8 Ways Mobile Fundraising And Crowdfunding Go Hand-In-Hand

Guest post compliments of @Pay. 

The boombox. What a revolution, right? All of a sudden, music became portable in a way that it never had before and shareable in a whole new dimension.

We all remember the swell of emotions that flooded our hearts when John Cusack’s character lifted that iconic boombox above his head in Say Anything.

But the impact of that gesture might not have been as grand had he lifted, say, a tiny mp3 player over his shoulders.

Regardless, technology has marched on, and yesterday’s boomboxes (grand gestures and all) have given way to sleeker, more portable devices.

These new devices allow users not only to have access to everything their hearts could ever desire but also to be able to share that content with anyone at the speed of light.


How can mobile fundraising revolutionize crowdfunding the way mp3’s changed the way we share music?

Below we have four of the top ways that mobile fundraising has changed crowdfunding for the better:

  1. By helping the on-the-go donor give
  2. By reaching out to a younger audience
  3. By meeting people where they give
  4. By giving the option to update whenever, wherever

And here are the four ways that crowdfunding has enhanced mobile fundraising:

  1. By extending the social networks of nonprofits
  2. By creating easy-to-understand visual incentives
  3. By making nonprofit videos more trendy and shareable
  4. By offering unique benefits to contributors

Read on to discover how to give your fundraising ideas a little boost with mobile.

#1. By helping the on-the-go donor give

In the few-and-far-between quiet moments we have to ourselves, most people fill their time by browsing the internet on their phones. If you look around, you’ll see 90% of people looking at their tiny screens:

  • On the train, subway, or bus
  • At lunch or dinner
  • During meetings
  • At any given grocery store, gas station, or doctor’s office
  • Really anywhere you would have previously had downtime or alone time

It’s hard to argue that there would be a better use of that on-the-go browsing than donating to charity.


Why not make your crowdfunding campaign that much more accessible for the on-the-go giver?

When you’re planning your mobile crowdfunding campaign, make sure you keep in mind the keys for asking for donations of any kind.

And definitely make sure that your mobile donation page is as responsive on a phone as it is on a laptop. This means that:

  • Your buttons should be larger.
  • There should be less text and more pictures.
  • Your crowdfunding videos should be short and to the point.

These points are by no means the only factors to consider. Mobile-responsive and mobile-friendly websites come in all shapes and sizes.

The one thing they have in common: they all work on-the-go.

Takeaway: Crowdfunding campaigns can reach significantly more donors by being mobile-friendly.

#2. By reaching out to a younger audience

We all know that millennials are practically glued to their phones. And the generation coming up underneath them will never have known a time without smartphones.

Don’t miss out on a key demographic because your crowdfunding campaign doesn’t have a shareable component.

Instead, give younger donors mobile-ready urls to share on their various social media platforms:

    • Twitter. Remember to keep it short but sweet. Tweets are 140 characters or less.
    • Facebook. Pictures and brief videos work best. Long posts are not shared as often.
    • Instagram. Make sure you provide links to your crowdfunding page in your description.
    • Tumblr. You can post longer, more in-depth content. Deeply engaging, thoughtful content gets picked up readily here.

Giving mobile donors the option to share their donation experience on social media not only leads to repeat donors; it also spreads the word about your campaign to more people.

Visual components of crowdfunding campaigns are essential to grabbing the attention of today’s teens and young adults.

According to studies done on Facebook post interactions, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts.

Luckily, the top mobile fundraising platforms that host crowdfunding sites automatically give the option to include a picture, video, or other visual component to your campaign’s shareable link.

Takeaway: Strategize smarter by being platform-specific. Images are worth a thousand words on most websites today.  

#3. By meeting people where they give

One of the most crucial pieces of information you need to gather about your donors is giving preference.

Some people, you’ll find, will prefer to use desktop computers or laptops to donate, some will still write checks and mail them in.

Increasingly, though, people are choosing to donate on their mobile phones. The more engaging, accessible, and mobile-responsive your crowdfunding campaign is, the more likely you are to reach your goal…and quickly!

