Is mobile giving right for your nonprofit?

Americans gave millions of dollars in small gifts to the American Red Cross via their smart phones after the earthquake in Haiti, so is mobile giving a good idea for smaller nonprofits, too?

The Chronicle of Philanthropy addresses that issue in a webinar Thursday, Oct. 20, beginning at 11 a.m. Pacific time. The early bird deadline to register and save $21 on the registration fee is this Thursday. Register here.

According to the mGive Foundation, mobile giving raised about $250,000 in 2008, then $1.3 million in 2009. In 2010 mobile giving expanded exponentially, with more than $30 million raised by the Red Cross for Haiti relief alone.

The NonProfit Times explores the issues in a September article, and it cites several small nonprofits that have used text messages for giving campaigns and as information channels.

The article reports that a Virginia consulting firm surveyed 162 nonprofits about their approach to mobile giving. Among the survey results:

  • Only about 10 percent viewed themselves as early adopters of the mobile-giving strategy.
  • About 49 percent had a “strong” or “very high” interest in mobile fundraising.
  • About 30 percent thought they were too small to engage in mobile giving.
  • Almost half of respondents see mobile giving options as “lacking the ability to cultivate donors.”
  • More than one-third of respondents expect to deploy mobile giving during the next year and that jumps to half when extended to two years.

According to eHow, here’s how to set up mobile giving:

  1. Locate mobile giving service providers. Wikipedia lists several: mGive, Mobile Cause, CauseCast, Give by Cell, G8wave, iLoop Mobile, Mobile Commons, Mobile Giving Foundation, Mobile Giving and Text a Day.
  2. Check the vendors’ fees.
  3. Compare fees and conditions and select a vendor.
  4. Complete the registration form for the vendor of choice.
  5. Distribute the mobile giving code (provided by the vendor) to your audience.
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