Mobile phones are fast emerging as a powerful tool for participation in civil society (over 300 million of Americans own a cell phone today). They are becoming a corporate organization’s secret weapon to success. An increasing number of companies have started sending ad copies and texts to their target audience via cell phones as part of a promotional strategy to increase product sales. Of late, the non-profits too have understood the importance of mobile phones; how these devices have reshaped the way people connect, chat, and share things.
Thus, non-profits have started exploring various innovative ways to communicate, engage, and raise funds using mobile technology and gadgets.
Starting with the 2011 Japan earthquake that shook the world, the American Red Cross and Salvation Army succeeded in raising $1.1 million from the mobile phone population. Similarly in January 2010, U.S. cell phone users donated $22 million in support of American Red Cross’s Text Haiti campaign. Thus, mobile funding is easy to collect and it creates quick awareness of fundraisers via a series of texts or SMSs.
Before you start with your first mobile funding campaign, it is always good to do some research on the type of audience you are trying to reach out to. Several publications have concluded about 31% of the US adults like to be contacted via text messages. Mobile may be a way of reaching out to a younger audience (Gen X and Y) may just be a misconception. Try to come up with attractive graphics and adverts to reach out to these people.
Spreading the word via cell phones take less time than what it would normally be, using some other method. It hardly takes a minute or so to text in a few words or lines about your social cause. You can send your online fundraising website link or online fundraising event registration hyperlink to all potential donors to let them immediately view the site and think about donating for your cause.
A good way to generate a buzz around your mobile funding is by telling supporters to upload photos of fundraising events and write short descriptive posts about their personal experiences on their social network pages like Facebook, Twitter or similar such mobile-enabled social media sites.
Collection of donations or pledges via mobile phones is far simpler. You don’t have to have personnel stationed at the payments desk all day long to collect funds from supporters. Further, mobile phones let you collect donations from people globally; it knows no artificial or geographical constraints in reaching out to potential donors residing in any remote location. They are able to transfer money via a range of online payment systems such as: credit cards, PayPal, wire transfers, etc. to name a few.
Another popular concept of mobile funding is related to mobile PayPal. In 2010, Foursquare and PayPal jointly launched “Check-In For Charity,” a new fundraising campaign for Save the Children’s continuing work in Haiti. PayPal will donate $0.25 to ‘Save the Children’ as soon as an individual enters any one of the designated locations around Austin such as: PayPal panels, parties, etc.
You can also use the voice messaging option to lure a large number of people towards your campaign. For example, instead of you calling a person why not let your potential donors receive a voice message directly from their favorite celebrity. You must have noticed how the U.S. President Barrack Obama raised an outstanding $15 million dollars (it was a George Clooney-sponsored event!) as part of his electoral campaign.