By DonorSearch

With mobile fundraising technology, your organization never has to worry about not knowing when to send a message.

Using the data collected during a text-to-give campaign, your nonprofit can learn everything it needs to know (well, maybe not every fundraising metric) about present and future donors, volunteers, and event attendees.

In this article, you’ll learn all about 6 things your nonprofit can learn about donors and 5 things donors can learn about you through a text-to-give campaign:

#1. Preferred Donation Channels

#2. Best Times to Reach Out to Donors

#3. Engagement During Events

#4. Donation Habits

#5. Probability that a Donor will Donate Again

#6. Contact Information

#7. What Your Organization Cares About

#8. How You Make Use of Donations

#9. Where and When to Volunteer

#10. Other Organizations to Check Out

#11. How to Follow Up in the Future

Let’s go ahead and get started with the 6 things you can learn about your donors from text-to-give! If you want to know what donors can learn form your jump to section 7.

#1. Preferred Donation Channels

Going back to the blind date scenario: you’ve just picked up the check, and you notice that your date has attached a handy, short questionnaire to the bill. They’ve filled it out with their name, phone number, email address, age, and preferred method of contact.

Wouldn’t that be ideal? You’d never have to wonder about how to ask for a second date. You’d know to call after 3 days and leave a thoughtful message.

With regards to mobile fundraising, a text-to-give campaign platform can give you all of those key pieces of information, and more.


In addition, this data can be easily exported and seamlessly incorporated into your nonprofit’s CRM.

One of the more important pieces of information it imparts, though, is preferred donation method.

With the click of a button, your donors can tell you that they’d prefer to donate:

  • Via email
  • Through text
  • With a check in the mail
  • On a website on their desktop computer

It takes the guesswork out of how to cater to your audience.

#2. Best Times to Reach Out to Donors

We all know deciding on a time to reach out to someone–whether it’s a date or a donor–can be awkward. You’re unsure if you’ll be bothering them…or if they’ll even pick up at all.

A simple analysis of the data that’s automatically collected through mobile fundraising platforms will be able to provide the best solution to this conundrum.

Graphs can help you visualize the peak times for engagement with each mode of communication.

For instance, most people engage with Facebook later in the week, (the closer they feel to the weekend, the less they want to be at work).

Therefore, posting about your mobile giving campaign on a Thursday afternoon is much more likely to get views and shares than posting on a Monday morning would.


The same logic can apply to all kinds of ways to get in touch with your donors:

  • Peak times for emails to be opened  
  • Best times to call (and when not to call to get a response)
  • Optimal hours for posting on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

If you pay attention to the trends in the data you collect, you’ll start to notice correlations. You’ll be able to predict what actions on your end translate into donations. And what doesn’t quite hit the mark.

As with anything, it’ll take making adjustments and experimenting with different methods until you figure out what works best for your organization.

#3. Engagement During Events

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly how much fun your date was having at the theme park you’ve taken them to?

If you could tell that their engagement with the roller coasters was low, but they seemed to love the water rides, wouldn’t you try to amend your plans and take them to a water park instead?

Much like figuring out what works best for a date and what doesn’t, figuring out what works as a fundraising event and what doesn’t can be kind of a doozy.

It doesn’t have to be rocket science in the modern day, though. You can easily track donor participation at events.

Here are just a few ways to track donor engagement at events:

  • Allow your donors to check in on their mobile devices at events
  • Promote your nonprofit’s #hashtag and watch the engagement on your organization’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Track the number of mobile donations that come in before, during, and after each event. The dates and times of the donations should be automatically captured by your fundraising platform.
  • Send out an email survey to your participants after each event. Make sure that email is mobile-responsive!

P.S.: If you’re still trying to get a good independent or private school fundraising campaign cooking, you can check out DonorSearch’s handy and informative guide for school fundraising.

#4. Donation Habits

On top of figuring out what kinds of events will entice your donating audience, when the best times to contact them are, and how they prefer to give, you can also easily figure out:

  • How many times they’ve donated.
  • What amount they’ve given each time.
  • When they’ve donated in the past.
  • Where they like to donate from (phone, computer, tablet).

You can learn all about how certain factors like age and giving preference can help you figure out why donation habits might be the way they are.

Obviously, when you ask for a donor’s birthdate when they donate, you can easily figure out their age. Even though age isn’t always a determining factor in any giving scenario, it can tell you a lot about a donor.

Millennials, as you know, are far more likely to want to use text-to-give than, say, their parents. Likewise, their parents’ parents might be of the mindset that mailing in a check is the best way to go.

There’s no wrong way to give. The only thing your nonprofit needs to be sure it’s doing is providing easy ways to donate across all media: phones, mail, email, text, etc.

#5. Probability that a Donor will Donate Again

Tied in with donation habits, the probability that a donor will donate again is something that absolutely can be predicted.

It may not be a crystal ball, or even an exact science, but looking at data trends of past giving through your mobile campaign can be a great tool for predicting future donations.

That way, you can focus your now targeted efforts on the people who are most likely to give again. With infinite ways to personalize outreach, you never have to miss another shot to make a good impression on your advocates.

As the data proves, past giving is one of the greatest indicators of future giving. If you look to past donation habits, not just to your own organization, but also to other nonprofits, you’ll start to see a pattern.

This pattern can help you determine who is most likely to give to your cause. And more importantly with a text-to-give campaign: who is most likely to give via mobile device.

#6. Contact Information

Another piece of information you can learn from your donors is their contact information. Name, phone number, and address are all important data points that your organization should keep and track.

With this information, your organization can stay in touch with donors after they give to jump-start the stewardship process.

So, how does it work?

When donors give via text message, they’re already giving you their phone number without having to fill out any forms. Use their numbers to communicate with them via text message.

