Stewarding Mobile Donors: 5 Top Tips

Posted by Juebong Khwarg on

Phone with apps.jpgCopyright: logo3in1 / 123RF Stock Photo

Mobile is the present and future of fundraising.

Did you know that:

  • Now, about 90% of American adults own smartphones?
  • 60% of all web traffic comes from browsers on mobile devices?
  • Mobile donations have increased by 205% in just the past year?

 

In other words, your nonprofit could be missing out on lots of opportunities to connect with your donors and win donations if you aren’t developing mobile stewardship strategies.

 

To clarify, here stewardship refers to the comprehensive strategy nonprofits use to engage and build relationships with their donors.

 

Stewardship is a key part of fundraising. It allows your organization to take a more personal approach to your donors, which results in a more invested donor base. And a more invested donor base will stick with you and keep giving for longer!

 

If your organization isn’t sure how to start approaching your donors through mobile, keep reading to check out some top mobile stewardship tips, including:

  1. Make sure your website is mobile-responsive.
  2. Establish a text marketing list.
  3. Create mobile-responsive email campaigns.
  4. Engage donors with Snapchat at your next event.
  5. Run a peer-to-peer campaign.

 

With these strategies under your belt, you’ll be able to engage your donors from anywhere. That is, as long as they have their smartphones on hand (and who doesn’t nowadays?)!

 

1. Make sure your website is mobile-responsive.

Mobile Donation

 

Why is it a great strategy?

Your digital fundraising strategy should start with your nonprofit’s website.

 

Your website is the cornerstone of your online presence, and it’s the place to feature all important information about your organization.

 

It’s where many new supporters will first encounter your organization’s work, and it’s where many donors will give online.

 

That being the case, your website is absolutely crucial to the success of your stewardship and fundraising.

 

Considering that a majority of your browsers (remember that 60% we mentioned earlier?) will likely arrive at your website from their phone or tablet, your website should be mobile-responsive.

 

Mobile-responsive simply means that your website is just as attractive and easy to navigate on a mobile device as it would be on a computer. When your site is mobile-responsive, mobile browsers won’t have to pinch, zoom, or manipulate their screens in any way to interact with your content.

 

Mobile-responsiveness leads to an excellent user experience for everyone, no matter the device they’re browsing on.

 

The better the experience with your website is, the longer your supporters will stay on your site and the more likely they are to stick around long enough to engage with you in other ways.

 

How is it done?

Most page builders use a responsive-technology framework that will automatically optimize your site for mobile.

 

However, there are still a few things your nonprofit can do to make your site more mobile friendly, such as:

  • Using a minimal design that doesn’t include too many elements.
  • Using a vertical, one column layout.
  • Using large, easy-to-read fonts (sans serif are the clearest on screens).
  • Using bigger call-to-action buttons.

 

If you really want to know whether or not your website is mobile-responsive, take out your smartphone and view it for yourself!

 

The takeaway: Designing your website with mobile in mind ensures that all of your browsers will have an excellent experience with your website, leading to more mobile engagement.

Bonus: Check out some of Neon’s other top web design tips!

 

2. Establish a text marketing list.

text marketing

 

Why is it a great strategy?

While texting is currently one of the most popular communication channels, many nonprofits are unaware that they can utilize texting to engage their donors.

 

And even if they are aware of the option to connect with donors over SMS, there are many misconceptions that can make them hesitant to get started.

 

However, since your donors likely text on a daily basis, many of them might prefer to receive communications from your organization through this channel. That means SMS marketing is a particularly excellent stewardship strategy, because you’re meeting donors where they are, and they won’t have to learn a new interface to interact with you.

 

Not to mention, SMS marketing is fairly easy to set up and has high open rates (about 98%!). That is much higher than the average open rate for email outreach, which is only 25% on average for nonprofit organizations.

[Tweet "Not to mention, SMS marketing is fairly easy to set up and has high open rates (about 98%!)."]

 

Which brings us to the main point: If you really want to steward your donors over mobile, start texting them!

