The fundraising potential of mobile giving and other shiny objects

Non-Profit Chas tells us Why You Should Ignore Mobile Giving:

… it’s just another shiny object to distract us from our fundraising fundamentals — communicating our mission, building relationships, and helping donors understand how best to support us.

So true. Countless hours are being wasted by people at nonprofits pursuing the doubtful promises of mobile giving. The conferences are full of sessions where people eagerly hear how they can get in on the mobile giving gold rush.

Like most gold-rush hopefuls, almost all of them are wasting their time. Unless you’re the Red Cross and have the First Lady and every other celebrity pushing it for you, the potential is painfully low.

Here are some other shiny objects that probably aren’t worth spending much time on:


  • Smartphone apps.
  • Millennials.
  • All social media other than Facebook.
  • Probably Facebook too.

If you’re serious about raising funds, you should spend some time on grubby old unexciting objects that are bringing home the bacon at astounding levels. Things like these:


  • Direct mail.
  • Telemarketing.
  • Email.
  • Search engine marketing and optimization.

Or maybe you should look into some slightly shiny objects that might (or might not) work for you:


  • Print fundraising.
  • Broadcast fundraising.
  • Face-to-face fundraising.
  • Events.

The shiny objects attract our attention. But they’re mainly just distractions from our real business: Motivating lots of people to support our causes.


Comments

12 responses to “The fundraising potential of mobile giving and other shiny objects”

  1. Hi,
    Would love to know what your basis for this blog post is, as there seems to be plenty of good examples for – would be great to see what the evidence for the argument against is (rather than just ‘don’t bother).
    Was also really interested in your comment about social media especially – why only facebook?
    FYI, I found this article through twitter…
    Cheers,
    Sam

  2. Hi,
    Would love to know what your basis for this blog post is, as there seems to be plenty of good examples for – would be great to see what the evidence for the argument against is (rather than just ‘don’t bother).
    Was also really interested in your comment about social media especially – why only facebook?
    FYI, I found this article through twitter…
    Cheers,
    Sam

  3. I find it interesting you say this. Why not engage in all this? Social media doesn’t cost anything and reaches MILLIONS of people. It’s by no means time consuming either…While it may not be the MOST influential and profound, it certainly can help

  4. I find it interesting you say this. Why not engage in all this? Social media doesn’t cost anything and reaches MILLIONS of people. It’s by no means time consuming either…While it may not be the MOST influential and profound, it certainly can help

  5. I think these comments, particularly on how mobile apps and Millennials are likely shiny objects not worth spending time on, are a bit dangerous.
    When it comes to the sustainability of nonprofit organizations – new and emerging technologies, as well as the generations who use them – MUST be considered when planning for your current and future fundraising initiatives.
    Sure, those over 70 years old today are not using social media, not giving through mobile or using smartphone apps – and ARE making up the majority of individual giving. However, not diversifying your communications and fundraising initiatives to reach those who want to be spoken to and engaged with where they are at (social media and mobile) is a great way to lose futurs supporters who sooner than later can give those bigger gifts.

  6. I think these comments, particularly on how mobile apps and Millennials are likely shiny objects not worth spending time on, are a bit dangerous.
    When it comes to the sustainability of nonprofit organizations – new and emerging technologies, as well as the generations who use them – MUST be considered when planning for your current and future fundraising initiatives.
    Sure, those over 70 years old today are not using social media, not giving through mobile or using smartphone apps – and ARE making up the majority of individual giving. However, not diversifying your communications and fundraising initiatives to reach those who want to be spoken to and engaged with where they are at (social media and mobile) is a great way to lose futurs supporters who sooner than later can give those bigger gifts.

  7. Rob Daly (Australia) Avatar
    Rob Daly (Australia)

    It is about balance of $$ effort to $$ reward.
    People and organisations become distracted, and unless they have deep pockets to learn and test, or a paradigm shifting approach to fundraising (see kiva.org, getup.org.au), they shouldn’t forget the basics.
    BTW: Smartphone apps should not be confused with Smartphones as a platform (like PC’s) for viewing and interacting with emails, search engine marketing and taking donations with Smartphones due to overtake PC’s to view digital content – http://mashable.com/2011/03/23/mobile-by-the-numbers-infogrpahic/

  8. Rob Daly (Australia) Avatar
    Rob Daly (Australia)

    It is about balance of $$ effort to $$ reward.
    People and organisations become distracted, and unless they have deep pockets to learn and test, or a paradigm shifting approach to fundraising (see kiva.org, getup.org.au), they shouldn’t forget the basics.
    BTW: Smartphone apps should not be confused with Smartphones as a platform (like PC’s) for viewing and interacting with emails, search engine marketing and taking donations with Smartphones due to overtake PC’s to view digital content – http://mashable.com/2011/03/23/mobile-by-the-numbers-infogrpahic/

  9. I enjoyed the article but found the comments the most fascinating part. Jeff, you have sparked outrage!

  10. I enjoyed the article but found the comments the most fascinating part. Jeff, you have sparked outrage!

  11. Thanks for the isngiht. It brings light into the dark!

  12. Thanks for the isngiht. It brings light into the dark!

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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