It’s been shown that if a crowdfunding campaign reaches 30% of its goal within the first week, it’s far more likely to be successful in the end.

What faster way is there to connect than through instantaneous social media sharing, texting, and mobile-friendly emailing?  

Within mobile fundraising, there are so many different giving avenues.

You can strengthen your crowdfunding campaign’s reach by incorporating:

  • Text-to-give
  • QR code promotions
  • Email donation buttons
  • Mobile-responsive donation pages
  • And so much more!

mobile fundraising and crowdfunding

When you diversify your approaches with mobile giving, you end up reaching people exactly where they are.

Takeaway: Incorporate all different types of mobile fundraising to help your crowdfunding campaign reach more donors where they are.

#4. By giving the option to update whenever, wherever

When planning to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign, you don’t want to go the full John Hughes right at the outset. You need to build to that point.

The best way to engage an audience without overwhelming them is to:

  • Share carefully-timed mobile-ready emails
  • Push periodic updates across several platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Remember that people want to read personable stories
  • Keep in mind that everyone likes to feel like they’re a part of something greater–and even better, something somewhat exclusive. Make your donors feel like they’re a part of the coolest club in town!

Mobile fundraising technology can now help your crowdfunding campaign reach donors wherever, whenever. Update everyone in a matter of moments.

On the flip side of the coin, your crowdfunding donors can also update from wherever and whenever they’d like.

If it’s 3 AM, and they’re on the train home, they can whip out their phone, view your crowdfunding page and instantly give $10 to your cause.

If it’s the middle of the day on a Monday, and they’re taking a break by the watercooler, they can take a moment to read about all the good work you’re doing. And they can give $25 on the spot!  

Takeaway: With mobile fundraising, you can update all of your donors everywhere at a moment’s notice, and they can give back just as quickly.

Now that you’ve explored the different ways that mobile fundraising has improved crowdfunding, it’s time to look into the ways that crowdfunding has boosted mobile fundraising efforts.

In this section, we’ll take a peek at these 4 ways:

  1. By extending the social networks of nonprofits
  2. By creating easy-to-understand visual incentives
  3. By making nonprofit videos more trendy and shareable
  4. By offering unique benefits to contributors

Let’s get started!

#5. By extending the social networks of nonprofits

Crowdfunding, also sometimes known as peer-to-peer fundraising is an incredible tool for reaching out to larger networks of people.

Acquiring new donors is a major challenge common to all nonprofits, large and small. In fact, most nonprofits spend considerably more on acquiring donors than they do on retaining existing donors.

There’s one simple way to gain new followers, increase your donor pool, and make a greater impact: launch a mobile crowdfunding campaign.

Peer-to-peer fundraising involves leveraging your existing donor base to do a lot of the heavy lifting for your organization.

How does that work? Well, it’s actually really easy. Your nonprofit hands over the necessary tools to crowdfund; they solicit their social networks, families, and friends. Presto! You’ve just reached dozens more donors without putting in any extra effort.

Thanks to social media, what used to be door-to-door appeals made by your existing donors are now “share” buttons, “like” buttons, and “retweet” buttons.

It’s never been easier to get the word out and thereby increase your own social network.

#6. By creating easy-to-understand visual incentives

Crowdfunding thermometers are perhaps the most useful (and psychologically effective) means of raising money.

mobile fundraising and crowdfunding

Thermometers are fantastic visual representations of:

  • How much money you’ve already raised
  • How much money you’re aiming to raise
  • How much time is left in a campaign
  • How many donors have contributed
  • And more!

They’re psychologically effective, as we’ve said before, because they inherently entice people to donate.

Think about it. If you see that 15 people have already donated an average of $34 to a campaign, and the thermometer is a little less than halfway full, you’ll most likely feel the pull to donate and fill up that thermometer a little bit more.

How satisfying is it to see a concrete representation of your contribution?

That’s precisely how your mobile donors will feel when you incorporate a mobile-responsive thermometer into your crowdfunding page!

#7. By making nonprofit videos more trendy and shareable

When you’re planning your mobile crowdfunding campaign, it’s important to keep in mind that donors aren’t the only people you’re trying to reach. You also want to be sure that you keep potential volunteers in mind.

