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Survey

By Mark Hrywna - February 8, 2011

Most donors who give money via text messaging expect to continue giving by text and said that it doesn’t stop them from making other gifts or donating through other channels, according to a recent survey.

The “Text Giving Donor Survey Report” was commissioned by The mGive Foundation, which processes 85 percent of all mobile donations in the U.S., and researched and written by CCS, a New York City-based consulting firm.

CCS sought permission from more than 200 nonprofits to target donors who opted in to mobile number records. It was unclear exactly how many nonprofits participated but a range of small, medium and large nonprofits were included, according to mGive. The survey was sent Dec. 16, 2010, and remained open until Dec. 29. A total of 253 responses were received for a 1 percent response, among the more than 23,500 recipients who received it by text.

Almost 80 percent of those who said they give via text have also given by email, the web or direct mail. Of those who said they are regular online mail donors, 86 percent said giving a small gift by text does not make them less inclined to give a larger donation via “another standard method.”

About 62 percent of respondents said they give to two or more organizations by text while one in eight said they give to four or more organizations.

Mobile giving has exploded in recent years, most notably after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The mGive Foundation dramatically increased the number of text-based donations last year, going from $1.2 million from 256,000 unique donors in 2009 to more than $41 million by more than 7.7 million unique donors.

Three-quarters of 253 respondents said they plan to continue giving by text, the top two reasons being convenience and their investment in the cause. Nearly as many said they would like a maximum giving mobile giving level of $25, compared to the typical $10 donation. Others preferred $50 as a maximum (15 percent) and $100 or more (11 percent).

The mGive Foundation initiated a $25 mobile donation trial in November that raised the maximum mobile donation amount from $10 to $25. Results of the trial will be released in March.

For the 8 percent who said they who don’t plan to continue text-giving, they cited their preference for other methods, confusion over phone charges and difficulty of tracking giving record for tax purposes. Almost two in five said they were unsure whether they would continue giving by text.

“The survey results confirm what we’ve known all along here at The mGive Foundation – that mobile donations are an incredibly effective fundraising tool that can be used as part of a larger multi-channel donor acquisition strategy,” said Jenifer Snyder, executive director of The mGive Foundation. “It’s no surprise that the interest in mobile donations is exploding, and we predict that there will be a significant increase in the next two years in the number of nonprofits looking to harness the power of mobile technology.”

A majority of respondents gave online (54 percent) and email (60 percent) the top ranking when asked their preferred method of giving. About one in five gave a top ranking to direct mail (22 percent) and text giving (18 percent).

Of the 28 percent who indicated they had no experience giving by text, four out of five said mobile giving would not preclude them from giving additional, larger amounts by traditional methods, such as online or direct mail.

Email motivated text giving the most, with almost 80 percent citing the channel most, compared with social networking sites, television or other channels.

Receiving future messages by text was most popular on a monthly basis (37 percent) among respondents, followed closely by two to three times per month (34 percent) and quarterly (29 percent). When asked to rate their experience with text giving, about a third said they were unsure while more than half (56 percent) rated it at good or excellent.

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