Do Non-profits Need Mobile Marketing?

There are many elements to successful digital marketing:  a website that is effective at converting visitors to subscribers, SEO, email marketing, content marketing, and social media.  Add to that list mobile marketing which has exploded in the last couple of years, and you have a powerful lineup to help find supporters, recruit volunteers, and solicit donations for your non-profit organization.

Why Mobile Marketing Blows Email Marketing Away

It may be tempting for some non-profits to overlook mobile marketing due to the fact that it’s one more piece of the marketing pie to keep track of, measure, and try to maximize its impact.  However, the reach and engagement of text marketing is simply too powerful to be ignored.  It’s estimated that 98% of text messages are opened, and 85% read within the first 15 minutes of receipt.  Compare this to email marketing with an average open rate of 11%, and you can very easily see why mobile marketing must be an actively applied tool in your overall digital outreach strategy.

Creating Your Mobile Campaign

In order to have an audience to engage, you’ll need to include an opt-in on your website where visitors can input their mobile numbers.  Ask your Facebook fans and Twitter followers to provide phone numbers through an app or link, respectively.  If you have a strong database already without mobile numbers, announce that your non-profit would like to begin communicating with its supporters via mobile messaging.

Keep it Simple

When designing your first text marketing campaign, focus on these principles:

  • Targeted – choose who will be your audience from your roster of supporters
  • To the point – keep texts under 140 characters and always include a link
  • Timely – text about an event or fundraising effort shortly before a deadline to maximize your chances of reaching your attendance or financial goals

Use text marketing not just as a fundraising tool (we’ll get to that in a moment), but also as a means to communicate appreciation for your loyal supporters, volunteers, and donors.  Texts should only be a part of an overall coordinated marketing campaign, and not relied on exclusively to build awareness for a single goal, event, or public announcements.

Text Marketing is a Fundraiser’s Dream

One of the best reasons non-profits should be running to embrace mobile marketing is the brilliantly convenient and unorthodox way it can turn a smart phone into a donation machine.  By texting a short and persuasive message, paired with a call to action for donations in small increments (such as $5 or $10), donors can simply reply with a chosen word and do not have to trifle with checkbooks or credit cards to give to your cause.  Your message will need to be specific, not just a plea to donate to your non-profit “just because of the good we do in the community.”  Vague doesn’t cut it in any kind of marketing.  Tell a story (in less than 140 characters) and include a word for recipients to text back to donate the specified amount.  Almost anyone can afford to add $5 – $10 onto their monthly phone bill.  The trick is to not text requests such as these more than once a month, and do not make the mistake of soliciting donations exclusively.  If you do, donors will get ticked off and your messages will be ignored.

Tools for Mobile Fundraising

One of the most popular and effective tools for non-profit’s ready to take the mobile fundraising plunge is MobiPledge.  This nifty program can provide mobile donations that are secure, customized, and meet all federal and state fundraising reporting guidelines.  It can have offer a suggested donation amount, or allow the donor to choose his or her own.  MobiPledge can also design a donation app for your non-profit’s Facebook page to maximize the reach of your campaign’s fundraising efforts.

With a few simple steps and thoughtful strategy, your mobile marketing endeavor can mean increased donor engagement and financial goals realized.