Mobile Giving Success Opens Door to More Text Communications

Survey Reveals Amazing Stability and Receptivity Among Text-to-Give Donors

Text donations have not only arrived, it looks like they are staying for good.

A survey of online donors by mGive turned up a number of pretty amazing facts about people who donate via text messaging.

The mGive Foundation makes possible most text donation campaigns by bridging the gap between mobile carriers and nonprofits. More than 60 mobile companies work with qualified charities through mGive for

those amazing text campaigns that we see, especially whenever there is a disaster.

The mother of them all was the Red Cross campaign which raised millions of dollars for Haiti earthquake relief back in 2010.

Since that tipping point for mobile donations, the field has grown steadily. mGive alone has facilitated more than 10,000 text donation campaigns for more than 500 nonprofits, raising nearly $70 million through this still new method. Today, there are always numerous text-to-give campaigns running somewhere.

The study conducted by Vibrant Data provides a good snapshot of the state of text giving at this point. The Foundation and its study partners sent invitations to its survey to close to a million text donors this past spring and ultimately received more than 20,000 responses.

Here are the highlights of the survey results:

  • Donors are highly aware of text donation campaigns and like them. Eighty-five percent of the donors surveyed rated their experience of donating through text as excellent or good. 
  • Donors want to be able to contribute more through their text-to-donate campaigns. Generally text campaigns are limited to small amounts of money such as $5 and $10. Many of the surveyed donors said that they would like to be able to give as much as $25-$50 dollars through these campaigns. 
  • Text donors report that they enjoy giving in this way because it is easy, convenient and they feel in control. One donor said, “I choose when and how much I want to give with no hassles or harassment from people.” 
  • Mobile givers keep the same phone numbers for a long time. In fundraising, churn is the norm, whether it’s donors changing their email addresses, credit cards, or their preferences about how they want to be contacted. Attrition among donors is a major problem. Notably, one area of stability is the longevity of mobile phone numbers.According to this survey, 75 percent of donors have maintained the same mobile number for more than five years; 48 percent had retained the same number for eight years or more. 
  • Mobile giving is one of the three top ways that donors prefer to give. Online giving is number one, and live events and mobile giving tie for second place. 
  • Social media is growing as a way for donors to hear about mobile giving campaigns. While most donors still learn about text campaigns through TV or radio (68 percent), social media is rapidly catching up (28 percent). 
  • Donors say that they want other types of information from charities via text. For instance, more than 32 percent of the survey respondents said that they would like to get information about volunteering from nonprofits. Other types of information donors might be willing to receive by text include info about surveys and about programs. 
  • There is a big gender gap among text-to-give donors. Seventy-eight percent of the donors in this survey were female. 
  • Text givers are well educated. Seventy-six percent indicated that they had completed secondary education or higher. 
  • Most text-to-give donors gave to disaster relief organizations. The Red Cross and UNICEF are examples. Second place went to human services organizations such as food banks and the United Way. Third in line were health organizations such as cancer prevention and research hospitals. 
  • Texting a donation does not seem to cannibalize other donations. Texting donors gave on average $250 annually to good causes through multiple channels, and they are loyal to their personal charitable choices. Furthermore, respondents to the survey indicated that they intended to continue donating by text even while giving in other ways.

It’s pretty clear that text-to-give has been adopted widely by donors. And they are increasingly willing to receive more information from charities about a variety of topics via text.

Nonprofits, however, have been a bit slow in collecting the mobile numbers of their supporters. Text to give has been a one way street with donors learning about campaigns from media and then responding. The next step is to push those campaigns out to donors through their mobile connections and to explore communicating other types of information in that format.

It is possible to efficiently collect mobile numbers, and some charities are getting on board. For examples, check out this post from Nonprofit Tech for Good: Five Ways to Build Your Nonprofit’s Mobile Subscriber List.

How is your nonprofit taking advantage of the rise of the smartphone-enabled donor?

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