One fabulous way to reach both potential volunteers and potential donors engaged is through video.

Powerful videos don’t have to be long and involved. Actually, it’s better if they’re not. Short videos that get the point across in just a couple of minutes (or even 30 seconds, if you’re really creative) are the best.

Your mobile crowdfunding campaign has a much better chance of becoming viral (and therefore quickly funded) if you include a solid, shareable video along with your crowdfunding page.

Here are some traits that successful crowdfunding videos have in common:

  • They’re under 3 minutes long.
  • They load well on a mobile device.
  • They’re well-shot and beautifully thought-out.
  • They include actionable steps for the viewer to take.
  • They have a central message that’s consistent with the nonprofit’s mission.

If your nonprofit adheres to these standards, you’re guaranteed to have a greater chance at a successful mobile crowdfunding campaign.

#8. By offering unique benefits to contributors

Whether you’re hosting a raffle or throwing a themed festival, you’re probably offering some kind of prize, right?

If raffles had no physical incentives, who would participate? If carnival games didn’t offer teddy bears, you can bet that fewer teens would spend their hard-earned summer job money on ring tosses.

It’s also common practice in a crowdfunding campaign to trade unique benefits commensurate with the level of each gift.

Say, for instance, that you’re raising money for your local animal shelter. If you’re using a mobile-responsive crowdfunding page, you can:

  • Offer 1 hour of puppy playing time in exchange for a $25 donation.
  • Trade personalized, handmade leashes in exchange for a $50 donation.
  • Give away organic, gluten-free dog treats in exchange for a $75 donation.
  • Make up your own incentives! Whatever works for your nonprofit!

The better the benefits, the more likely people will be to donate. Of course, not every benefit has to cost money for your organization (and shouldn’t). Get creative with the goods and services you offer, and you’re sure to see your donations spike!


Thanks for tuning in and sticking with us through these 8 points. We hope you learned a thing or two about crowdfunding and/or mobile fundraising!

How has mobile fundraising improved your crowdfunding efforts? Have you noticed an increase in donations when you’ve made your donation pages socially shareable?

Likewise, have you incorporated crowdfunding into your mobile fundraising efforts? How has it worked for your nonprofit? We’d love to hear from you! Comment below to respond.

Keep Donors Who Join Your Network

Your Secret to Mindblowing Fundraising – Improve Donor Retention Just 10%

NonProfitEasy’s blog is dedicated to covering nonprofit CRMs and the fundraising topics surrounding them. From time to time, we like to bring in a fresh perspective for our valuable readership. So, we reached out to Claire Axelrad, Principal of Clairification, for some new insights. 


Imagine what it would mean to your mission if you doubled the lifetime value of all of your current supporters.

Do you know even know what percentage of donors you’re retaining? According to one source, less than 5% of fundraising offices know this answer!  So, you’re not alone.  But you can do better.

Knowing your retention rate enables you to move it to something better.  Did you know that a 10% increase in donor retention can increase the lifetime value (in dollars) of your donors by as much as 200%? This is research from Dr. Adrian Sargeant… plus Penelope Burk revealed this years ago in her groundbreaking “Donor-Centered Fundraising.”

Lifetime value means donor commitment.  Your donor’s enduring passion for your cause.  And you’ve got to inspire folks to get them to become loyal supporters.

What are you doing to inspire? Attrition rates are sky high.

Say you brought in 1000 new donors last year.  Sounds good, no? But… those 1,000 will shrink to 400 this year. And to 160 in the next year. After five years you’ve got only 10 folks left.  I’m NOT KIDDING!  You’re on a treadmill. In and out. In and out.

Attrition is getting worse and worse.  AFP and The Urban Institute study revealed the depressing data.  After reviewing millions of records in thousands of databases, they found that average donor retention was 39%. So, yes, attrition was 61%.

Do you have a donor retention program?  A donor retention budget?

If not, be afraid. Be very afraid.  And use your fear to scare your leadership straight!  Show them the data.  Share the study with them.

If you’re not adding resources to build relationships with your donors – and keep them over time – you’re being pound wise and penny foolish.

