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How to Get Started with Mobile Fundraising

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GETSTARTEDYou’ve already picked your mobile fundraising platform provider. You’re well on your way to launching a successful campaign. There are just a few actionable steps standing in between you and your end goal of incorporating mobile fundraising seamlessly into your nonprofit’s strategy.

With the help of these 7 concrete steps, you can launch your very own successful mobile fundraising campaign.

To skip ahead to a particular step, you can click on any of the following titles:

#1. Incorporate Mobile Fundraising into Your Overall Strategy

#2. Check that You’re Ready for Mobile

#3. Be Sure Your Information is Accurate

#4. Choose Your Champions

#5. Set Attainable Goals

#6. Make Your Plans Known

#7. Execute, Track, and Improve

Let’s get started getting started! 

strategy#1. Incorporate Mobile Fundraising into Your Overall Strategy

Incorporating a mobile fundraising strategy into your existing fundraising strategy can be a daunting task. Before you begin, you need to be able to answer the “Who,” “What,” “When,” and “Where” of it all.

One of the first questions to consider is, “Who is going to be in charge of running the mobile fundraising campaign?” Getting your mobile fundraising campaign off the ground will probably take some staff reallocation. What are your staff members currently focusing on? What could they potentially work on with regard to mobile fundraising?

If you foresee needing more than just a few hours here and there reallocated from your existing staff, then it might be wise to consider hiring a new team member to take on the responsibilities associated with mobile. This person can be part-time or full-time depending on what you anticipate your needs being.

It’s crucial to decide for what purpose you’re using mobile fundraising. Are you a church who wants to use text-to-give every week to increase your Sunday tithing? Are you a nonprofit who wants to use mobile fundraising for a specific event, like a benefit concert? Your answer will help you decide all of the other aspects of your strategy.

If you need to maintain text-to-give donations every week, you’ll have to come up with an individual plan for how you incorporate those donations into your existing fundraising. Likewise, if you reserve mobile fundraising for only special occasions, you’ll still need to come up with a contingency plan.

Another “What” you’ll need to answer is, “What kind of mobile fundraising is best for my donating audience?” This will largely depend on how familiar your donors already are with donating digitally. Conducting a survey of your donors is a good starting place. Once you figure out what types of donations you’ll offer (texting, email, mobile website, etc.), you can start to plan how you’ll promote your new giving options.

Your nonprofit needs to figure out a timeline for implementing mobile fundraising. When would be best to start? How long will the transition take? These are the types of questions you should be asking.

You also need to keep in mind that promoting your mobile fundraising campaign will need to precede your actual campaign launch by a little bit. The key is to plan ahead!

One of the final questions your nonprofit should ask is: “Where will we tell people about our mobile fundraising plans?”
In addition to using your existing modes of communication to get the word out about your mobile fundraising campaign, your nonprofit can also let its donors know about mobile fundraising at a preplanned event, such as:

• A concert
• An annual gala
• A church service
• Any live event

Of course, you’ll probably need to remind people more than once, so you can employ a variety of tactics in a number of different locations. Again, your plans will ultimately depend on what you use mobile fundraising for, who your audience is, and how often you plan to raise money using mobile.

Once you’ve answered all of the above questions, you can move on to the technical specifics of mobile fundraising.

mobileready#2. Check that You’re Ready for Mobile

One of the very first steps in launching a successful mobile fundraising campaign is to make sure that your mobile donation forms work well and are fully functional.

You probably already have an online donation form that conforms to the look and feel of your nonprofit’s website.

Now is the time to rework that existing online donation form so that it’s mobile-responsive.

Here are some concrete steps you can take to make sure you’re ready for mobile:

1. Have members of your nonprofit’s staff test your mobile donation website.
2. Run a beta test of the technology with some trusted peers.
3. Widen the sample size to a few more donors.

The key at each stage is to make sure that there are no kinks in the system. If there are any technical difficulties, you want to find them out and solve them sooner rather than later.

Choose donors that you trust and whose opinions matter to you to be the ones who test your mobile fundraising out first. They’ll be the ones who will be honest with you and who will give you the most useful and most constructive feedback.

accurateinfo#3. Be Sure Your Information is Accurate

When incorporating mobile fundraising into your existing fundraising strategy, it’s vital that you have accurate information about your donors.

Now that you’re starting a mobile fundraising campaign, it’s the perfect time to reach out to existing donors and have them confirm their information.

You can send out an email blast to your existing donor base, asking your donors to verify their email addresses.

You can also call donors to confirm their phone numbers and offer them the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of your mobile fundraising campaign. Let them know about your text-to-give and/or mobile fundraising campaigns.

After you confirm that the information you already had was accurate (or after you update it if it was not), the next step is to figure out a way to collect accurate new data.

