The Ultimate Mobile Giving Guide For Nonprofit Fundraising (2021)

The Ultimate Mobile Giving Guide For Nonprofit Fundraising (2021)

mobile giving

Did you know that the average smartphone user spends around three hours a day on their phone? That’s a lot of time—and a lot of opportunities for interested donors to give to your fundraising campaign.

Having the right tools to collect mobile donations easily and efficiently is vital for a fundraising option.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll give you the nitty-gritty about why and how to start a mobile giving fundraising initiative in your nonprofit. We’ll look at the following:

  1. What is Mobile Giving?
  2. The Importance of Mobile Fundraising for Nonprofits
  3. What Trends Are Driving the Growth of Mobile Giving?
  4. 5 Types of Mobile Giving
  5. Which Organizations Use Mobile Giving?
  6. Benefits of Mobile Giving
  7. Mobile Giving Best Practices
  8. 11 Features to Look for in a Mobile Giving Platform
  9. Start Collecting More Mobile Donations

Whether your organization has been collecting mobile donations for years or you’re just getting started, read on for more information about this ever-changing aspect of fundraising.


What is Mobile Giving?

Mobile giving refers to the ability of your donors to give to your campaign on a variety of mobile devices. Mobile donation pages, text fundraising, and mobile kiosks are all examples of mobile giving.

Both mobile giving and online giving take place online, so the distinction can be confusing. The important distinction is that mobile giving is done on some kind of mobile device, be it a smartphone or tablet.

Although online giving has been and will continue to be important for years, mobile giving is on a very sharp rise. According to The Blackbaud Institute, only 9% of online donations were made using a mobile device in 2014. By 2019, that number jumped to 26%.

Now that our lives are more virtual than ever, we will continue to see growth in mobile fundraising. For example, this simple mobile-friendly donation form below can not only help you raise funds easily and effectively on mobile devices but also make it convenient for your donors to give. Having a responsive form on your donation page is extremely important. That facilitates a smooth mobile giving process.

Sign up With Donorbox


The Importance of Mobile Fundraising for Nonprofits

If your organization doesn’t have mobile giving as part of your fundraising strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to collect donations from new and existing donors and to share your mission in a way that matches our 2021 lifestyle.

Here are some important statistics to keep in mind when deciding how important mobile fundraising is to your organization.

  • Did you know that 96% of donors use their mobile devices as their primary mode for connecting with your mission? With mobile device use on the rise, it’s no surprise that most donors find it easier to navigate to your site on their phone.
  • When your donation form is properly formatted for both regular online use and mobile-friendly use, your form will yield 34% more submissions.
  • Social media will only continue its role as a vital platform for your organization to share its mission and fundraise. Already, 65% of social media interactions with your cause happen on mobile devices.
  • Beyond just visiting your website and social media pages, donors respond well to text messages. Potential donors read text messages from your organization 98% of the time; and 90% will check that text within 3 minutes of you sending it.

Knowing how important mobile fundraising is for your organization is the first step. Understanding how mobile giving might continue to grow and implementing best practices in your organization’s strategy is the next step.

mobile giving

What Trends Are Driving the Growth of Mobile Giving?

Some factors contributing to this explosion in mobile giving might seem obvious. More smartphones in hands…more opportunities for mobile fundraising. But knowing the ins and outs of these trends will help you plan ways to dive into the mobile giving world now and plan your mobile fundraising strategies for the future.


1. Mobile device usage

Just looking around on the train, in the office, or even at the grocery store, you can see how many people rely on their mobile devices for everyday things. In 2021, it’s estimated that 72.7% of people will use smartphones, up from only 20.2% in 2010. That’s 2.87 billion smartphone users.

It’s important to note that smartphone use doesn’t seem limited by generation, either. In a recent analysis by Statista, 65% of people 65 and up own and use smartphones.

The simple fact of mobile use saturation means that mobile fundraising isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.


2. Mobile payment technology

The rise in smartphone use has called for a rise in mobile payment technology across industries. According to Quoracreative, 40% of all online transactions are done with a mobile device.

