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Allyson Kapin 4 min read

With Mobile Giving on the Rise, where are all the Donors?

Last week we took a look at how easy it is to give to organizations like the American Red Cross during a natural disaster. So why wouldn't you want to make it just as easy for a donor to give to your nonprofit during a moment when they're feeling really good about your organization’s work?

With mobile giving on the incline, New Directions released a report depicting the growing trend toward nonprofits' adoption of mobile giving. We know Millennials are the most apt to donate via their mobile phone, but what about the inclination of nonprofits to integrate a mobile giving program? This report found that among active mobile giving programs, a whopping 77% sees mobile fundraising as just another way to engage donors. Despite this huge trend, 47% of nonprofits that have active mobile programs do not use them for fundraising at all. One respondent explained, "We've been promoting our mobile giving options in print, digital media, on billboards and even movie theaters. And only generated $90 in 6 months. [We] feel it's not the best fit for the Midwest donor market." This is not a total surprise since the Donor Survey Report by mGive Foundation last week explained that mobile text-to-give donors appear to have the highest representation in the South and the West, with the lowest presence in the Midwest. A few other factors come into play as well. Organizations who have been very successful with mobile fundraising tend to seize major fundraising opportunities around major current events and mobile is integrated into their fundraising campaigns. Organizations who have largers lists tend to raise more money.

New Directions respondents also detailed several causes that reduce the effectiveness of text message donation appeals:

  • There is a limit to the gift size.
  • There is no option for donors to sign up for recurring gifts.
  • There is little data available on the donors who give by text, making it hard to develop a relationship with the donor moving forward.

Though, on the upside, the report gives three significant factors that they believe will impact increased conversions to mobile media and mobile giving:


  • More vibrant economic recovery, thus enabling nonprofits to invest in new channels.
  • Improved and further developed mobile-giving options. 
  • Growing interest in mobile media for outreach and engagement versus a strict focus on fundraising.


So, after weighing the pros and cons, what do you think? Do you plan to test a text-to-give campaign? Just keep in mind that simplicity is key.

Speaking of simplicity, and with the holidays upon us, the nonprofits who responded to the survey also shared what was on their mobile wish list this year:  

  • 57% want more donor use of mobile technology.
  • 54% want better donation transaction options.
  • 50% want stronger integration with the organization’s website.

What are you hoping for this season of giving?


Allyson Kapin

Allyson has been named one of "Top Tech Titans" by the Washingtonian, one of the Most Influential Women In Tech by Fast Company, and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes for her leadership role in technology and social media. As Founding Partner of Rad Campaign, she leads the firm's client and online strategic services. For over a decade Allyson has helped non-profit organizations and political campaigns create dynamic and award-winning websites and online marketing and recruitment campaigns. She works side-by-side with her clients to meet their web needs and maximize their online effectiveness to create real world impact.