Excitement around donations by text message fades

I was intrigued by this story in The New York Times Bits Blog that reports on research recently conducted on donors who used text messages to send gifts to charities after the Haiti earthquake.

The finding of the study is that even though there was a surge in mobile giving for Haiti earthquake relief, that surge did not translate into either ongoing growth in mobile giving or into further giving through other channels.

This is a very important finding, and it confirms a belief that we have long suspected at Donordigital, which is that mobile giving is not a reliable ongoing fundraising source, and it potentially weakens other fundraising opportunities when it is not deployed in a manner that includes strong ongoing cultivation activities.

“The quixotic nature of text giving was further highlighted by the survey’s finding that 60 percent of the donors interviewed said they had paid little or no attention to the continuing recovery efforts in Haiti after making their contributions,” writes Stephanie Strom.

This highlights the need for strong and creative efforts to keep mobile donors informed about Haiti relief efforts, either through the mobile medium itself, or through email updates. The issue of converting mobile donors into email subscribers is a challenge in and of itself that requires experimentation and savvy to achieve.

The study also highlights that over 80 percent of those surveyed said they had not donated to Haiti in any other way and only one-third of them had made more than one contribution using their phones.

This highlights a growing concern among fundraising professionals that mobile giving may be reducing overall charitable giving. Average gifts via email and Web are usually north of $60. Average mobile giving is $10.

Clearly the challenge ahead is how to move mobile donors to become multi-channel donors. This is not an easy challenge to address. It starts with getting mobile donors to share their email and social media information, so that NGOs can conduct ongoing cultivation and ongoing fundraising that is not constricted by the mobile channel.

Read the full article Excitement Around Donations by Text Message Fades at The New York Times.

Michael Stein is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company. Contact: michael@donordigital.com or phone (510) 473-0364.

The Convio Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index Study

Gene Austin wrote in the June 2011 issue of Mal Warwick’s Newsletter that Convio recently released its fifth annual Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index™ Study designed to help nonprofit professionals understand beneficial online marketing metrics, evaluate the effectiveness of their organization compared to similar organizations and determine strategies for future success.

Key findings of the 2011 study include:

  • Online fundraising continues to grow. Overall, 79% of organizations included in the report raised more in 2010 than 2009.
  • Advocacy continues to play an important role. Total number of advocates on file increased by 20%, and 6.4% of advocates on file were also donors, up from 5.9% in 2009.
  • An increase in gift count and average gift size primarily drove fundraising gains. This indicates more people are moving online to give even if inspired through other channels.
  • Email files continued to grow strongly.  The median total email file grew 22% to 48,700 constituents. The increase in people engaging online means organizations need to ensure their communications and fundraising asks match the channel preferences for their constituents if they hope to maximize the value of each relationship.
  • Haiti relief played a strong role in growing aggregate online fundraising. The vertical most impacted by the Haiti event was the Disaster & Relief vertical, growing 38% from 2009 to 2010. Independent of the Haiti event, however, Disaster & Relief still grew at a healthy 23% from 2009 to 2010.

The entire report as a PDF can be downloaded here.