You can send them:

  • Other ways to get involved.
  • A thank-you message.
  • Links to your social media accounts and website.

Additionally, you can use your text-to-give tool to capture other information during the donation process. Ask donors to fill out a quick form when they enter their payment information that includes their name and email address. 

Along with the other information that you collect from your donors, you’ll be able to tailor your communications approach to match their specific passions and interests. Plus, reaching out to donors through different contact methods, will help you determine which way—email, text message, direct mail, etc.—your donors prefer to be contacted.

#7. What Your Organization Cares About

You’ve spent the time getting to know all about your donors. Now you need to take a look at how your donors can learn from you.

As you may (or may not) know, most people will find out about your organization on their mobile phones. They’ll be searching for nonprofits that serve the causes they care about, and lo and behold, they’ll stumble upon your site.

If you’ve done your homework and made your website mobile-responsive, donors will have no reason not to stay on your website.

Not only will your site be mobile-responsive, but your emails will also load so well that it’ll be absurdly easy for your donors (you know, the ones that found you via random search) to learn all about your current plans.

This might go without saying, but it’s evident what someone cares about by what they choose to focus on in conversation.

If you’re asking for donations more often than not (like, every time you reach out to donors), it will come across as though your organization only cares about money. Which we know isn’t true!

According to Salsa, “If you want to capture the attention of the younger generation, make sure that you’re properly marketing and communicating the importance of your cause, and what value and benefit their participation will bring to it, rather than focusing the emphasis on what your organization does to accomplish it.”

The younger generations aren’t the only ones who care about the emphasis on your cause. Every single one of your donors wants to know that you’re all about your cause first and how you achieve those results second.

They want to know that your fundraisers are all about helping out the less fortunate. They also want to know that you’re deeply invested in your own message.

You can reassure them of all these things when reaching out via mobile.

#8. How You Make Use of Donations

This is one of the biggest questions on any donor’s mind: “How are my donations being put to work?”

One of the best ways to let people know you’re not up to anything fishy is to send out email and/or text receipts that thank your donors for donating. While you’re at it, include what those donations have gone toward.

For instance, if you’re an educational advocacy nonprofit, you could send out receipts to your donors letting them know that their money went toward:

  • New laptop computers
  • Pens, pencils, and paper
  • A new set of textbooks
  • And more!

This is not as easy to do in a text-to-give campaign, but it’s definitely feasible in an email fundraising campaign. As with your other email efforts, it’s a good idea to include a picture of some sort.

Just as people love to tack up pictures on their fridges of the children they’re sponsoring, they’ll love to see the proof of the good their donations are doing.

In addition to sending out individual receipts detailing your work, you can also periodically update your mobile-responsive website to include up-to-date information about what your organization has accomplished.

#9. Where and When to Volunteer

As a part of a lot of companies’ corporate social responsibility programs, they offer incentives for their employees to volunteer with different organizations.

If your organization wants to get in on the action, the best way to inspire donors to become volunteers is to let them know when and where volunteer opportunities are happening.

You can display your various volunteer opportunities:

  • In your emails
  • On your mobile-responsive website
  • In direct mail appeals (that also include info about your mobile campaigns, of course)

When your donors are able to find out about your latest volunteer opportunities easily, they’re much more likely to remain involved with your organization.

Using social media will also boost donor engagement on the go. Facebook is one of the most-used apps on mobile. Take advantage of that by posting short but sweet statuses that give your followers the where, when, and why.

Say, for instance, that you’re hosting a feed-the-homeless event on Valentine’s Day. If you create an event on Facebook and share it with a short description and a meaningful picture, you can entice dozens of people to show up who might not otherwise have heard of your organization.

#10. What Other Organizations to Check Out

If your donors follow you on social media, receive email updates from you on the regular, and donate to your cause via text, chances are they’re invested in your cause.

It may seem odd to turn around and tell those deeply interested donors and volunteers about another nonprofit that does something similar to yours.

But bear with us.

Letting your donors and volunteers know about other organizations in and around the same field actually helps you in the end.

  • You can cross-promote.
  • Host joint events.
  • Double your supporter base!

How do you let your donors know about other organizations on mobile? It’s simple!

Find similar organizations (or organizations that you might personally support), get in contact with them and ask if they’d like to be featured in your monthly email newsletter. Of course, they’d be silly to turn down free promotion.

Each month or so, choose a different cause to cross-promote, and you’re bound to keep your donors interested in the work you’re doing (as well as developing a solid network of like-minded organizations).

#11. How to Follow Up in the Future

Is it best to reach you via email?

Do you respond quickly on Facebook?

Do you tweet right back on Twitter?

What about Instagram?

Pretty soon, your donors will start to pick up on patterns. They’ll notice if you’re slow to get back to them on one site.

What’s the solution? Do you have to be eyeing every social media site like a hawk?

Not necessarily. In fact, don’t.

The real solution is to be true to your nonprofit’s brand. Pick the mobile avenues that make the most sense for your organization and make them your go-to.

If you decide you’re all about email and Facebook, then your donors will know that they can always catch you on one or the other.

Likewise, if you’re Instagram fiends, your donors will be able to tag you in posts and feel confident you’ll see it and respond.

The key is consistency.

There you have it: the 6 things you can learn from donors, and conversely, the 5 things they can learn about you!

What have you learned from your donors? What do you hope they’ll learn from you? How do you keep up with social media and mobile communications?



John Killoran is CEO of @Pay, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to donate in two clicks from text, email, web and social media sites.  John pioneered SMTP payments and has been a major innovator in the mobile payments space for the past 5 years. When he is not running a company, he is cooking food for his family and telling his dogs to stop barking.

Mobile Fundraising Campaigns: The Basics