Posted by & filed under Analytics, Marketing/Communications, Mobile Giving, Next Generation Philanthropy, Social Media.

Philip King, Founder, The Donation Funnel Project

You’ve probably heard about the new Apple watch, but don’t plan to buy one soon. Unless you’re super geeky, and if so please see me after one of my presentations at this year’s Congress!

But I’ll bet you’ve upgraded your smartphone in the past 18 months.applewatch

Did it hit your radar that Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $19 billion earlier this year? Wonder why a social networking company would pay so much for a messaging app that is popular in Africa and India? The world is changing, particularly from a marketing and communications perspective, and it is becoming harder to get anyone’s attention, including donors.

Let’s consider your new smartphone: I’ll bet you spend more time on it than you did on your old one. In fact, I’ll bet you read your email pretty easily now on that small screen. You may even spend more time on Facebook than you did when Facebook was a desktop/laptop-only experience for you. And with recent upgrades to the cellular data speeds you spend more time using your mobile browser to visit websites, often linked from your email or Facebook.

If you’re having this experience, it’s not hard to imagine that your donors are too. Of course you’ll have all sorts of demographic tribes in your donor base: young/old, male/female, rich/not-so-rich. And these tribes will all behave in slightly different ways. But one thing is for sure: they’re all going mobile!

I’ll jump straight to the punchline: take out your smartphone. Go to your charity’s website. Make a $5 donation.

How did that feel? For most of you not so great. Still using only your smartphone try registering for that run/walk next month, or buying tickets to the gala dinner. You get the point. Our websites haven’t kept up with our donors’ handheld technology. Even websites that are “responsive” can be clumsy to use and result in “bounce” or an “abandoned visit”: two of the most dreaded terms for online fundraisers.

Now fast forward to the not-too-distant future and imagine when donors start reading their email, checking Facebook and visiting websites on their watch… Last year we could comfort ourselves and say “that’s OK, most of our donors visit our website or Facebook page on their laptops or desktops.” But for many fundraisers this changed in 2014. The mobile tipping point has already passed, or will happen sometime in the next 12 months. Try this: get your team to estimate which month your “tipping point” will occur for your organization: the month at which most of your website audience will view you through a mobile device.

If you’re interested in topics like this I hope you’ll join me for one of my sessions at Congress, and we’ll discuss questions such as:

  • How much lower are average smartphone donations compared to laptops and tablets?
  • Who is doing a great job with mobile communications, and what does that look like?
  • What opportunities will mobile give us to find new donors and new dollars?

Philip King is the founder of The Donation Funnel Project: an experiment in online and mobile fundraising. Prior to that he has a long and successful track record as a digital fundraiser as the President and CEO of Artez Interactive, VP of Mobile for Cornerstone, and VP of E-Business at the United Way of Greater Toronto. He has worked with some of the world’s leading fundraising teams including Comic Relief in the UK, Leukaemia Foundation in Australia, UNICEF and SickKids Foundation in Canada, and the Humane Society of the United States. Philip will be presenting at Congress 2014 and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilipKingIV