I have spent some time in the fundraising industry and I have to say – the more creative and memorable a fundraiser is, the more successful it seems.
In 2009, I was introduced to a text-a-thon put on by Electrolux to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Kelly Ripa has been a supporter of this cause for a long time, and simply by texting “KELLY” to a five-digit code, a $5 donation would be made. The $5 would appear on your cell phone bill – easy as that!
Truthfully, text-a-thons cost money and the charity might not get 100% of the donations, as the cell phone provider usually collects a handling fee, but I believe the benefits outweigh the costs in this trend. I would expect more people would be willing to give via their cell phone in lieu of taking the time to write a check, mail it, etc. Also, with a text-a-thon, the organization doesn’t have to worry about a check bouncing, people failing to send promised pledges, and the money could be easily calculated.
This past fall, the Electrolux still supported the OCRF, but they did something a little different; the idea was still creative and involved emerging media. Website visitors were encouraged to send virtual cakes to their friends and for each cake sent, one dollar would be donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund from Electrolux. Here is an example of the process someone goes through when “making” their virtual cake:
The fact that the text-a-thon didn’t come back for a second year might show that numbers were not as high as expected for this specific organization, but this could also show the creativity and constantly changing ideas surrounding those at Electrolux and the ever-changing field of emerging media.
I believe that all emerging media can hit a road block or two, and that before long, mobile giving will become the “next big thing” for non-profit organizations.