Guest blog by John Killoran
As the process for making mobile donations becomes more and more convenient, your nonprofit may see an uptick in the number of donors craving more interactions via their mobile phones.
Modern supporters are looking to connect with and engage with your nonprofit on the go, which means that your nonprofit needs to come up with a strategy to interact with mobile donors if you want to retain these donors in the future.
With that said, we’ve come up with five marketing tips to help you engage with mobile donors:
- Make mobile giving so easy that it markets itself.
- Start texting your donors.
- Use a multi-channel communications approach.
- Create content that stands out with compelling imagery.
- Send thank-you notes through mobile channels.
Keep reading to learn about these tips.
Tip #1. Make mobile giving so easy that it markets itself.
Keeping your donors starts with your website and more specifically, your donation forms.
Your website is your nonprofit’s online information hub. It’s a valuable marketing resource that donors can access when they have questions, want to learn more about your current projects, or want to make another donation.
If your website doesn’t work well on mobile devices or leaves a bad taste in your mobile donors’ mouths, you’re going to have an uphill battle when you try to market to your supporters who have given on the go.
To take it one step further, if the donor’s actual experience of giving via mobile device wasn’t a good one, you’ll be hard pressed to be able to convince that same donor to give again.
Simply put, the donation process can affect whether a donor decides to stay around and make future donations.
To help ensure that mobile giving is so easy for donors that it basically markets itself, here are two tips:
1. Make your website mobile-responsive.
Access to your website needs to be easy for anyone, including your mobile donors. Make your site mobile responsive so that mobile donors can easily access it.
A mobile-responsive website means that the site will adjust to fit the size of the screen it’s being viewed on. Some of the website’s elements might change or disappear in a smaller screen to make the navigation easier.
Additionally, creating a mobile-responsive website means that you can easily refer your mobile donors to different pages. For example, you can send a text message with a link to information on an upcoming fundraising event that the donor can easily click on and view right then and there.
2. Offer more ways to donate.
The more giving channels you provide donors, the more opportunities you have to reach your supporters. In other words, implementing different giving options allows more donors to use the method that is most convenient for them.
Later, donors are more likely to return and make future donations because the process was uncomplicated.
If you want to provide donors with more ways to donate, you need to find the right online donation software. Donation software offers many ways for you to accept donations online, such as:
- Mobile applications
- Mobile-responsive donation forms
- Email donation buttons
You’re adding barriers to the donation process when you limit the number of ways you accept online donations.
The takeaway: When your website and donation forms are easy to use, donors will keep coming back because you’ve created a process that is uncomplicated.
Tip #2. Start texting your donors.
Text messaging is a great communication method because you can immediately interact with your mobile donors. Plus, at the rate people check their messaging apps, texts are less likely to get overlooked than other forms of communication.
Additionally, text messaging usually encourages donors to respond back, meaning that you can better engage with them.
Since text messaging is so different than other communication methods, your nonprofit has the opportunity to get creative with what you send to your donors.
Here are three ways you can use text messaging in a creative way:
1. Create mini-quizzes.
With texting being such an immediate form of communication, it’s a great place for you to play mini-games with your mobile donors.
For example, your nonprofit could create a short questionnaire about a topic relating to your mission and send out the questions throughout the day. The first ten people to send back the correct answer could win a prize such as gear from your organization.
This is a fun way to interact with donors and test their knowledge.
Plus, your nonprofit can repeatedly interact with donors without it coming across as too overbearing.
When you include more fun and potentially prize-winning activities, mobile donors have greater incentive to stick around in the future.
2. Share videos of your nonprofit in action.
Whether it’s volunteers helping with service projects or stories coming directly from the people you serve, video is a great way to engage donors, especially when you send it via text message.
Additionally, YouTube videos automatically load on smartphones, which means your text message will look more appealing than an embedded link to a webpage or blog post.
Also, videos are attention-grabbing; mobile donors will be curious to see what you’ve sent them.
3. Update mobile donors on upcoming events.
Text messaging is also a great way to keep your donors informed with updates of what is going on with your nonprofit. For example, if you still need more people to sign up for your charity auction in a couple of weeks, you can quickly send a notification to your mobile donors.
With immediate updates, you can keep your mobile donors informed and hopefully, get them more engaged in your mission.
