With the Olympics in full swing, we're seeing a lot of brands using the power of goodwill to put sponsorships to good use. This act of marrying charity and sponsorship marketing is paving the way for a new type of giving: mobile powered donations. Which got me thinking: how did we ever handle charitable donations on a mass level without it taking months to fulfill?
In the past, charitable giving meant researching a cause, finding a worthy charity, and then writing and mailing a check. Door to door, galas and even 1-800 numbers enjoyed (and still do) their day in the sun as a way to provide donations. But with today’s on-the-go, and online, consumer, this method of payment won’t stand the test of time.
Enter mobile. New technology now offers brands huge opportunities to enhance their fundraising strategies. Charitable giving no longer has to await a check, a 5K run or a pledge drive. Why? Because mobile bridges awareness of a cause with immediate action.
According to Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, in 2012, 1 in 5 U.S. adults had made a charitable contribution online and 1 in 10 has made a charitable contribution through mobile texting. With these numbers are both steadily rising, there are several ways brands can take action.
1. Marry mobile donations with fundraising galas.
Last year, an Arkansas-based children’s shelter used mobile as the primary donation vehicle at their annual fundraising gala. Throughout the evening, they used on-screen messaging to prompt audience members to donate using their mobile devices through a simply vanity code. The event raised nearly half a million dollars, which represented an increase of more than a third over what they raised the prior year.
2. Use sponsorships as a platform to improve mobile donation engagement.
Sometimes, finding the proper time to encourage donations can be just as important as the method of requesting. Kellogg’s is currently using its sponsorship of the 2014 Olympics to increase donations with a global audience—strictly using mobile. And there’s nothing like the Olympics to bring feelings of togetherness, patriotism and charity. During the sponsorship period, the brand put a mobile call to action on cereal boxes that tells consumers to call a **START from their mobile device. For every call, they will donate a meal to a hungry child in need. Because consumers can easily do this, whenever, wherever, both Kellogg’s and the charity have significant exposure and donations.
3. Integrate celebrity spokespeople with mobile initiatives.
Star personalities continued to be the backbone of major fundraising campaigns and notoriously aid in raising significant amounts of money. But the age of reality TV and social media, celebrities actually have more power than ever before to mobilize and engage large masses of people—whether it’s via Twitter, TV, or their own appearances and websites. Recently, Zynga offered mobile users a chance play their popular Words With Friends game against John Legend, Snoop Lion or Eva Longoria in their first-ever Words With Friends Celebrity Challenge, and gave up to $500,000 to charity based on game results. Zynga smartly capitalized on an already-mobile gaming audience to insert charity into the equation.
Timing and message delivery has always played a large role it the donation strategy, but inserting mobile as the vehicle to make donations easy, engaging and even fun, will ensure that your audience not only has the chance to be a part of something philanthropic, but to be able to instantly donate to the cause.