Mobile payment technology streamlines the process of entering sensitive information like credit card numbers into online forms. Services like Google Pay, PayPal, and Apple Pay allow donors to safely and quickly add their information to your donation form. PayPal does require that donors sign into their accounts first as an added security step, but it’s still a great option for your donors.

Mobile kiosk and mobile point-of-sale technology allows your organization the option of quickly collecting donations at events like galas, open houses, fairs, and more. This is a secure way to collect donor information that you can later use to thank your donor and keep them up-to-date with your mission. It’s also an easy option for collecting donations in an increasingly cashless world.


3. Social media integrations

Social media platforms understand how important their services are for nonprofits who wish to both share their mission and collect donations. That’s why Facebook and Instagram allow nonprofits to collect donations directly from their followers or fans. These platforms will collect the money from your donors using their own security features and cut your organization a check.

As more platforms introduce this option for nonprofits, donors will come to rely on the ease of clicking a donation link on a social media story or contributing to a friend’s birthday fundraiser as part of their annual giving practices.


5 Types of Mobile Giving

What exactly counts as mobile giving? These five types are important to keep in mind whenever you approach your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy.


1. Text-to-Give campaigns

Text-to-give campaigns involve your organization sharing a unique text number with donors. This number is usually short and made up of only a few numbers so your donors can find it easy to remember. When they send a text to that number—often with a specific keyword you share that will prompt the automatic text response on your end—they receive a reply with a link to your online, mobile-friendly donation form.

With Donorbox, text-to-give is easy. Once you’ve created a campaign and chosen one of the 2 available text-to-give plans, simply enable text-to-give for your campaign. Now locate your unique campaign ID and share it with your supporters. They’ll text your ID to the texting number and receive a link to your mobile donation form. When they want to give again in the future, all they have to do is text the keyword YES to the same number and they’ll be prompted to confirm that they’d like to give the same donation as last time. Our repeat donation feature ensures that your donors won’t need to fill out any forms or input any details.

This is easy for you and your donors, meaning more donations with less effort!


2. Mobile donation pages

The main difference between a mobile donation page and an online donation page is the formatting.

A mobile donation page is formatted in a way that looks pleasing and functions properly on a mobile device. We’ve all experienced what it’s like to try to navigate a non-mobile-friendly website on our phones. It can be frustrating, and if you’re a potential donor, it can be enough to convince you that it isn’t the right time to give.

Since so many of your donors are likely to look at your organization on their phones, it pays to have a mobile-responsive donation page like Donorbox that automatically adjusts to fit mobile screens so your donors get the best mobile experience possible.


3. Mobile kiosks

Mobile kiosks are tablets or other mobile devices donors can use to contribute to your organization on the go. Kiosks are handy at events to collect donations or even event registration information.

Having mobile kiosks available is a secure and easy way to collect donations without asking your donors to pull up your donation form on their own mobile devices. In an increasingly cashless world, kiosks give your organization more opportunities for fundraising.


4. Mobile email campaigns

Email is an impressive force to generate donations. Thanks to increased smartphone use, people are always connected to their email—at home, at the office, at the gym, and even in bed. 58% of people report checking their emails first thing in the morning, before checking anything else on their phones.

Emailing donors with clear, mission-driven content and a call-to-action can help generate mobile donations by connecting donors with an easy way to give to your campaign.


5. Mobile giving apps

Mobile giving apps are unique options for donors who don’t want to use the internet browser on their phones. Your organization can create a custom app with information about your mission and donation forms. This gives you the option to send notifications to anyone who downloads your app.


Which Organizations Use Mobile Giving?

All kinds of organizations take advantage of the opportunities mobile giving offers.

  • Religious groups like churches use mobile giving as a virtual collection plate
  • Schools and universities use mobile kiosks to collect donations at alumni events and regularly rely on mobile email campaigns to connect with donors
  • Disaster relief organizations like the Red Cross frequently use text-to-give campaigns as an easy option for donors to quickly support their relief efforts

Every organization that fundraises can benefit from mobile giving. No matter what your organization focuses on, mobile giving is an important aspect of fundraising in the present and will continue to be vital in the future.


Benefits of Mobile Giving

Along with simply suiting the way we operate in 2021, mobile giving has many benefits both for nonprofits and for their donors. It’s important to understand all the benefits of implementing a solid mobile giving strategy.


