Are Qwerty Monsters the Nonprofit Donors of the Future? | Beth's Blog

Are Qwerty Monsters the Nonprofit Donors of the Future?

Digital Strategy

Google and Microsoft sent me mobile phones in response to my complaints about the Apple iPhone in-app donation policy.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in the final #zoogood Twitter chat of 2010.   The topic we explored was mobile fundraising, ranging from best practices, integration and why applications on phones haven’t taken off.   I’m in learning mode, so this post is a quick summary of insights, questions, and resources.   I’m also in a steep learning curve with my two new mobile phones – the Windows 7 phone from Microsoft and Nexus S Android from Google.

Planning for Integration First

Integration and campaign planning are key.  Mobile can’t be this separate tactic or channel in your communications strategy.   Also, fundraising may not be your first objective with mobile.   You need to ask and answer the same questions you would for any communications, marketing, or fundraising strategy.   What is your objective?   Who is the target audience?  What is your message and what do you want the audience to do?    How do your all your communication channels work together to inform, engage, and motivate?  Is mobile the best way to reach your target audience?  How will you measure success?

To avoid getting  seduced by “shiny object syndrome” get educated about Mobile Campaign Basics for Nonprofits and spend some time reflecting those strategic questions.   If you skip that, your mobile tactics  won’t yield much impact or learning.    What we witnessed over a year ago with SMS donations to the Haiti disaster is not going to be the norm for nonprofits.

Maybe that first step is research.   A simple audience survey to learn:   How is your target audience  using their mobile phones? Are they using their phones for shopping or other transactions involving credit cards?   What would be of most value to your existing audience – information, ability to transactions, and how?  What phones and apps are they using?  Certainly, these and other questions would be a good start for a survey.   Also, there is secondary data to review and your web site analytics.

Are Qwerty Monsters the Nonprofit Donors Via Mobile Phones of the Future?

Qwerty Monsters are teens, age 13-17, who have gone mad for texting on their mobile phones.   According to a recent Nielsen study,  they don’t do much else but text and breathe.   While they may not be using nonprofit created apps or donating via SMS,  are the next generation of nonprofit donors following on the heels of Millennials?

A new report from Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University suggests that “Millennial” donors (adults born since 1981) have different approaches to giving, and suggests ways to adapt to a more connected and global-minded generation.  A summary of this report from AFP points to statistics from Pew Internet and American Life Millennial Study:  Ninety-three percent of Millennials regularly go online, with 50 percent of this population using mobile Internet.   Even though Millennials give in smaller amounts, the report also suggests that donation amounts are more keyed to where a person is in their phase of life – and that Millennials will be entering years of earning more money.   Are larger gift amounts soon to follow?

The Increment Steps To Impact

Larger organizations may have the capacity and resources to make a bigger investment.   But many smaller organizations don’t.  That’s why it is a good idea to start with small, incremental steps and a low-risk proof of pilot where you can measure the impact and learn.    For example, focusing it on an event or taking an easy first step of making sure your web site is readable on a mobile phone.   After all, it is your URL – whether people view on a big desktop computer screen or a tiny mobile screen.

According to this recent nonprofits and mobile survey summarized on the NTEN Blog, only 16% of the surveyed nonprofits plan on having mobile websites in 2011 compared to 90% of surveyed nonprofits use email marketing and social media in their engagement strategies.   Making your web site readable on a mobile phone can be as easy as picking low hanging fruit, especially for blogs using WP platform.

If your web site is due for a redesign,  it is a good idea to think through a mobile version or content in the process.   Depending on the scale and amount of content on your organization’s site, you may also need to take an incremental approach and prioritized particular sections.    Again, understanding how your current audience is using your web site and what they are most likely to consume on their mobile phones can guide phasing.

Example of Integrated Mobile Campaign:  Salvation Army

A question about examples of integrated mobile fundraising campaigns came up.     The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign came up, which is using multiple channels including mobile.   I’d be interested in a case study that looks at lessons learned and results.

Looks like 2011 is going to be the year for to explore and learn about how mobile integrates with social media and other communications channels.

Is mobile on your organization’s radar for 2011?  What questions do you have?  What are you learning so far?

5 Responses

  1. Daniel says:

    What do you think about these guys?

  2. Cheryl Black says:

    While I’m not surprised that a low percentage of nonprofits have their website optimized for mobile viewing (probably low on the priority list compared to programs and staffing), I’m anxious for that number to climb. As a person born after 1981, I’m on my phone and the web via my phone all the time. The sites that are optimized are my go-to sites. Others…a hassle. Fingers crossed we’ll see an up-tick in this soon!

  3. […] that you need to demonstrate the usefulness.   If all else fails,  the message should be that the organization risks being irrelevant to its stakeholders.   As the morning keynote presenter Major George Hood, Salvation Army said,  “Everything will […]

  4. […] that you need to demonstrate the usefulness.   If all else fails,  the message should be that the organization risks being irrelevant to its stakeholders.   As the morning keynote presenter Major George Hood, Salvation Army said,  “Everything will […]

  5. […] to have a cell phone or not to be connected to Facebook. The media has dubbed this generation “Qwerty Monsters”; they send hundreds of text messages a day and don’t even like to use their phone for calls. […]