« Chaos is the New Normal | Main | Where's the Care2 Team in July 2011? »

Mobile Web is the Future: Are you Ready?

Jocelyn Harmon, Director of Nonprofit Services for Care2 has a great blog post on mobile fundraising and a new study New Directions: Survey Findings on Non-Profit Adoption of Mobile Media and Mobile Giving. The study was conducted by Ron Vassallo, CEO of Kaptivate.in collaboration with AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals).

Did you know?

  • Mobile’s adoption continues to grow.
  • Nonprofits are shifting away from SMS/text and are moving toward the Mobile Web. 
  • The motivation for developing mobile capacity is now increasingly focused on audience engagement vs. donations.

Be sure and also check out some of the excerpts from the interview.

Jocelyn: Ron, let's start from the beginning.  What's the difference between SMS/text and the Mobile Web?

Ron: SMS is true to its label.  It stands for Short Message Service and allows friends, family, colleagues - anyone - to send text messages between mobile phones.  SMS is everywhere! There are estimates that SMS has 90% market penetration.  It's a super easy and fast way to communicate. 

The Mobile Web is simply a website on your phone.  It allows you to use a browser to look at a particular website that’s been formatted for your smart phone or web-enabled feature-phone.  We estimate that 65% of the market is web-enabled.

The Mobile Web is a MUCH more attractive option for nonprofits.

  • First, there is no third-party intermediary to contend with.  
  • Second, you can engage constituents on your own terms.  
  • Third, you can ask for any denomination of gift and you can provide your donors with recurring gift options.  
  • Fourth, users are familiar with the process for giving via the Mobile Web.  It's the same as giving online.

I think that in the future we will see a decline in text adoption for nonprofits and a rise in nonprofit adoption of the Mobile Web.


Jocelyn: What is the cost to invest in mobile?

Ron: To do SMS/text giving you'll need to invest $13,000 to $25,000.  There are also recurring fees of approximately 1/3 of the initial set up cost.  This covers licensing of short codes and key words, as well as the service fee for the number of messages to be sent.

Mobile websites will run you $5,000 to $30,000 depending on what you are trying to achieve.  There are recurring costs as well, such as maintenance and hosting.

The good news is that increased competition is making it more accessible to develop a mobile site.  I've seen multi-media packages, just for fundraising, that are coming down to $1,000 or less.


Jocelyn: Ron, According to New Directions, "over 50% of nonprofits are disappointed with their [mobile giving] fundraising results."  Why is mobile fundraising still such a challenge for most nonprofits?

Ron: I think there are two key reasons.

  • First, they don’t know how to market and promote the channel and awareness tends to lag as a result. American Cancer is beginning to crack the code on this.  They are integrating mobile into other channels and their overall brand strategy.  For example, they use social media to promote mobile engagement and then send a text that says, “Take this action on your phone to make your voice heard or meet us at the event today!" 
  • Second, user adoption is low because we’re still early in the technology adoption cycle. 

That said, mobile is revving up like no other technology before.  According to The Truth About Mobile Donations by Jenifer Snyder in Mobile Marketer,

Three years after text-based giving first became available, the mobile donation fundraising channel has already raised more than 30 times as many dollars as the online channel did when it was in its infancy.

You can read Jocelyn's full blog post here.

Reader Comments (2)

For the nonprofit sector there is the Chronicle of Philanthropy has a helpful article http://philanthropy.com/blogs/social-philanthropy/charities-explore-potential-of-google-social-network/28875
July 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChasTPhillips

Agree with all that Ron said except the prices. http://give.mobi has a standard web app architecture that non profits can use to get their mobile portals up and running simply, fast, and VERY affordably. Here are some client samples: http://m.give.mobi/urm http://m.give.mobi/invisiblepeople http://m.give.mobi/hht

I'd love to give you a behind the scenes demo on our technology.

Fred Emmer
July 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFred Emmer

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.