The DO’s of Launching a Mobile Marketing Program

DMW Fundraising: The DO’s of Launching a Mobile Marketing Program
Date Published
04/06/2016

Mobile marketing is the new frontier for fundraising, and for good reason. There’s no more immediate or personal way to reach a donor. 97% of US adults carry a mobile phone. 74% have a smartphone. What’s more, it’s irresistible: 99% of text messages are read, and 90% are read within 3 minutes.

We’re not talking about the old “Text to Give” model – nowadays fundraisers can promote a simple keyword and a short code to ask donors to respond with a gift. Simply text WDMW to 41444! A text message is automatically sent in response, with a link to a mobile-optimized donation form that accepts donations of any size – including recurring gifts. Engagement messages can be sent also, to inform the donor or prospect and deepen his/her relationship with your cause.

Once you’ve contracted with a mobile provider, here are some “DO’s” to get you started.

  • Identify mobile numbers already on your database by uploading a list of phone numbers to your mobile provider, who will verify donors who have an active mobile number. 30% to 80% of numbers on a list are mobile, and they rarely change. Many donors will keep their mobile number for their entire lifetime.
  • Begin to collect mobile numbers on mail response devices. This is as important, or more so, than collecting email addresses, given the higher open rates!
  • Start promoting your donation keyword using other channels, such as email, social media, website, on-air, and mail.
  • Make it easy to opt in for mobile messages. Put an opt-in form on your web page.
  • Create some fun engagement offers to build your list, such as
    • Text for download of a special ringtone.
    • At a wine-tasting event, text in your favorite wine for chance to win a bottle.
    • Text in answers to a survey.
  • Before sending messages, you must either Invite or Subscribe people to receive your messages. Invite means sending an initial message asking for a reply giving permission. Subscribe means sending an initial message notifying them that they will receive messages unless they opt out. Invites receive a much lower response rate; subscribing is much more successful.
  • Be transparent about your plans for contacting them on their mobile device. Let donors know you’ll be sending updates, special offers, invitations, and opportunities to be involved or give.
  • Continue to deepen relationships that lead to giving with your outbound messaging. Keep donors passionate and in the know with updates on your organization’s work.
  • Engage your donors with alerts about activities, and links to video.
  • Keep your tone conversational and personal. Build their trust – invite them in.
  • Speak to affinities. “Club” donors can get texts when something new happens in their interest area.
  • Make them feel special. Consider “Insider” event notifications to monthly givers, midlevel and major donors, giving them the first chance to sign up as a benefit.
  • When it’s time to ask for a gift, make it a simple call to action, and simple to respond. Be as clear as possible so that donors know exactly what to expect. “Text KDMW to 41444 to make a donation with your credit card.” This will help reduce the number of unfulfilled pledges.
  • Report back to your donors. Thank them and share the results of your latest fundraising campaign.

Mobile marketing can become the fundraiser’s best friend because it has urgency coupled with an ease of response. Think about the response rate you’d get to a text with a Midnight Renewal message – “Your membership expires at midnight tonight. Click this link to renew now!”

The final “DO”: Start your Mobile Marketing adventure now! Begin mapping a one-to-one journey that creates donor loyalty. The fully integrated communication plan of tomorrow – and today – includes mobile giving.

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