In This Article:
- What is a mobile fundraising platform?
- Can anyone use online fundraising platforms?
- 5 Tips for Choosing a Mobile Giving Platform
- How do I start with setting up text donations?
What a time to be alive! It seems that every day we’re pushing technology forward into new realms and the way we pay for things has evolved past carrying checks and cash. Businesses have adapted to be able to accept payment via debit or credit card a long time ago.
If you’re a school, church, nonprofit organization, or anyone that relies on collecting funds in a non-retail environment, chances are you don’t have a credit card reader at your disposal for anyone that wants to give “in person.”
If you fall into that non-retail category, you may very likely be able to use a mobile fundraising platform. Before we get into our top five things to consider before you choose a mobile fundraising platform for taking donations online, let’s answer the following question: what exactly is a mobile fundraising platform?
So What Exactly is a Mobile Fundraising Platform?
A mobile donation platform is generally an app or system that allows donors to utilize their mobile device to send donations and funds to a specific organization or group.
For instance, Txt2Give allows donors to donate via text message, following these steps:
- The donor sends the word “GIVE” to a giving number (phone number) that is assigned to a specific organization.
- When the donor texts the word “GIVE” to that number, they essentially start a “conversation” with an automated system that moves towards completing a donation.
Can Anyone Use Mobile Fundraising Platforms?
No, not really. Some mobile donation platforms require a 501(c)(3) status, some don’t. Usually public schools and civic groups that aren’t considered charitable organizations can still use a mobile donation platform for their fundraising efforts. The same goes for political fundraising.
Like every new (or relatively new) technology, there are going to be a lot of providers to choose from when selecting a text-to-donate platform. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our top five tips for helping you choose the right mobile donation fundraising platform for your organization or nonprofit business.
5 Tips for Choosing a Mobile Giving Platform
1. Research Total Cost & Types of Fees
When researching options for the best donation platforms, you’ll likely come across a wide range of pricing models. It’s important to note that all services that collect money will require a merchant account or payment gateway to handle credit card processing, which will have separate fees.
There are a few platforms that have an integrated payment processor, but the majority do not. So it’s important to make sure you ask or find out what kind of processing fees you can expect in addition to what you’re paying for the actual service.
Another important detail to consider when calculating cost is if the service is charging you a flat fee, a scalable payment schedule, and if they are collecting a percentage of the funds collected. Be sure to ask the following questions:
- Are you going to be locked into a contract?
- If so locked into a contract, for how long is the term?
- What is the cancellation policy for the contract?
There isn’t a right or wrong type of payment plan – just what’s right for your organization and the volume it brings in because each type of payment plan will have its benefits depending on where you fit. When inquiring about the service, don’t hesitate to ask a representative to do the math for you on a specific scenario that would be relevant to your organization.
2. Explore & Understand Features that are Available
Any mobile donation platform worth its salt will offer a reasonable feature package and some might even offer premium upgrades. The question then becomes, “what features do you need or want?”
For instance, Txt2Give offers unlimited causes, keywords, and locations at no extra cost, along with unlimited text messages and no caps on giving – all included in the monthly subscription. You might not need all of those features, but you’re also not paying extra for them.
Online giving is another great feature to inquire about. You might already have a website that allows you to accept donations online, but it could make your life a lot easier to have your online giving and your text giving all coming into one account.
So it’s important to weigh the cost (including features) with what your needs are. If you’re not sure, most platforms will offer a demo of some kind where you can see their features in action. They might have a game-changing feature you never knew you needed!
3. Verify Opportunities for Reporting & Data Analysis
Being able to accept funds without a bulky card reader is awesome, but it becomes a bit less awesome if you don’t have a good way to generate reports on those incoming funds.
A big part of the day-to-day for a fundraising organization is keeping track of who is giving what. When choosing your mobile donation platform, be sure to get a look at what information the system is gathering and what information users will have access to.
Your donation platform should also allow you to filter and sort your donations to create targeted reports.
4. Are there Integrations Available?
As we discussed earlier, technology is changing so fast these days. There are new platforms and systems popping up every day that perform a variety of tasks. It might be unreasonable to expect your mobile donation platform to be up-to-date at all times with all of these advancements. However, it’s not altogether unreasonable to expect your platform to be able to integrate with other platforms that extend what you’re able to accomplish.
Even if there isn’t a direct integration between your platform and another, there are actually apps, like Zapier, that act as a third-party integration partner. Zapier allows you to integrate your platform with another when direct integration isn’t an option. Essentially, if your mobile donation platform integrates with Zapier, you have access to a lot of other integrations.
5. What is the Donor Experience like?
Let’s be honest, you could have the coolest, hippest, most cutting-edge mobile donation platform on the market, but if it’s not easy for donors to use, it won’t do you a bit of good! The donor experience is everything!
For that reason, you might want a demonstration of the donor experience before you even ask about the price, features, or anything else. If the process is clunky and cumbersome, you probably won’t want to proceed with that platform.
But you shouldn’t just look at the donor experience from the perspective of the ease of making a donation. Consider these questions you might ask when “kicking the tires” on any platform you’re checking out:
- Can the donor access their giving history?
- How hard is it for a donor to update their credit card information?
- Do donors get a donation receipt when they complete a gift?
There are obviously more questions you could ask and probably should ask – as they pertain to your specific organization. That said, taking the time to look into these five areas should give you a pretty good picture as to which mobile donation platform is right for you.
How do I start with setting up text donations?
At Txt2Give, getting started with text donations is easy. We offer mobile fundraising platform solutions no matter if you’re fundraising for a one-time event or if you’re using our service as a part of your organization’s regular operations.
Before setting up text donations using Txt2Give, determine if you need ongoing text-donation support on a monthly basis or one-time support. Our monthly pricing includes mobile donation fundraising services for churches, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and political campaigns. You can also check out our one-time services for events.