In today’s landscape of mobile and online technology, nonprofits are flooded with a large variety of choices for almost any solution they can think of.
This principle applies similarly to the event management and fundraising spaces.
In this article, we’re going to share:
- Why nonprofits are investing in mobile giving to reach their fundraising goals.
- Real use cases for how nonprofits are leveraging mobile fundraising platforms.
- Actionable tips for getting the most of our your investment in mobile giving.
- How to select a mobile fundraising or event ticketing platform.
- The benefits of combining your event ticketing and fundraising needs under one platform.
Why Nonprofits Are Investing In Mobile Giving
Last year’s 23% growth in overall online fundraising shows a clear trend in how donors prefer to give.
It’s no secret then that nonprofits are shifting their fundraising strategies towards online campaigns to meet their financial and marketing goals.
Leading the pack is mobile giving, which accounts for 25% of all online donations made.
For those of you that are planning a fundraising event whether online or at a physical location, you may want to consider a mobile fundraising platform.
These platforms are designed to tackle specific fundraising events like:
- Silent auctions and raffles.
- Text-to-give donations.
- Fund a need campaigns.
- Online donation pages.
We’ve seen mobile and online fundraising options help nonprofit organizations raise additional funds when used to:
1. Reach A Larger Audience
Online and mobile fundraisers can be promoted on social media, online, and via email.
Now, your supporters can donate to your cause at any time, from anywhere (not only while at your event).
2. Provide A More Engaging Experience
Rather than writing down bids on a paper sheet and checking a bid every few minutes, users of mobile fundraising technology receive instant notifications when they have bid or submit a donation.
This engaging experience results in higher participation while still allowing your guests to focus on the message of your event.
3. Make The Donation Process Easier
Using mobile fundraising tools makes the donation process simpler and more accessible.
Supporters can donate from anywhere, at any time, through your online or text message–based fundraiser.
Furthermore, checkout can be done in seconds using credit card processing tools that are directly on your users’ mobile devices.
How Nonprofits Are Winning With Mobile Fundraising
As mentioned above, there are a ton of options for setting up a mobile fundraising campaign, whether it be through text to give donations or a direct ask via an online donation page.
In the next two sections, we’re going to show real use cases of how nonprofits are levering mobile giving to reach their fundraising goals.
Make-A-Wish Colorado: Silent Auctions And Raffles
Make-A-Wish Colorado has been using mobile fundraising technology to host their events since 2014.
The first use of the text to bid system was during their “Sporting Affair” event, where local celebrities, professional athlete and wish kids and their families come together to talk about the hope, strength, and joy received from a wish come true.
By allowing donors to place bids with their mobile device the pressure to win an item didn’t overshadow interactions with the celebrities, kids, or other guests.
As a result of implementing this system, Make-A-Wish Colorado saw a 45% increase in auction revenue when compared to last year.
Donors were no longer worried about being outbid, as a text alerted them so they could increase their bid.
This meant donors were able to spend more time enjoying the event than being bogged down by the auction.
It’s a simple concept, but it made a huge impact for Make-A-Wish Colorado in reaching their fundraising goals.
Over eight campaigns from 2014 through 2018, Make-A-Wish Colorado was able to raise nearly $771,000.
Puerto Rico Relief Fund: Mobile Donation Page
Whether you’re using a mobile fundraising platform or sending potential donors to your website you want to be sure you’re offering the best user experience possible.
This means your donation pages should be as easy to navigate, establish value to donors, and involve as little friction as possible.
In addition, they announced they would match up to $2 million in donations.
Needless to say, their mobile donation page is executed flawlessly.
When you first land on the page there is a clear call to action located in two places, an emotional headline informing users what the page is about, and a video describing why funds are needed:
As you scroll down the page, it tells donors exactly how the money will be used along with direct links to each nonprofit’s website:
They’ve also included an accordion style drop-down FAQ for people who may be considering a donation, but haven’t quite satisfied their hunt for information:
When a donor is ready to give they simply click on the donate button and input the amount they wish to give:
There’s no need to type in your contact information as Google will pull this from your Gmail account if you’re signed in or using the Chrome web browser.
However, if you do not wish to provide this information you can proceed using the Guest checkout option.
Once you’ve entered the amount you wish to give you’ll be prompted to enter in your credit card information:
The entire process is effortless and took 2 minutes to walk through with zero issues.
Likewise, the desktop page has a similar feel and experience to the mobile page eliminating potential friction in the donation process.
How To Select The Right Mobile Fundraising Platform
Now that the basics have been covered and you have a feel for how other organizations are leveraging mobile platforms it’s time to talk about how to select the right one.
It’s important to research certain criteria when selecting the right mobile or online fundraising provider for your nonprofit.
To get you started, we’ve included some of the guidelines below.
Product Offering Based On Your Fundraising Objective
Before you start diving into the research, try to spend some time with your team to agree on your fundraising objective and goals.
