MOBILE GIVING:WHAT NONPROFITS NEED TO KNOW TO GET STARTED (PART 1)

By James V. D’Ambrosio

(This is the first in a series providing an overview of the mobile-giving process). 

For nonprofits yet to delve into mobile giving, the following will help you get started. Given there are approximately 280 million cell phone users in the U.S. and some well-documented successes in mobile giving, it makes sense to take a closer look at what’s involved with this rapidly-emerging fund-raising tool.

Before starting a campaign, a nonprofit must meet certain requirements. The Mobile Giving Foundation — a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization registered in all states to undertake charitable solicitations and serving as the link between a charitable giving campaign, the wireless industry, and the 280 million U.S. wireless users — lists MANDATORY Standards for Participation agencies must meet to qualify for mobile giving: 

♦ Exempt from income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code (filing a 990 annually and having gross revenues of at least $500,000 on the 990 form);

♦ Registered as a soliciting charity in all states where the solicitation will occur;

♦ In compliance with all applicable state and federal laws; remaining current with all required filings;

♦ Be in good standing in its state of incorporation and operating for at least one (1) year; and

♦ Making truthful public representations of fund-raising, finances, operations and solicitations.

The Foundation also lists Preferred Standards:

♦ Having an elected, volunteer Board of Directors of at least five (5) members holding at least four (4) meetings annually;

♦ Measuring its effectiveness through assessments every two (2) years;

♦ Having a well-defined mission statement and programs to effectively achieve that mission;

♦ Spending funds in a prudent, transparent manner; and

♦ Accurately reporting expenses, and making that information — along with financial statements and annual reports — available to the public.

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The following Application Service Providers (ASP’s) have been approved by the Mobile Giving Foundation and can assist nonprofits with mobile-giving campaigns:

Connect2give

g8wave, Inc.

Give by Cell

Give on the Go, LLC

iLoop Mobile, Inc.

Mobile Commons

MPower Giving

SUMOTEXT 

TextCaster

 

COMING IN PART II: DETAILS OF THE MOBILE-GIVING PROCESS

STUDY SHOWS TEXT GIVING A GROWING FORCE, COMPLEMENTING OTHER GIVING VENUES

By James V. D’Ambrosio

A study recently commissioned by the mGive Foundation — an organization making it make easier for nonprofits to execute effective mobile-giving campaigns — and researched and written by CCS Fund-Raising, an agency providing fund-raising consulting and management services to nonprofits worldwide, concluded that mobile giving is a growing, viable fund-raising strategy, especially among the 16-33 age group.

The Text Giving Donor Survey Report surveyed 23,500 donors by text messaging donor mailing lists from 200+ nonprofits with ‘opt-in’ mobile number records. Over a two-week period — December 16-29, 2010 — 235 responses were generated, a one (1) percent response rate. Some key findings were:

♦ 56 percent of respondents described their text-giving experience as ‘excellent’ or ‘good.’

62 percent of respondents donate to two or more organizations via text; 12 percent contributed to four or more organizations.

79 percent of survey respondents giving to an organization via text also contributed by e-mail, Web site, or direct mail.

86 percent of survey respondents donating to an agency via text would consider giving larger amounts through other channels.

Text donors would like to have the option of a $25 text-gift minimum. In terms of a maximum text gift, 73 percent indicated a $25 limit; 15 percent said $50; and 9 percent indicated a top gift of $100.

The top three calls to action were: a) e-mail; b) public event; and c) television.

CONTEXT AND PERSPECTIVE

These numbers are impressive, but they should be considered contextually. The majority of respondents were Millenials (ages 16-33) followed by Generation X (34-44) and Boomers2 (45-55) — early adopters more connected with mobile communication. Since technology is evolving rapidly, the authors note uncertainty over whether such trends will continue. The study also emphasizes that text-giving represents just one facet of a comprehensive fund-raising strategy, not a substitute for other giving venues.

Still, given the economic challenges facing nonprofits for the foreseeable future, this growing channel of giving should not be ignored; in fact, some agencies can greatly benefit.

Request a copy of the full report here: http://bit.ly/gTejDO.

QUESTION TO READERS: What has been your agency’s experience with text-giving?

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