The Downside to Mobile Giving

from The Chronicle of Philanthropy (Prospecting):

Cellphone Giving Not Without Its Potential Drawbacks, Says Advocate

The unprecedented success of text-message giving after last week’s earthquake in Haiti is not without potential drawbacks, according to a leading proponent of cellphone fund raising.

“The upside is that it lets people respond very quickly,” says Katrin Verclas, co-founder of “That’s great because it allows organizations to develop a donor base of people who they wouldn’t necessarily otherwise get.”

But she says, there’s a danger that some of those $5 and $10 gifts might be coming at the expense of donations that would have been larger had the donor gone to the charity’s Web site.


Nonprofits: Time to Get Mobile

83% of adults have cell phones or smartphones. 35% of users have accessed the Internet via their phone, according to a December 2009 report by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. So in times of natural disasters like the catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti and affected more then two million people, can a mobile strategy help raise money in times of crisis?

… The biggest barrier nonprofits face in raising money via “text to donate” campaigns is the price tag associated with setting up unique shortcode campaigns through a mobile app vendor who not only works with nonprofits but with mobile carriers like AT&T. According to the mobile vendor mGive’s website, “New shortcodes are leased through the Common Short Code Administration. Leases are a minimum of three months and must be paid upfront. The cost is $1,000 per month for a vanity code and $500 per month for a random code.”