- Post pictures of people or things related to your cause to demonstrate both what your nonprofit does as well as the continued need for support.
The Internet, via both mobile and desktop browsers, is a powerful tool for education and communication.
5. Track and analyze your data
Once you’ve started to build and optimize your online presence for mobile viewing, keep track of how your strategies perform and adapt accordingly!
It might seem like once you update your presence to fit on a cell phone screen, your work is done. But that’s not true! Tracking data metrics properly is important for nonprofits to learn and grow.
So what type of metrics are we talking about?
- Ratio of online donations versus in-person donations.
- Visits to your site daily, weekly, and monthly.
- Followers, likes, and interactions on various social media platforms.
- Amount of money raised through peer-to-peer and text-to-give fundraisers.
- Supporter opinions, as reported on surveys and in conversations.
These numbers are all important to track your nonprofit’s growth and determine what’s working and what needs more work.
By collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, you and your team can determine what types of engagement are most effective for reaching your supporters, and then optimize all your strategies accordingly.
Your online and mobile presence is an important aspect of your nonprofit’s image, so keeping track of what is a best practice and what could use updates or overhauls is a vital part of your nonprofit’s upkeep and growth strategy.
Your nonprofit’s mobile presence is important, and it’s only going to continue to be so. Get ahead of the curve with our 5 best strategies and before you know it, you’ll be handling your nonprofit’s on- and offline fundraising techniques with ease.
OneCause creates user-friendly fundraising software that helps nonprofits engage donors, raise more money and save valuable time and resources.