Within days of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan, more than 10 groups launched mobile donation campaigns to aid in the relief efforts. All four of the United States’ top operators and several smaller carriers are supporting the campaigns, managed by top nonprofits in the mobile giving space.
These mobile giving efforts will be on the minds of many at this week’s second-annual Innogive Conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Innovative Giving Foundation. The Innovative Giving Foundation is the nonprofit arm of MobileCause, a for-profit company that has developed a Web-based mobile campaign management platform for charitable organizations.
This year’s one-day conference, sponsored by MobileCause, the Nonprofit Technology Network and the Verizon Foundation, will cover some of the key issues that have emerged in the mobile donation space since the industry’s landmark work last year in Haiti, such as avoiding cannibalization of nonprofit’s existing subscriber base.
“There is no more personal and prolific way to reach prospective and current donors than through the mobile device,” says Danny Scalisi, president and COO of MobileCause. “We believe social media, online and text, chat, voice communication will all converge and be consumed on the mobile platform in ways that dwarf any other channel.”
Verizon Foundation President Rose Stuckey Kirk, Salvation Army spokesman Major George and Katya Andresen, COO of Network for Good, will deliver keynote speeches at the event. The conference will also host sessions on trends in mobile giving, social media, smartphones and ways to grow lists of potential mobile donors.
The nonprofit community has had to adapt to rapid changes in technology to reach younger, tech-savvy donors. Traditional methods of soliciting funds, such as direct mail, have proved less effective with younger generations, prompting charitable organizations to search for new ways of engaging youthful donors.
Mobile donations came to the fore during the Haiti disaster, when the American Red Cross raised more than $32 million through the wireless channel alone. Now, some larger nonprofits and organizations within the charitable community are searching for new ways to leverage the wireless channel to help their cause. Scalisi says nonprofits have begun to realize that the wireless channel is an important new way to reach donors, but isn’t a panacea.
“What you had after Haiti was every organization in the world believing the answer to their eroding donor base was a $5 and $10 carrier billed donation,” Scalisi says. “The market has begun to reset its expectations along a longer term strategic set of goals, making mobile tools and strategies center to new and current donor outreach campaigns, marketing, CRM and event based fundraising.”
The Innogive conference runs tomorrow, March 16, at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C.