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Mobile giving gains popularity amongst nonprofits

In December, is focusing on social media and collaboration. The potential advantages of collaborative technologies are perhaps most clearly realized in the form of charitable giving that takes place over mobile devices. With the holiday season upon us, philanthropic efforts naturally increase, and MobileCause is hoping to set new records in fundraising that takes place via mobile devices.


A couple of months ago, I spoke with Jeff Kuligowski, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at MobileCause, about their Software as a Service platform that enables efficient mobile giving and fundraising for nonprofit organizations. Organizations such as The Salvation Army, United Way, USO, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Special Olympics are already using MobileCause. The potential for giving through one’s mobile device continues to grow, and mobile apps are not only leading to increased fundraising dollars, but also to more opportunities to cultivate relationships with potential donors and to build a community of constitutents through social media.


Doug Plank, CEO and founder of MobileCause, told me in an interview this week that “mobile is going from being a transaction device to an engagement device.” This platform allows for organizations to connect with their constituents through regular updates, and it allows users to determine how frequently they are contacted. Mobile giving can take place through SMS text-to-give campaigns, fundraising dinners and regular text pledges (which often lead to macro donations); mobile users can also engage via access to rich media, websites and social media applications that provide the opportunity for organizations to disseminate quality information to people who have requested it. Plank explains:

When you can have access to a communication device that one of your friends, or one of your donors or one of your interested supporters has, you want to be able to tap into that, right? It’s the most personal and ubiquitous tool that’s out there right now.


He continues:

And with that one device, you can send me a text message, I can read my email, I can go online and look at your website, you can call me, I can watch a video about your organization… You’ll be able to push that information that you care about, and encourage your friends to support it also; you can push it out via text message, via Facebook, via Twitter. You’ll be able to do that with our technology that’s coming in Q1 2012.


This is a boon to all nonprofits and charitable organizations, and Plank expects this mode of giving and engagement will only continue to spread in 2012. According to recent research, “Over 65 percent of all respondents see the fundamental value of mobile media to be the ability to integrate with social media activities.” Likewise, Plank recognizes the critical trend of integration between mobile and social technologies. He predicts that the ability to make donations of any size, and the instances of peer-to-peer giving will expand in 2012. 

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