The following is an article pulled from an e-newsletter that I receive from a friend and former associate. What is particularly interesting about this perspective is the new paradigms that technology is bringing to the fundraising/development arena. Please enjoy.
SMS Fundraising: Could it get any easier?
What is it?
It’s not SOS, but SMS (Short Message Service), that is a relevant acronym to modern, tecnologically-accustomed donors. On the day of Live 8, 26.4 million people worldwide sent a text message calling for an end to world poverty. Following the tsunami, TV and radio ads all over the world invited people to send a text message which would cost more than a regular message and count as a donation towards the relief efforts. Many charities have stepped into this area, from the Red Cross to ‘Help a London Child’, utilising this easy, quick and cheap method of tapping our philanthropic inclination.
Who might use it?
Everyone who’s anyone has got a mobile phone, right?
Mobile phone owndership continues to grow, and is now edging the saturation point in many areas. Among 11 to 16-year-olds, future young donors, the proliferation is even greater.
- The mobile phone is usually close at hand.
- Texting is easy, simple and familiar for most mobile phone owners, especially young people.
- It’s significantly less hassle than writing a cheque or giving your credit card details.
- It’s an easy way to collect donations from crowds, for example, at large events like Spring Harvest, at concerts or youth Bible weeks.
- As donations are usually small, it avoids arousing displeasure of being asked to support ‘yet another’ charitable cause (some people’s bugbear).
. . . and Cons
- The ROI for the donor on a text message currently seems to be around 60-70%. One company which sets up SMS services for charities pays the charity £2.06 from a £3 donation. The reason is that texts are treated as other Premium services for tax purposes (not as much a factor in the US). This status may change in the future.
Is SMS fundraising good for your organization?
The main consideration would be the nature of your mass donors – are they modern and mobile or tend to be conservative pensioners happy with their cheques and direct debits (EFT)? If you host large gatherings or do a lot of promotions, SMS could be effective.
In short, its a donation channel which accesses new demographic segments through new media, bringing in funds you may not have tapped into otherwise. Try casting your net.
By Jon Wright, McConkey/Johnston International UK Associate
I hope you find the article interesting and helpful. It does provide a new perspective and a new channel into a demographic that many non-profits are finding difficult to reach.
Just a thought.