At the very least, it’s practically guaranteed that they’ll open your outreach, which is the first step to engaging them.

 

How is it done?

To get started with text marketing, you’ll need to enlist the help of an SMS software provider.

 

Similar to email marketing providers, these services allow you to set up a text list so you can send out text messages in bulk. Your supporters have to opt-in to receive your messages, so you’ll never run the risk of inadvertently bothering someone who doesn’t wish to receive texts from your nonprofit.

 

Once you’ve established a text list, you’ll want to split your list into different groups and target them with individualized outreach strategies based on their relationships with your organization.

 

For a basic example, you might have a separate text list for first-time donors, recurring donors, and members.

 

How you choose to engage your supporters will depend on their preferences and the needs of your organization.

 

But to give you a few ideas, you could:

  • Send donors updates about fundraising campaigns.
  • Share organizational news or links to content.
  • Engage donors with surveys, quizzes, and other interactive games.
  • Request advocacy actions or provide donors with other ways to get involved.
  • Remind donors to attend events or to complete a donation.
  • And more!

 

The possibilities are endless. It’s all about sending each of your constituent groups the content that’s most likely to appeal to them.

 

The takeaway: SMS outreach is popular among donors and has high open rates, making it a particularly effective mobile stewardship strategy.

Bonus: Check out Trumpia’s infographic to learn more about the basics of SMS marketing.

 

3. Create mobile-responsive email campaigns.

mobile-responsive email campaigns

 

Why is it a great strategy?

Email has become one of the primary outreach channels that nonprofits use to make asks and otherwise engage their donors.

In fact, about ⅓ of all online donations occur through email.

 

To receive more donations and appeal to more of your donors’ outreach preferences, your nonprofit should definitely be developing email campaigns to steward your donors.

 

And, chances are, if a majority of your donors are surfing the web from their mobile devices, they’re checking their emails there, too.

 

If your emails aren’t mobile-responsive, they’re not going to provide your donors with a positive user experience. When donors have to manipulate their screens to read and interact with your emails, they’re far less likely to engage with those emails.

 

That means you could potentially be missing out on plenty of mobile stewardship opportunities and a significant portion of donations from one of your primary outreach channels.

 

Don’t miss out on your mobile donors! Make sure that you’re developing email outreach strategies and that each email is optimized for mobile.

 

How is it done?

Executing your email outreach will be similar to how you execute your SMS marketing.

 

Your nonprofit will need to use an excellent email marketing service that will allow you to send messages in bulk without tipping off any spam filters.

 

To make your email outreach as effective as possible, you’ll want to integrate your email marketing service with your donor database.

 

This will allow you to easily segment your list based on any of the donor data fields you have in your CRM. That way, you can better target your donors with individualized outreach strategies.

 

Next, you’ll want to create relevant email campaigns for each list. For example, your members would probably be interested in different aspects of your organization than your volunteers would.

 

Your outreach strategies will differ depending on each group, but no matter who you’re contacting, remember: don’t always ask!

You should be varying your outreach to build the deepest and most valuable relationships with your donors. Send other opportunities to get involved and/or share news and updates.

 

When you do ask, remember to include the link to your online donation page, which should be just as mobile friendly as the email itself.

 

The takeaway: Email is an important fundraising and outreach channel for nonprofits. To make your email outreach as compelling as possible, develop targeted outreach strategies and double check that your emails are mobile-responsive.

 

4. Engage donors with Snapchat at your fundraising events.

Snapchat

 

Why it’s a great strategy?

Social media should definitely be a part of any comprehensive digital fundraising strategy.

 

We’re willing to bet that your organization is already on Facebook and Twitter, but have you considered Snapchat?

 

Snapchat is all the rage in social media right now, but many nonprofits aren’t sure how to use it to steward their donors.

 

It’s understandable. How is it possible for your organization to connect with donors when you only have 1-10 seconds to make an impact?

 

While Snapchat certainly isn’t the best platform for sharing in-depth content or making digital asks, it can really come in handy in person.

