The mGive Foundation says a new survey found that mobile donations are unlikely to deter people from donating by traditional channels such as through websites or direct mail.
The survey, conducted for mGive by the fundraising group CCS, found that 80 percent of respondents who regularly gave money to charities online and through the mail said donating money by SMS would not stop them from giving a larger amount through other channels.
“The number one question that nonprofits have right now is whether donations through the mobile channel cannibalize larger gifts. The study confirms that over 80 percent will still give – it doesn’t preclude them from giving through another channel,” says Jenifer Synder, executive director of the mGive Foundation. “The study will give some nonprofits who had been a little bit fearful of entering the mobile space the confidence they need to develop a more robust mobile strategy.”
Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they intended to continue giving by text and cited convenience as their top reason for using SMS. More than 60 percent of respondents donated to two or more organizations as a result of a text-based mobile donation campaign, and nearly one-fifth of those surveyed said text messages were their preferred method of charitable giving, compared to 22 percent for direct mail and 60 percent for e-mail.
The survey also looked at donors’ appetites for higher giving amounts. About three-quarters of respondents said $25 was the most they would donate by SMS, while 15 percent said $50 was their maximum for a text-based donation and nine percent said they would consider giving up to $100 by SMS.
The mGive Foundation plans to conduct two more surveys about mobile giving in the coming months to conduct a more in-depth assessment of attitudes around higher donation levels and to learn more about which wireless subscribers are using SMS to give to nonprofits. The group began a trial in November of last year with several top U.S. carriers that raised the maximum mobile donation level from $10 to $25. The foundation wants to see whether higher donation levels will result in bill shock and hopes to minimize the potential effect of the higher price point on refund rates. The results from the trial are slated to be released in March.
“We want to reduce risk,” Synder says. “We have really low refund rates in the space right now and we’re trying to understand how the $25 price point will affect that. The appetite is definitely high for higher price points.”
The CCS study is the first designed to specifically examine the behavior of mobile text donors. The consulting firm surveyed 253 donors who agreed to answer questions through their smartphone’s Web browser or by e-mail about their mobile donation habits.