Here’s a simple way to calculate your donor retention:

How many donors did you have in 2012?

How many of the exact same donors donated again in 2013?

What % of your previous year’s donors were retained?

Anything over 50% is excellent these days. So pat yourself on the back! If it’s less, don’t be surprised.  And know that wherever you’re at, you can improve if you put in place an intentional donor retention plan.

Here’s a way to calculate lifetime value:

This is the total net contribution a donor generates during their total giving to you, over their lifetime.  You must know the average number of years your donors stay with you, plus the average gift amount (for most organizations the average gift is between $100 – $200).  And the average number of years of giving from the thousands of organizations surveyed by AFP and The Urban Institute is 1.9 years.

Whoa!  Wouldn’t you like those folks you acquire through direct mail or online to stay with you longer than that?

If you’re like most nonprofits, you’re spending the lion’s share of your time acquiring new donors. And they don’t stay longer than two years. Treadmill city! It’s exhausting… no wonder you’re so tired.

If your retention is not what you’d wish it to be, take a look at your donor acknowledgment program  The easiest thing for you to do is develop a culture of gratitude.  Make this an institution-wide culture.

Your second gift is so much more valuable than the first one.

You need a second gift strategy.

  • You need a donor welcome package.
  • You need to pick up the phone and thank.
  • You need to send a hand-written note.
  • You need to get first-time donors engaged with you in other ways.
  • You need to reinforce the decision they made and show them the impact of their giving.

You need a donor relationship strategy.

  • You need effective donor communications that tell inspiring stories.
  • You need to always think from your donor’s perspective.
  • You need to use digital marketing and peer-to-peer tools.
  • You need integrated marketing and fundraising plans.
  • You need a comprehensive stewardship strategy.
  • You need to connect with donors frequently.
  • You need to use the word “YOU” a lot.
  • You need to ask donors about their preferences.

You need a robust gratitude program:

  • You need to be prompt – thank within 48 hours.
  • You need to be personal – no ‘form’ letters – people build relationships with other people; not with organizations.
  • You need to change your thank you letter frequently.
  • You need different thank you letters for different campaigns.
  • You need different thank you letters for different donor segments.
  • You need to thank more than once, preferably from different people.

You need to treat all donors – offline and online – equally.

Someone who happens to give online is not worth less to you than someone who gives through the mail.  Don’t have a two-class thank you system.  The immediate email thank you is great, but it’s not enough.

Do you know why donors leave you?

Find out.  The number one reason retail customers leave is lack of interest by the business in them. (this was followed, in this order, by death, relocation, won over by competitor and handling of complaints).  What are you doing to show interest in your donors?

The primary reasons that donors leave are related to poor communication on the part of the nonprofit: no memory of ever supporting you; asked for inappropriate sum; feeling other causes are more deserving; not reminded to give again and weren’t informed about how the gift was used.

If you want to build loyalty, you’ve got to build relationships. Loyalty is also important because your repeat donors are the ones who make legacy gifts.  And legacy gifts are major gifts.  Having them can make a HUGE difference to your bottom line. (in fact, anyone who lets you know they’ve moved is 10 times more likely to leave you a legacy gift – are you capturing this information?).

Be a better friend.

Find out more about your donor. Learn what they like. Be open and receptive. Respond when they reach out to you.  Listen for cues. Be helpful. Show them their impact. Show them that you know themBe personal.

A strong donor retention program is going to rely on proper nonprofit CRM management. Check out our list below to make sure your organization is on the right track.

Click here to download our free fundraising software checklist.

This article was originally posted on the Clairification blog.

Claire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE was named Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and brings 30 years frontline development and marketing experience to her work as principal of Clairification. A sought-after coach and consultant, Claire writes monthly columns for Nonprofit Pro and Maximize Social Business. Clairification was named “Best Fundraising Blog of 2013” by FundRaising Success Magazine. A member of the California State Bar and a graduate of Princeton University, Claire currently resides in San Francisco, California. Contact Claire via her blog or connect with her on TwitterPinterest or LinkedIn.

Claire Axelrad Headshot Claire Axelrad, Principal of Clairification