For nonprofits

1. Immediate

Do you have a campaign that needs to reach donors quickly? Mobile giving means you can fundraise right away. Collecting mobile donations means you don’t have to wait for checks in the mail or the end of the billing period to collect the funds your mission needs.

While some phone companies still allow users to include donations on their monthly phone bill, using quicker text-to-give technology means you don’t have to wait for your contributions to be compiled. Instead, they come straight to your organization where they can do the most work.

2. Engaging

Mobile content like an app or an email can be dynamic, engaging your donors with interesting images and easy-to-spot highlights. You can engage donors in new ways with text messaging and unique notifications that get them excited about your mission. Engage with both younger and older generations with mobile opportunities they’ll find compelling because it’s already in their hands!

3. Insights

With the right tools, mobile giving can offer important insights into the habits of your donors. You can note the individual preferences of donors by analyzing their favorite way to connect with your organization, how often they give, where they’re located, and more. This information can help you sharpen your outreach attempts, build strong relationships, and gain a better understanding of your supporters’ demographics.

4. Cost-Effective

Mobile giving is cost-effective because it is quick and easy to implement, saving you important staff time. Platforms like Donorbox take a small percentage of donations to cover the cost of their services, which means you only pay when your mobile giving platform is being utilized.
Mobile donation forms and text-to-give integration allow you to easily collect donations and target new donors in a cost-effective, time-effective way—and we know what they say about time and money.


For donors

1. Convenient

We know that donors are already on their phones. That it’s much more common for a potential donor to leave their house with their phones than with cash or a checkbook.
For people who are interested in supporting your organization, mobile giving means they can easily and quickly provide their support, connect with you to learn more, or simply share a mission they care about with other potential donors. Accessing donation forms as smoothly as possible means donors don’t have to go to too much hassle to complete their mobile donations.

2. User-friendly

If someone uses a smartphone daily, chances are they’re comfortable operating it. Mobile giving offers a user-friendly option for those who are already comfortable navigating the mobile world to easily donate. They don’t have to learn anything new—they can just keep doing what they’re comfortable with.

3. Quick

Because mobile giving often requires fewer steps than other kinds of giving, it’s a much quicker option. The information is right there on their phones or on the tablet in front of them. They don’t need to go anywhere else to quickly complete their donation.

With a streamlined, easy-to-read donation form that only asks for the necessary information, your donor can quickly give from wherever they are. And with features like Donorbox’s quick donate text-to-give feature, donors can quickly repeat their previous donations at any time with complete ease.

4. Secure

Mobile giving, when managed correctly, is PCI Compliant. This means it adheres to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard for the safe use of personal information. Donors also no longer have to worry about cash or checks coming in through the mail—their donations and their information are automatically secured.


12 Mobile Giving Best Practices

Once you decide that you want to implement mobile giving in your nonprofit, there are some important best practices to be aware of so your mobile giving campaigns are as effective as possible.

How can you be sure your campaign is the most effective? What goals should you keep in mind? Read on for tips on what to keep in mind as you plan your campaign.


1. Make it responsive

Mobile giving succeeds when it looks the best it can. That’s why it’s important to have a donation form that automatically optimizes for mobile use. Easy scrolling, clear formatting, and attractive layout are all keys to making a donation form mobile-friendly. By responding to whatever device your donor accesses your donation form.

Here’s an example of a Donorbox mobile donation page. The page automatically adjusts to fill a mobile screen, which means your donors don’t have to hunt for the information they need to complete the form.


2. Keep it simple

Because your donors are on a mobile device—a phone or a kiosk—you need to keep the actual process of filling out a donation form as simple as possible. This means fewer form fields, especially those that require your donor to manually type in more information than necessary. If you’re interested in collecting more information from your donors, consider doing it in follow-up communications. .

The donation form is just that—for collecting donations. By keeping your donation form as simple as possible, your donor can have an even easier time giving to your organization.


3. Instruct donors

No one likes to waste time guessing when something could just be clearly explained the first time. Be as clear as possible with your donors at every step of the mobile giving process.

On your donation form, clearly state what information you need from them to complete their donation.

If you’re running a text-to-give campaign, take some time to educate your donors on the steps they’ll need to take.

