November 14, 2011; Source: Nonprofit Tech 2.0 | With the rapid growth of smartphone use in the United States, many are predicting the end of cash and physical credit cards within the next five years, and a surge of mobile wallet services in 2012. This will drastically change the way our society interacts with any actions associated with currency. Many mobile wallet services are scheduled to launch in 2012, and the Google Wallet is already available.

How will this transformation from tangible money to digital currency affect fundraising for nonprofits? Nonprofit Tech 2.0: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits specifically lists three changes in the movement to mobile wallets that will directly impact nonprofit fundraising.

  1. Point of Sale Transactions: For location-based nonprofits such as museums, performing arts venues, zoos, health clinics, churches, etc., mobile wallets clearly make sense for processing tickets and goods and services sales.
  2. Online Transactions: Current “Donate Now” technology lands donors on a page where they must enter their name, mailing address, e-mail, and credit card number and security code to make a donation. That technology has served the nonprofit sector well, but no doubt in the coming age of mobile wallets the process will seem cumbersome. Imagine using a smartphone mobile wallet instead, where all that needs to be done to process a donation is click on “Save to Wallet” and then simply “Tap to Pay.”
  3. Mobile Transactions: The ability to donate via mobile websites makes a lot more sense than the multi-step, mobile-optimized “Donate Now” pages, and could even replace text-to-give technology. Many mobile donors don’t want to take the time to tap in their contact and credit card information, or, in the case of text-to-give, do not want their donation to show up on their mobile phone bill. “Save to Wallet” technology would eliminate both obstacles—imagine sending an urgent call to donate via text message, where all that the donor has to do is tap twice to give.

These services should make fundraising and donations more of a seamless process—for both the organization and the donor. No websites currently exist that link donations with mobile wallets, but these services will be available shortly. Nonprofits should get well acquainted with mobile wallets and be ready to adapt and rework their fundraising campaigns.—Aine Creedon