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What is mobile giving? How and why it works for nonprofits

January 10, 2022
This woman is giving a mobile donation to a nonprofit through her cell phone.

The nonprofit world is hearing a lot about mobile giving these days, but it’s more than just a buzzword. Mobile giving is a tool that nonprofit organizations can use to boost the performance of their fundraising campaigns, generating more revenue for their purpose.

Mobile giving is even more powerful when it’s integrated into broader campaigns that include both online and offline elements, such as email, direct mail, and social media. In this article, we’ll share why mobile giving works so well, the trends your nonprofit organization should follow, and how to integrate mobile giving into your campaigns.

What is mobile giving?

Mobile giving is a subcategory of online giving (any type of giving that’s done via the internet). Online giving is a broad category that comprises many forms of giving, while mobile giving’s defining characteristic is the use of a smartphone or mobile device. 

Each time a donor uses a mobile device to make a donation, it’s considered mobile giving. This form of online giving is a fairly broad category in and of itself, encompassing several tactics. Mobile giving includes any gifts:

  • Made by text (text-to-give).
  • Sent via email on a mobile device.
  • Sent through mobile-responsive donation pages.
  • Sent via mobile apps.

A dedicated mobile giving campaign may promote one or all of these different methods, depending on your supporters’ existing giving habits and your nonprofit’s resources.

Why mobile giving works

Modern life is fast-paced. People are juggling more responsibilities on the go, and they’re taking the internet with them. As reliance on mobile devices grows, new trends in giving have developed. 

We found that 33% of all gifts made on donation pages hosted through Bonterra Donor Engagement’s Guided Fundraising solution (formerly Network for Good) were done on mobile devices. According to Nonprofits Source, mobile giving is growing and impacting all nonprofit channels:

  • Donations: 25% of donors complete their donations on mobile devices.
  • Emails: 54% of nonprofit emails are read on a mobile device.
  • Nonprofit websites: 51% of people who visit a nonprofit’s website do so on a mobile device.
  • Social media: 59% of Gen Z say social media inspires them to donate.

If your nonprofit wants to make the most of these trends, focus on making it convenient for donors to engage with your organization and give on their mobile devices.

Mobile giving trends

These statistics speak powerfully about the wave of opportunity available with mobile giving. Let’s look at three specific trends that further demonstrate why a mobile giving strategy is so important for today’s nonprofits.

Smartphones are everywhere.

Smartphone use has skyrocketed in recent years and continues to rise. Not only do a vast majority of Americans (85% of U.S. adults) now own a smartphone, but 15% of American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users—they own a smartphone instead of traditional home internet service.

Millennials give through their smartphones.

Millennials are more tuned in to nonprofit work than previous generations have been at the same age, and they want to donate online. In terms of giving, 29% of millennials prefer making donations through text or apps, and another 23% prefer any form of online giving. To reach this important demographic of donors, your nonprofit should optimize and promote mobile giving.

Mobile giving performance continues to improve.

When you look at mobile giving growth year over year, it’s clear that mobile giving is a fast-growing trend. Today, half of all nonprofit website visitors are mobile and tablet users, and mobile donations increased by 50% in the last year.

Integrate mobile giving into all campaigns

While you can run mobile-only campaigns that are focused on one or more of the four forms of mobile giving described above, mobile giving is even more effective when it becomes an integral part of all your fundraising campaigns. Easy ways to integrate mobile giving into your existing campaigns include:

  • Adding your donation page URL to email appeals, directing donors to your mobile-friendly donation page.
  • Including QR codes that lead to your donation page in your direct mail appeals in case donors want to check out your page on the way back from the mailbox.
  • Advertising your mobile giving app in your email newsletter or on social media.
  • Including your text-to-give phone number on event swag.

The potential for mobile giving to increase your fundraising revenue is significant. Using these methods, you’ll simultaneously make the donation process easier and faster for your donors while increasing the number of donations you receive.

Download our eGuide, “The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Giving,” to learn how to launch your mobile giving initiative today.

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