The takeaway: Use text messaging as a creative, quick way to interact with your mobile donors. You might be surprised how many donors start engaging back.
Tip #3. Use a multi-channel approach.
While we talked about all the great things you can achieve with text messaging, that didn’t mean that should be your only way to communicate with mobile donors. Some content just isn’t made for a text message.
To keep your communications interesting, you need to add a little variety. Just emailing or just texting your donors can get boring, which may cause donors to overlook your content.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; communicate with donors in multiple ways.
A common way to make mobile donations is through email donation buttons, so it’s safe to say that mobile donors are still interested in email. Plus, large, more in-depth pieces of content work better in emails.
Your nonprofit needs to consider that the viewing experience for mobile donors will be different. Make sure your emails are mobile-responsive and that your content is concise and easy to read.
If you want your emails to stand out above the rest of the content competing for your donor’s attention, provide content with more value.
Your nonprofit can add value to your content by educating donors on your cause. Give them messaging that goes beyond what you already have on your website.
Over Social Media
Your nonprofit needs to focus on increasing your presence on social media if you want to engage with your mobile donors, because many mobile supporters are also accessing their social networks via their smartphones.
If you want to be active on social media, your nonprofit can:
- Like, comment, and share other donors’ posts.
- Post about news and interesting articles related to your cause.
- Share notifications with your donors about different fundraising events you have going on.
Getting active on social media can help you retain mobile donors because it gives you a place where you can engage with them.
Unlike with text messages or emails, social media gives your nonprofit a chance see what donors are saying about your nonprofit and join the conversation. Donors can easily comment on your posts if they want to join the conversation.
The takeaway: Don’t just focus your communications on one outlet. The more ways you engage with donors, the better chance you have of creating a lasting impression.
Tip #4. Create content that stands out with compelling imagery.
When you create content that is visually appealing, it can help your content stand out from the other communications competing for your donor’s attention.
The right imagery can make your content even better. For example, it can:
- Evoke emotion in the donor. When donors feel emotionally connected to your mission, they’re more likely to stick around.
- Stand out above text-heavy content. No matter where you’re sharing the content, donors are going to gravitate to content that has images to break up the monotony of text.
- Help donors see the value and impact in their support. Images can help show donors exactly what their support means. This can help you create more meaningful relationships.
On a mobile phone, images stand out more prominently than text and can help convey your message better. However, don’t go overboard with your images. Too many images on a small screen can be distracting.
The takeaway: When you’re competing for your donors’ attentions, images can be a great tool to add interest to your content. If you can get donors interested in reading your content, your nonprofit is one step closer to keeping that donor invested in your cause.
Tip #5. Send thank-you notes through mobile channels.
Every nonprofit knows that acknowledgment is good for stewardship. A thank-you letter shows donors you appreciate their support, and donors are more likely to give again if you acknowledge them properly.
Sending thank-you letters to your mobile donors via mobile channels just makes sense. Your donors have already shown an inclination towards mobile communications.
Receiving a thank-you using the same channel that they used to donate means that they are more likely to read your acknowledgment. Also, donors will appreciate your thank-you more when it’s sent via their preferred method.
In addition, mobile channels are quick, meaning that you can send a thank-you letter right after a donation is confirmed.
For example, if your donor gives via text message, it’s fine to shoot them a quick “thank you” and follow up later with a more substantial acknowledgement via email. Or, if a donor shares their donation on Facebook, comment with a quick acknowledgment and follow up later with an additional thank-you letter.
Acknowledging donors on social media is a great marketing strategy because it’s a way to publicly voice your gratitude. Not only will the donor be more inclined to support your organization in the future, but their peers will also see the comment, which might get them interested in learning more.
As with any other communication, your thank-you letters should be optimized to be readable on the go.
The takeaway: Sending a thank-you letter through a mobile channel is another way your nonprofit can engage donors using their preferred method of communication.
Hopefully, these tips have helped you be more confident about how you can retain your mobile donors. As you go forward, remember that engaging your mobile donors is about creating content that is easy to read and view on the go.
John Killoran is CEO of @Pay, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to donate in two clicks from text, email, web and social media sites. John pioneered SMTP payments and has been a major innovator in the mobile payments space for the past 5 years. When he is not running a company, he is cooking food for his family and telling his dogs to stop barking.
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