  • Use social media or even a flyer to share the steps in a clear way that they can refer back to if they have any issues with their text giving
  • Don’t be afraid to host help sessions—formally or informally—to show donors how easy your text-to-give campaign can be
  • Explain the process at any events your organization hosts so your donors will know what to do in the future

Of course, you should still keep your text-to-give steps as simple as possible!


4. Offer different options

Every donor has their own preference for how to give. That’s why it’s important to offer many different options when you’re mobile fundraising so there’s a way to give that suits every donor’s preference. More ways to give means more opportunities for collecting donations, too.

If you’re pushing text-to-give but a supporter doesn’t want to use text, add a QR code option for them to easily find your site on mobile. This gives your supporter the chance to choose between their favorite mobile giving options.

You also want to be sure your donors can use their preferred payment methods. Allowing donors to use Google Pay or Apple Pay makes the donation process easy and secure.


5. Enable recurring donations

Offering the option for recurring donations on your mobile giving materials is the key to increasing your overall contributions. If it’s as easy as clicking a button, an interested donor will appreciate having the option to easily set up recurring donations.

What to know about recurring donations:

  • They can recur in weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual intervals. It’s up to your donor to choose their preference.
  • Using action-oriented language to illustrate how important recurring donations are to your mission will help demonstrate value to potential donors and give them a compelling reason to choose a recurring interval.
  • With the right mobile giving platform, these recurring donations are automated. Your organization won’t have to do any work to keep them going and your donor can log into their account at any time to update their giving preference.

6. Promote campaigns

Your campaigns won’t make it very far if you don’t do everything you can to promote them! Here are some avenues you can use to promote your campaigns:

  • Social media. Promoting through social media is easy and effective. Be sure to include an eye-grabbing graphic and all the information a potential donor needs to easily navigate to your donation form. Include an option for supporters to share your campaign on their social media, too.
  • Text reminders. If you have donor phone numbers and their consent to receive text messages, texts are a great way to make donors aware of a new campaign; and remind them of an existing campaign they haven’t given to yet. Keep these reminders short and simple.
  • Ads and Google Ad Grants. Ads are a great way to reach new and existing donors about a campaign. If your organization is a nonprofit, look into applying for a Google Ad Grant for up to $10,000 per month in ads.
  • Segmented email campaigns. Segmenting means sending emails to certain groups or subsets of your email list in an effort to personalize email campaigns as much as possible. Choosing segments based on demographics, location, or amount given in the past means you can get the right content to the right supporters. Decide the best way to promote your new mobile fundraising campaign to each segment. Create thoughtful, action-driven emails that suit each segment.
  • Dinners and other events. Invite important donors to an event celebrating the launch of your new campaign. Encourage them to share the news with their friends and, of course, to give themselves. Have mobile kiosks to make the most of your event!

Without promotion, your campaign has no chance at success.


7. Integrate mobile and direct mail

One surprising way to make mobile fundraising effective? Don’t forget about the power of mail!

Direct mail has a median return on investment of 29%, putting it just slightly behind social media at 30%. Include information about your text-to-give campaign, your new mobile app, and more on an easy-to-read and attractive direct mailing. Be sure to include instructions detailing how the recipient can participate.


8. Leverage current donors with peer-to-peer fundraising

You know you have some big fans out there—and big supporters. Now is the time to empower them to share your mobile giving campaign with their peers and through effective, mobile-friendly fundraising pages.

When you start a new peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, consider reaching out to some of your key supporters to ask them to fundraise on your behalf. After some brief training, they can reach out to their network to solicit donations on your behalf.

This takes some of the fundraising pressure off of your organization. Take advantage of the network you’ve already worked so hard to build by letting them do a little work to support your mission.


9. Set up text reminders

Because there are more avenues than ever for reaching donors—social media, mail, email, ads—it can be difficult to keep your organization on the top of a potential donor’s mind. Sending text reminders is an easy, effective way to remind donors that your campaign is still active and that your mission deserves support.

You can even schedule text reminders to go out at the most effective times. Since we know donors read text messages, this is a great way to ask them to keep you in mind as they navigate the many fundraising solicitations they get in a day.


