Study offers ‘eye opening’ statistics about mobile fundraising

By John Egan

Given that two-thirds of American adults own smartphones, any nonprofit that doesn’t have mobile in its mix could be leaving money on the table. As fundraising consultant Michael Johnston noted in 2013, the rise in the use of mobile devices “has led us to a place where mobile fundraising can no longer be ignored.”

A recent study from npENGAGE, a website operated by fundraising software maker Blackbaud, underscores Johnston’s warning, although the study found that mobile fundraising isn’t as pervasive as you might think.

The mobile fundraising study covered 343 nonprofit websites. Here are some of the results, which npENGAGE says “are eye-opening and really thwack some of mobile fundraising’s biggest myths.”

  • Among the nonprofits studied, an average of 9.5 percent of donations came via mobile devices. For the top one-fourth of nonprofits with the highest mobile-to-desktop giving ratio, that average climbed to 17.8 percent.
  • 12.3 percent of membership purchases came from smartphones or tablets, with a higher percentage (17.2 percent) coming from mobile-responsive websites. “If you’ve created an urgency for your donors to act, don’t let a conversion slip away because your website is not optimized for mobile,” npENGAGE advises.
  • 19.6 percent of event registrations came from mobile devices. “Across the board, supporters are almost twice as likely to register for an event than make a donation on mobile,” npENGAGE says.
  • 49 percent of emails sent by the nonprofits in the study were read on mobile devices. “If your site is responsive, you’re winning,” npENGAGE says, “but also make certain your emails and forms are elegant on mobile.”
  • 16.6 percent of donors who gave via an email were using mobile devices. For nonprofit sites with responsive design, the email donation rate via mobile rose to 18.6 percent.
  • 20.2 percent of supporters who registered for an event through an email were on mobile devices. For nonprofits with mobile-friendly websites, 26.2 percent of event attendees who registered via email did so on mobile devices.

For the study, npENGAGE looked at 343 small and midsize nonprofits using the Blackbaud Online Express platform. Of the nonprofits’ websites, 137 were mobile-responsive and 206 had traditional designs. The study analyzed 22,648 donations, 3,091 registrations and 1,476 membership transactions between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2014.

The DMA Nonprofit Federation will offer a session devoted to this topic, “Using Mobile to Enhance Your Fundraising Program and Increase Donor Engagement,” at their New York Nonprofit Conference Aug. 4-5.

This article is brought to you by the DMA Nonprofit Federation. Click here to register for the 2015 New York Nonprofit Conference.

Image courtesy of the Dalton Agency