Maybe you already have an efficient way to capture leads.

Perhaps you need to set a system in place.

If you don’t already have a way of capturing and incorporating new donor data into your CRM (constituent/customer relationship management) system, then it’s the perfect time to look into adopting both a way to capture leads and a way to manage your constituent relationships.

In either case, it’s vitally important to be able to update and store new information as it comes in.

chooseyourchampions#4. Choose Your Champions

Peer pressure gets a bad rap.

But when it comes to starting a mobile fundraising campaign, peer pressure can actually be quite useful.

Of course, what we mean by peer pressure is very different from the way middle school bullies used it. What we really mean is inspiring new donors to hop on board by using existing donors as advocates and influencers.

Harnessing the power of influencers, advocates, and champions can lead to mobile fundraising success.

The key is to single out the movers and shakers in your nonprofit’s network. They’re the ones who are most likely to help you cast a wider net. Think pastors, volunteer group leaders, and the most active members of your organization.

These power players are the ones who will be your mobile fundraising champions. They’ll get the word out through their own social networks, families, friends, and coworkers.

Once you’ve chosen your champions, you need to not only ask for their advice, but also give them the tools necessary to spread the word.

Starting with small, influential groups has been proven to be one of the best ways to make anything popular. Trends tend to trickle down from the most vocal advocates.

Be sure to enlist the help of your organization’s most positively influential members and leaders. It also doesn’t hurt to offer your key influencers incentives for helping out. The incentives you choose are fully up to your organization’s discretion, but make sure that they’re something that you’d like to receive for going the extra mile!

setgoals#5. Set Attainable Goals

Setting a specific goal amount when you’re mobile fundraising will make it far more likely that you’ll reach that goal than if you were to send out general pleas.

For instance, if you’re a church, you are most likely always raising money in one way or another. Setting a specific, attainable goal, like raising exactly $5,000 to build a new steeple, causes church members to take notice. When they feel like they’re helping to reach a concrete, tangible goal, people are much more inclined to donate.

When you’re planning any mobile fundraising campaign, make sure that you’re customizing your appeal in a way that entices people to get involved.

Be sure that your goals are realistic. As a good measure, you can base your expectations on your past experiences. If your donors have been reticent to adjust to new avenues of giving in the past, you may want to ease them into this new transition slowly. However, if your donors have always been on board with change and adopting new ways of giving, you can adjust your expectations accordingly.

More than anything, be upfront and honest about your nonprofit’s needs and goals. You’d be surprised how willing people are to give when they feel like they know what’s going on. They want to know your nonprofit’s plans, and they want to feel that their contributions are making a difference.

plansknown#6. Make Your Plans Known

When moving to mobile, the transition can be a little scary for some. You need to reassure your donors that when they receive messages from your nonprofit on mobile, it’s all coming from you.

Of course, they probably already know that you’re the ones behind the emails that they receive, but they may not know that you’re 100% behind the text-to-give technology that they’re using.

In order to reassure these donors that this new way of donating is totally safe (and very personable), you can have them take some specific steps to stay on track, which include:

    1. Add your nonprofit’s mobile fundraising number into their phones. You can include your nonprofit’s mobile number on business cards, information packets, and wherever else you distribute valuable information.
    2. Mark your nonprofit’s emails as “important.” Keep your communications out of the junk folder!
    3. Bookmark your nonprofit’s website to keep up with any updates. If your website is easily accessible, your donors and volunteers will be much more likely to check up on it. 

Let your donors know that if they get a text message, it’s from you, not a robot. Also, stress that you won’t be spamming them, so every message, email, or text is probably important and relevant to them.

execute#7. Execute, Track, and Improve

The only way to go from where you start is up!

What this means for your nonprofit is that getting started with mobile fundraising is a process. And just like any other process that has multiple steps, in order to be successful, you have to re-adjust your sails continually.

The final step in getting started is to execute your mobile fundraising campaign. You have all of your planning in place; you’re ready to promote, promote, promote, and you have a system for capturing leads and filing data. You’ve set your (lofty but also realistic) goals, and you’ve chosen your cheerleaders and champions. All that’s left to do is just to dive right in.

But just as you wouldn’t stay the course if a sudden storm popped up on your maiden voyage, you also shouldn’t stick to your original plan if it just isn’t panning out. As you go along with your mobile fundraising campaign, you should be keeping track of your progress and taking note of what works well and what doesn’t.

Once you’ve gathered enough information to make an informed decision about how to move forward, you can begin to improve your methods of seeking donations. You can confidently hoist your sails again and venture forth into deeper and more interesting waters.

It’s a continual process, but with time, it will become easier and more intuitive. Getting started is the hardest part.

For more information about mobile fundraising, check out Snowball’s text-to-give and mobile giving guides.

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