10. Thank donors

Letting donors know how grateful you are for their donation and their time giving is crucial to maintaining strong donor-nonprofit relationships.

Use a donation form like Donorbox that automatically sends customized thank-you emails (optimized for mobile-friendly use, of course!) with the correct tax receipts to your donors. Acknowledging them in a timely way is key both so they feel appreciated and so they know their donation was received.

Here are some other unique ways to thank your donors for their mobile giving:

  • A virtual donor wall shows in real-time who’s giving to your organization. This is a fun way for donors to get some immediate recognition, and a platform like Donorbox will automatically add to the wall as donations come in.
  • Virtual donor appreciation events. Mobile giving means that your supporters might be from all over. Hosting a virtual event means supporters from all zip codes can tune in to enjoy fun festivities. Think about scheduling some interesting interviews or discussions, a fun Q&A, or something else that shows your donors how important their gifts are to your nonprofit.
  • Social media shoutouts! This is a fun way to share your appreciation and incentivize your other followers to give.

Thanking donors is a crucial step to building a lasting relationship. Don’t skimp on this best practice!


11. Provide support

Although you try to keep your mobile giving forms and options as simple as possible, keep in mind that your donors might still need support. They’re not experts! Always be sure to include simple instructions for how to get in touch in case of any questions or technical issues.


12. Make it secure

In order for a donor to feel comfortable with mobile giving, they need to know their information will be protected. Be sure to maintain proper PCI Compliance and have good systems in place for information management, including the right Payment Processor for your nonprofit. Your donor is giving their time and donation to your organization—be sure to protect them.


11 Features to Look for in a Mobile Giving Platform

Now that you’re aware of some of the best practices for mobile fundraising for nonprofits, it’s time to make sure your mobile giving platform fits your needs. It can be difficult to know exactly what to look for in a platform, so we’ve compiled a list of eleven features to make sure you have a giving platform that works for you.


1. Compatible with iOS and Android

iOS and Android operating systems make up 99% of all smartphones sold. So it may seem obvious, but it’s vital to have mobile giving opportunities that both major mobile operating systems can use. Both operating systems have similar requirements for mobile-friendly donation forms, but having a mobile giving platform optimized for both systems means you won’t be leaving one half of potential donors behind.

Serving both operating systems is also key to keep in mind if your organization is interested in making a custom app that would be available on both the App and Google Play stores.


2. Responsive landing pages

It only takes a loading time of anything over 0.1 seconds for the user of your webpage to notice a lag. If your landing page takes more than 10 seconds to load, you’ve lost your user’s attention.

Having a responsive, quick-loading landing page that’s easy to navigate is a key feature to expect from your mobile giving platform. Otherwise, you may lose out on donors who navigate away from your donation form before it’s even loaded.


3. Text-to-give

Be sure your mobile giving platform can tap into the power of text-to-give with smooth integration into your other mobile giving needs. Donorbox has text-to-give capabilities that are perfect for live events like church services, concerts, and conferences and great for direct mail and email integration.

To set up Donorbox’s text-to-give feature, all you have to do is enable text-to-give on your account and share your unique Campaign ID and the text-to-give number with your supporters. They’ll text your ID to the number and get a link to donate back! Take a look at this example to see how simple it is.



The best part is that once your supporters donate via text once, all they have to do to donate again is reply with a set keyword—they won’t have to fill out the form again. This means quick donations for your organization and a convenient donation process for your supporters!

Here’s how to add on text-to-give capabilities for any campaign from your Donorbox dashboard:

Once you enable text-to-give, you can find your campaign ID and start sharing it with your supporters right away.


4. Social media integration

It’s important that your mobile giving platform can smoothly make the transition from your website to your social media. You want campaign materials that look good, respond well, and provide the best experience to your mobile supporters.

Remember how important it is to promote any new campaigns! With good social media posts that include a direct call-to-action, you can generate mobile donations by connecting social media followers with your online donation form.

Donorbox’s donation form also allows your donors to quickly share your campaign with their own followers. All they have to do is click the icon for Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter and they will automatically be prompted to post your campaign.