This will greatly influence the type of mobile fundraising solution you choose.
For example, are you trying to raise money at a specific fundraising event or gala?
If so, you may be interested in a mobile silent auction or raffle offering.
Or, are you focusing on making the general donation process easier for supporters of your organization?
In this case, you may be looking for a provider of online donation pages.
Of course, there are also many mobile fundraising solutions that provide a range of capabilities to support all of your needs, should you decide that you are interested in more than one functionality.
Functionality And Usability
Once your team has established fundraising goals and objectives, and have agreed on the tools you will pursue, it’s time to ensure that you select a platform with the features that you need.
Based on the tool you are interested in, you may be looking for different features.
Some common ones include:
- Online Bidding & Text Message Bidding.
- Outbid notifications / Winner notifications.
- Credit Card Checkout.
- Real-time updating pages.
Donation Pages & Text to Give
- Easy donation process.
- Credit card payments.
- Easily embedded on your existing website.
While this is a good place to start, the best way to make sure the mobile fundraising solution you are researching is adequate is by trying a demo.
Hopefully, the provider you are considering offers a free demo, allowing you to test out functionality and usability of the service – if so, we recommend that you take advantage of this to get a feel for the system.
As you would expect, pricing is always something that needs to be considered.
When thinking about mobile and online fundraising solutions, typical cost structures include some of the components below:
- Flat fee per event/fundraising campaign.
- Annual or monthly contract with multiple events allowed within the time period.
- Percentage of fundraised taken as payment.
Depending on how often you plan on using your mobile fundraising provider, different cost structures will make more sense for you.
For example, if your organization only runs one major event each year, a flat fee per event will be the most affordable.
Finally, ensuring that your mobile fundraising platform offers exceptional customer service is key.
Whether it is before, during, or after your event, it is always reassuring to have access to support staff to help with any questions that you may have.
The best fundraising platforms will offer consistent 24/7 customer support, allowing you to reach a team member at any time – even at night, or on weekends during your event.
Choosing An Event Ticketing and Registration Platform
In order to the find an event ticketing or registration provider that fits your needs, we suggest considering the following criteria.
Pricing & Fees
When considering different ticketing options, make sure you do your homework understanding their pricing structure.
Common pricing formats for ticketing providers include charging a flat fee per ticket, charging a percentage per ticket, or both.
Be sure to research both the cost structure and the numbers or percentages behind each charge.
Additionally, try to find out if the vendor charges a credit card processing fee.
Finally, you will want to understand whether or not you can pass the ticketing fees onto your buyers, or must absorb them yourself – many vendors leave this option to you.
One of the most important criteria to consider, flexibility refers to the available options you may have when considering customization for your event.
Some of our favorite ways to customize an event and sell as many tickets a possible include:
- Event page customization – Can you upload your own logos, messaging, and branding?
- Ticket Customization – Can you create your own ticket types, inclusive of price, quantities, or dates?
- Information Collected – What information can you ask from your buyers? Can you add your own custom questions in order to use that information in the future?
Day Of Event Functionality
On the day of your event, you will want to feel confident in having a reliable ticketing provider.
Here, your main concerns will be event check-in.
How does the provider you are researching handle event check-in?
Hopefully, they offer some type of ticket scanning ability, so that you can scan tickets (both paper and digital) quickly in order to keep lines moving.
Many providers will also have a guest lookup feature for those who may forget their tickets.
Finally, it may be worth researching to see if the ticketing provider you are considering offers an option to allow your staff to sell tickets at the door so that you don’t miss any last minute sales.
Finally, we suggest finding a ticketing or event registration provider with impeccable customer support.
Our preferred methods of communication our live chat, email, and phone chat, but it’s also important to understand availability.
Will a support staff be available during your event, even if it is at night or on a weekend?
These are some great questions to ask when deciding on a ticketing provider for your event.
Bringing It All Together
Most event hosts use one provider for event ticketing and another for mobile fundraising.
In my opinion, using multiple platforms creates additional work and confusion for both you and your guests.
For that reason, we recommend finding a platform that offers both event ticketing and mobile fundraising solutions.
Options with both capabilities will not only save you time with your event setup and organization but will create a seamless experience for your guests, allowing them to both purchase their tickets and donate to your cause in the same place.
Once a donor purchases a ticket, all of their information will be stored in the system, meaning they will not need to re-enter their information when placing a mobile bid or donating to your cause.
Furthermore, any of your guests that are already coming to your page to buy tickets can now seamlessly enter a donation on the same website, leading to increased donations and overall proceeds.
Zach Hagopian is the co-founder and COO at Accelevents, an event ticketing, and mobile fundraising platform. An active member in the Boston fundraising community, Zach spends time creating seamless event experiences for his clients. In his free time, he also organizes a 1,000+ person charity event in Boston each year.
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