June 9, 2015;

A mobile fundraising study conducted by npENGAGE reviewed the webpages of 343 small to medium-size nonprofits at the end of the 2014 giving season. The study analyzed 22,648 donations, 3,091 event registrations, and 1,476 membership transactions between November 1st and December 31st, 2014.

Here were the highlights from studying the 343 nonprofits:

  • 9.5% of donations came via mobile devices.
  • 19.6% of event registrations came from mobile devices. According to npENGAGE, “Across the board, supporters are almost twice as likely to register for an event than make a donation on a mobile device.”
  • 49% of emails were read on mobile devices.
  • 16.6% of donors who made a donation after receiving an email used mobile devices.
  • For nonprofit sites with responsive design, the email donation rate via mobile rose to 18.6%. According to npENGAGE, “If your website is responsive (optimized for viewing on smartphones and tablets in addition to desktops), you’re winning. But also make certain your emails and forms are elegant on mobile.”

However, keep in mind that, according to the Pew Research Center, the most common uses for mobile devices include sending or receiving text messages, sending or receiving email messages, accessing the Internet, downloading applications, getting directions or recommendations, listening to music, participating in a video call or chat, or checking in or sharing a location. Making donations, signing up for nonprofit events, and paying nonprofit membership dues (for example, museum dues) are clearly missing from that list.

Therefore, what should your nonprofit consider when adding a mobile strategy to your marketing and fundraising? Here are five questions to consider. Your answers will determine how your nonprofit integrates mobile into your outreach:

  • Does your website have an easy-to-find page that explains how donations are used?
  • Does your nonprofit have an easy-to-find page that lists your events and descriptions and dates?
  • Do your emails link back to landing pages on your website designed especially for specific fundraising campaigns and/or events?
  • Do you segment your outreach? For example, if you are an animal nonprofit, some supporters may react more positively if an email features a dog, and some may react more positively if an email features a cat. With knowledge gleaned over time and from interactions with donors, you will learn important donor facts, and this information should be added to your mobile outreach.
  • Does your nonprofit have an email marketing plan (similar to your annual marketing plan) that includes topics, distribution/communication schedule, and evaluation metrics, and also features a design that is consistent with your brand, logo, and palette?

If you integrate all of these elements into your mobile strategy, you will definitely see an increase in your mobile engagement—and probably in your mobile donations, mobile event registrations, and mobile membership transactions, too.—Debbie Laskey