5. Recurring donations

It’s important that your mobile giving platform offers recurring donations so you can offer your donors the option of easily giving more than once—meaning more donations for your organization. With Donorbox, it’s easy to customize your intervals and even mark a preferred interval so your donors know how their giving could make the most impact.

When you’re customizing your donation form for a new campaign, simply check the intervals you want to offer as an option to your supporters. Once those recurring donations start coming in, you can easily monitor them; and check each donor’s giving history from your Donorbox dashboard.


6. Donors can cover fees

This is a feature that allows donors the choice to cover any fees your mobile giving platform might require. Allowing donors to cover fees both saves your organization money and makes your supporters feel like their donation is Impactful.

Implementing this option should be as easy as clicking a button. With Donorbox, you can select the option to ask donors to cover the processing fee and make that the default option for every donor who uses your donation page.

Here’s an example of a Donorbox donation form that automatically selects “cover fees” for your donors; and encourages them to make the most of their contribution to your mission. The fees are added to their total donation; so all they have to do is enter their information and click the donation button.


7. Donor segmentation

Having a built-in option to analyze your donors in different segments is key to understanding how successful certain campaign promotion activities were. Looking at that information can also help you understand your donors; how often they give, where they come from, how much they give, and more. Being able to easily sort lists based on these attributes means you can practice email segmenting too. You reach out to only certain donors to try to target your promotion to their interests as much as possible.


8. Automated thank-you emails

Automating your thank-you emails saves you time and means your donors get the recognition they deserve as quickly as possible. It also lets them know right away that their donation was successful and appreciated.

With Donorbox, you can customize your thank-you emails to add important information about how donations help serve your mission.


9. Company gift matching

Some companies offer gift-matching programs as an added benefit for their employees and as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives. Your organization should choose a mobile giving platform; it will allow you to easily take advantage of these programs and double your fundraising efforts!

Donorbox has partnered with Double the Donation, the leading corporate donation matching company. All your donors have to do is to search for the name of their company in a search field that’s already built into the donation form.

Once the donation is complete, the donor receives a link to a donation matching page. It includes their employer’s matching procedures. This page is branded with your organization’s materials and has your tax ID and contact information. It also includes frequently asked questions and more resources for corporate matching.


10. Tax receipt automation

Your donors go out of their way to support your organization. That’s why it’s so important to give your donors timely tax receipts. If contributions to your organization are tax-deductible, your donors will want the appropriate receipt for their records as soon as possible; so they can file it for their tax purposes.

Automating tax receipts saves your nonprofit time and effort that can be spent on more proactive fundraising initiatives. With a mobile giving platform like Donorbox, all you have to do is adjust the settings so your tax receipts have all the correct information and then let the automation do the rest of the work. Your donors get their correct receipts right away and you have one fewer task to worry about.

Donorbox also helps you easily compile year-end tax receipts with all donations a donor has made that year.


11. Secure payment processing

As mentioned above, it’s so important to keep your donors’ information secure. You want to protect your donor’s payment information; not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because you don’t want to lose any potential donors over insecure payment processing.

You want to give your donors the option to use mobile payment technology companies like Google Pay and Apple Pay. These are convenient, safe options that your donors trust for storing their payment information.

When it comes to payment processors, it’s great to have options. That’s why you should choose a mobile giving platform like Donorbox that gives you the option to use Stripe or PayPal as your payment processor. Both are secure ways to accept payments but have slightly different costs and benefits. The opportunity to choose which works best for your organization means more customization; while keeping your donors’ information safe and sound.


Start Collecting More Mobile Donations

You might be wondering: how do I get started? It can be overwhelming to start a new initiative that serves all the best practices outlined above. That’s where Donorbox comes in.

With its easy-to-use features and quick-start approach, Donorbox helps you build a beautiful new mobile-friendly donation form with an option for recurring donations that you can embed into your website in minutes. Starting a new campaign with Donorbox gives you the option to add in text-to-give opportunities and a company matching component as you get familiarized with the world of mobile giving.

Ready to get started? Create a free account to learn more about how Donorbox’s solutions can serve your new fundraising approach.

Lindsey Baker is a writer and nonprofit professional, drawing from her experience working various roles at an art nonprofit. Over the years, she has learned keen administrative and development strategies to make every aspect of a nonprofit's fundraising strategy shine.

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