 

You can use Snapchat at your fundraising events as an additional opportunity to engage and entertain both donors who are at the event and those who can’t make it. It’s an excellent way to connect your offline and online stewardship.

 

When donors enjoy your events, they’ll be more invested in your organization, which means they’re more likely to become longtime givers.

 

How is it done?

Use Snapchat to live stream your fundraising events.

 

Assign one of your social-media savvy staff members to be the Snapchat curator for the night. They should both take original footage and encourage guests to share their own.

 

You can feature your collage on your organization’s Snapchat story, so both donors near and far can see it.

 

Your guests will love the opportunity to have their personal experiences featured by your organization. It’s sure to make them feel special!

 

Supporters who can’t make it, on the other hand, will still get to experience your event in real-time. When they see all of the fun you’re having, it will (almost) be like they were there themselves!

 

The takeaway: Using Snapchat during fundraising events will make donors in attendance feel like their perspectives are valued. It also allows you to extend your event stewardship to donors who aren’t present. It’s a win-win!

 

5. Run a peer-to-peer campaign.

peer-to-peer campaign

 

Why is it a great strategy?

Peer-to-peer has many benefits for nonprofits that can help them make their fundraising more effective.

 

For those of you who may still be unfamiliar with them—during peer-to-peer campaigns, organizations enable donors to fundraise on their behalf. Donors-turned-fundraisers primarily use social media to request donations from friends, family, and other peers.

 

What does this have to do with mobile, exactly? Social media and mobile are inextricably linked. It’s estimated that about 80% of social media time is spent on mobile devices.

 

And if you really want to steward your supporters over social media, there’s no better way to do so than with peer-to-peer. Donors will be actively working on your behalf, so you’ll have ample opportunity to communicate with them.

 

Plus, since your fundraisers are drawing off of their own networks, p2p is an excellent way for your organization to organically grow your base. New donors are far more likely to give when a trusted peer is the one requesting donations.

 

In other words, peer-to-peer campaigns can help your organization better engage your existing donors and win lots of new ones!

 

How is it done?

Peer-to-peer will only work for your organization if your donors are interested in participating.

 

Send out an email to your longtime, loyal supporters to gauge their interest. If you get a warm response, it’s a good sign that p2p is right for you.

 

Once you have a group of supporters who agree to fundraise on your behalf, you’ll need to find excellent peer-to-peer software.

 

This software will allow you to equip your fundraisers with the right tools. Primarily, they’ll need individualized online donation pages that they can use to collect contributions from their peers.

 

Throughout the campaign, you should be monitoring the progress of your fundraisers and providing them with plenty of support.

For example, you could:

  • Share updates about the campaign.
  • Highlight fundraisers who have played a big part in helping you reach your goals.
  • Like, comment on, or share fundraisers’ posts.
  • Provide additional assistance to fundraisers who need a little extra help reaching their goals.

 

Remember to record all of the new donor data you receive in your CRM so that you can start stewarding your new donors, too!

 

The takeaway: Peer-to-peer campaigns are a highly active way to engage your new donors and a highly effective way to secure new ones.

 

Now that you’ve read our tips, hopefully your nonprofit is inspired to start developing your own mobile stewardship strategies.

 

By having these strategies in place, you’ll be better able to engage your donors, wherever they might be. And an engaged donor base is one that keeps giving.

 

Now, get out there and go mobile!

 

About The Author:
Jeff Gordy is the Co-Founder and CEO of Z2 Systems, Inc., the makers of NeonCRM for nonprofits. Jeff has been working with his team for the last 12 years on building the optimal fundraising, CRM database, and marketing solution for nonprofits. Before starting the company, Jeff worked for the Kidney Cancer Association and knew that nonprofits needed better software solutions to help with their many challenges.

 

For more information on how you can take advantage of mobile communications to raise money for your nonprofit, download the complimentary Mobile Marketing Success Kit.

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Topics: How to non-profit fundraising