Mobile Fundraising: The Basics

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mobile-hand-3Mobile fundraising is the one of the latest and greatest ways to help nonprofits reach their goals. With so many ways to raise money using mobile fundraising, there are bound to be more than a few great options for your specific organization.

Because mobile fundraising is such a complex and wide-reaching topic, we have parsed it down to the basics here. We’ve laid out key terms, definitions, and important distinctions. Hopefully, with a better understanding of the basics, you’ll feel better prepared to tackle your own mobile fundraising campaign.

To skip ahead to the questions you’d like answered, click on any of the links below: 

What is Mobile Fundraising? [Definition]

Common Mobile Fundraising Terms

What Organizations Use Mobile Fundraising?

“Is Mobile Fundraising Right for My Organization?”

The Difference Between Mobile Fundraising and Text-to-Give

How Does Email Fit into Mobile Fundraising?

What are we waiting for? Let’s get started with the basics!4USESmobile-fundraising-basicsWhat is Mobile Fundraising?

Mobile fundraising is a way for nonprofits to raise money using mobile technology, such as cell phones, smart phones, or tablets.

Direct mail flyer that shows text-to-give and QR codes

Mobile fundraising often involves:

  • Text-to-give campaigns
  • QR code promotions
  • Mobile-friendly donation sites
  • And more!

Some mobile fundraising platforms also include fundraising applications built specifically for a certain nonprofit.

mobile-fundraising-basicsCommon Mobile Fundraising Terms


Also known as mobile-responsive, “mobile-friendly” means that a website functions just as well when it’s pulled up on a phone screen as it does on a laptop or desktop computer. Because so many use their mobile devices to search for information on the go, it’s extremely important to have a mobile-friendly donation website when you’re trying to raise money online.

Here’s an excellent example of a mobile-friendly donation page:

mobile-friendly donation page

This mobile website is simple, clean, and has easy-to-spot-and-click donation buttons. No more zooming in and trying to press tiny unresponsive buttons!

Mobile-friendly webpage

A mobile-friendly webpage is a website that performs intuitively on a mobile device. Buttons are typically large and easy to push. Text is more streamlined and adjusts to fit whatever sized screen it’s opened up on. It’s incredibly important to ensure your webpages are mobile friendly, so that users on mobile devices have an excellent experience with your content and donation forms.


Tokenization is taking in sensitive or important information, such as a credit card number or a social security number, transforming it into a code that no one can crack other than the intended recipient. It’s a way to ensure that identity theft and improper charges are impossible to pull off.

Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication uses email addresses to authorize all transactions. This allows a donor to give without the need for a password and username, and allows your organization to collect a donation without requiring payment details on subsequent transactions.
example of two-factor authentication

As you can see in the example above, the text-to-give donation is verified and confirmed through a mobile-friendly email. 


Text-to-give is a way to simplify charitable giving. It typically involves texting a keyword to a phone number, using a mobile device. It’s just one part of the whole that is mobile fundraising.


Text-to-tithe is a narrower scope of text-to-give. It focuses on harnessing this useful technology to help churches and other faith-based organizations raise money on a regular basis.

King's House @Pay text-to-tithe

mobile-fundraising-basicsWhat Organizations Use Mobile Fundraising?

  • Faith-Based Organizations, like churches, synagogues, ministries, and mosques.
  • Animal Rights Groups, from local shelters to national movements to end animal cruelty.
  • Health and Wellness Advocacy Organizations, such as hospitals, research funds, and awareness nonprofits. A great example would be the American Heart Association.
  • Disaster Relief Funds, both international and local.
  • Educational Advocacy Nonprofits, like teacher support groups and education policy nonprofits.
  • Environmental Conservation Groups, locally, nationally, and internationally focused groups. For instance, Greenpeace.
  • Arts and Culture Nonprofits, such as museums, symphony halls, or historical societies.

mobile-fundraising-basics“Is Mobile Fundraising Right for My Nonprofit?”

Mobile fundraising is just like any other kind of fundraising. It can be difficult.

It can also be extremely rewarding, though.

The key is to strike a good balance with your other fundraising efforts. It can be tricky trying to juggle so many different ways to donate.

If your nonprofit is looking into mobile fundraising, there are a few questions you should ask first:

  • “Who are my typical donors?”
  • “How have donors reached out to my nonprofit in the past?”
  • “Is there an immediate need at my nonprofit?”
  • “Does my nonprofit have the resources to launch a mobile campaign?”
  • “Who would be in charge of setting everything up?”
  • “How could we benefit from another way to bring in money?”
  • “How would I market a mobile giving campaign to my donors?”

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you’ll probably have a clearer picture of how ready you are to jump into mobile fundraising.

mobile-fundraising-basicsThe Difference between Mobile Fundraising and Text-to-Give

Mobile giving is an umbrella term.
Under mobile giving, you have things like text-to-give and QR code promotions. Mobile giving encompasses many different ways to raise funds. Text-to-give is just one part.

Mobile giving includes:

  • Mobile-friendly donation pages
  • QR codes
  • Texting to donate
  • Mobile giving apps
  • Email fundraising

Text-to-give includes:

  • Texting to donate

As you can see, mobile fundraising covers a good amount. Text-to-give is a small but important piece of the puzzle.

mobile-fundraising-basicsHow Does Email Fit into Mobile Fundraising?

Your nonprofit probably already sends out mass email appeals.

But did you know that most emails these days are actually being opened and read on mobile devices?

That’s precisely why it’s so crucial to optimize your emails for mobile devices.

To make your emails more mobile-friendly:

  • Make sure that they load well on smaller screens
  • Craft shorter, more attention-grabbing messages, complete with catchy headlines
  • Incorporate email donation buttons into the emails themselves (see example below)

email button exampleThis example email features a simple plea, a relevant picture, and the option to donate within the email itself. Simple and effective! 

Mobile giving has never been easier with Snowball!

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