Asking for Donations on a Mobile Device: A Guide

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Snowball’s blog focuses primarily on mobile fundraising. Every once in a while, we like to bring a new voice to that conversation. Today we welcome Abby Jarvis from Qgiv who will be discussing how to ask for donations on mobile devices.

If you wanted to ask someone for a donation 100 years ago, you either asked in person or you sent them a fundraising letter (check out for 40+ templates!)

Fundraising Letters

You could have used Morse code, but it may have taken a while to spell out your organization’s mission with only dots and dashes.

But now, you can ask for donations through virtually any means.

You can still send letters and make donation appeals in person, but if you want to ask a large number of people for donations, you now have the ability to do so!

According to John Killoran of Snowball, mobile giving has surged in recent years, and no wonder!

Nowadays, it’s simple to encourage people to donate via text-to-give as well as through your online, mobile-responsive donation form.

We’ll be going over some of the ways you can ask for contributions on a smartphone or tablet, but here’s a sneak peek of what we will be covering:

  1. Text-to-Give
  2. Crowdfunding
  3. Email
  4. Mobile-Responsive Donation Pages

Check out the top four ways to ask for donations on a mobile device.

1. Text-to-Give

Text to Give CampaignTexting has replaced many traditional forms of communication. Instead of ringing a friend’s doorbell, most people will simply text, “Here” to let their buddy know they’re in the driveway.

Your nonprofit can start tapping into this universal communication method to gather donations.

By allowing donors to give to their favorite nonprofit (that’s you!) via text message, you increase the chances that your tech-savvy donors will respond quickly and frequently.

Different text-to-give platforms will vary in how they process donations, but most rely on donors’ texting a particular keyword to a specific number.

Text giving is also a great way to collect donations during fundraising events.

Picture this: you’re hosting your annual gala and you’ve invited your regular supporters as well as some other prospects that you think might be willing to give significant contributions down the road.

During the course of the evening, you’ll likely have a speaker talk about the progress that your organization has made with various projects and where you still need financial support.

If you want to bring in donations right then and there, encourage your attendees to get out their phones to text their contributions to your organization.

Using text-to-give at your fundraising events can be a quick and easy way to bring in more donations. The simplicity of text donations ensures that your attendees will be able to donate without taking out their checkbook or looking for cash.

From your text-to-give software, you can also project a fundraising thermometer that updates in real-time as your attendees submit their gifts. Being able to visualize how close they are to reaching the goal will really motivate attendees to give more. They won’t want to back down from the noble challenge!

You don’t have to just rely on fundraising events to promote text giving, though!

Include information about text-to-give:

  • In your emails.
  • On your social media platforms.
  • During your in-person meetings.
  • Within your direct mail and other tangible marketing materials.

Pretty soon, your donors will be texting their friends, family members, and your nonprofit!

2. Mobile-Responsive Donation Pages

Donation pages are the bread and butter of online giving.

Donors who want the convenience of giving without having to whip out their checkbooks often turn to online donation forms that accept funds securely and safely.

But what about your donors that want to give on the go? Few people are always going to have their laptops on them, but most people can’t leave home without their smartphone or tablet.

Your nonprofit can’t afford to miss out on the numerous opportunities that mobile-responsive donation pages will present!

Whether you’re trying to raise money for the public phase of your capital campaign or simply want to raise money for the cause that you’re advocating for, mobile responsive donation pages are the answer!

Mobile Responsive Donation Forms

Some best practices for mobile-responsive donation pages:

  • Keep it simple. Easy navigation and limited text will help your mobile donation page look sleek, resulting in a better donor experience.
  • Make it shareable. If you want more people to access your mobile donation, make sure that you give donors a way to share the link via email, social media, and text message.
  • Stay secure. Just because a donation form is on a smartphone doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be secure. Give donors peace of mind by including security certifications and logos on your mobile donation form.

Your nonprofit will naturally have to respond to the changes in technology as they are created. But for now, smartphones and tablets are the easiest ways for donors to give on the go.

Make sure your nonprofit isn’t missing out on these crucial donations because you don’t have a mobile-responsive donation page.

3. Email

Even if your nonprofit has been asking for donations via email for months or years, it’s important to remember that these emails must now be mobile-responsive and easy to view on a smaller screen.

Some general tips for asking for donations via email include:

  • Create eye-catching subject lines. This will be the first thing your donors will see. Make sure it gets their attention!
  • Be direct. Donors don’t want to read a long email only to discover that you ask for money in the last sentence. Get to the point and be upfront with your donation appeals.
  • Remember to keep it personal. Donors like to feel connected to your nonprofit. Communicating through mobile channels presents the challenge of anonymity, but your nonprofit can still keep emails personal by thanking donors for past contributions (when applicable). Additionally, make sure that you always use donors’ names instead of opening with “Dear Donor.” This personalization will help immensely in the long run!

Asking for donations with emails can be a great way to reach more donors at once and at a relatively low cost.

Make sure that your nonprofit is taking advantage of this donation asking method.

If you’re having trouble using email to get in touch with your donors, Snowball has some email solutions for you!


4. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, also known as peer-to-peer fundraising, is perfectly suited for mobile fundraising.

Usually, crowdfunding will take place on a designated fundraising platform and is easily shared on donors’ social media profiles.

The reason crowdfunding is so successful is that it allows donors to connect with others in their social networks.

Where does mobile giving fit into this equation?

Well, if your crowdfunding site is mobile-responsive and is easily shared on mobile platforms, your donors will be able to share it with more people.

Think about it: most people are accessing Facebook and Twitter on their phones or tablets. If they can easily post a link to or tweet about your crowdfunding page, more people will join the campaign.

Additionally, if that link takes someone to a mobile-responsive crowdfunding page, the likelihood that they’ll donate is even greater!

Start your free fundraiser >

5. Phone Calls

Phone donations aren’t often a part of the conversation when it comes to asking for donations on a mobile device.

In reality, they should be a big part of the conversation!

Two out of every five households in the US have only wireless plans.

If your nonprofit is conducting a phonathon, but the only numbers you have in your database are landlines, you’re going to miss out on a significant chunk of donors.

Make sure that you’re accounting for your mobile users when calling donors.


Fundraising can take many forms. In our ever-changing and increasingly technological world, asking for donations on a mobile device can be a simple solution to any number of fundraising problems.

Whether you’re using text-to-give, an online donation page, emails, crowdfunding, or just a good old-fashioned phone call, your nonprofit can stand to benefit from asking for donations on a mobile device.

What about your nonprofit? What mobile strategies have you found worked best for your donors? What best practices would you suggest for organizations just getting started with mobile giving?

photo of Abby Jarvis

Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer-to-peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.


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