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El Centro nonprofit drives mobile donations via responsive design

June 24, 2014

rsz_photo_9Social services nonprofit El Centro, which serves the Hispanic community in Kansas City, KS, is betting on the mobile Web to drive donations via a new responsive design site.

With its constituents very active in the mobile space, El Centro knew it needed a way to engage them via their smartphones but was not interested in text-to-give for several reasons. With text-to-give facing limitations from carriers and not supporting nonprofits’ needs to learn more about their mobile users, El Centro chose responsive design so it can serve the same donation experience across screens.

“They are not doing text to give,” said Dale Knoop, CEO of Raz Mobile. “They recognized that the community they serve – Hispanics – over index on their use of the mobile Internet so they have a lot of mobile traffic to their primary domain.

“They wanted to be able to do some mobile fundraising around the same time as they were going through a site redesign,” he said.

“They relaunched with responsive design and it includes a responsive donation component, meaning it can handle anybody coming in from any device.”

Easy repeat gifts
El Centro was also looking to encourage easy repeat gifts and to insure that donations could be completed quickly and easily.

The nonprofit integrated Raz Mobile’s responsive donation button into its new site, enabling donors to store their credentials in a tokenized gateway that is PCI compliant.

About one in five donors will store their credentials for future giving, per Raz Mobile.

The new site is expected to go live some time this month.

To date, much of the donation activity in mobile has been via text-to-give. The driving force behind the popularity of text-to-give has been high-profile campaigns from the Red Cross and other large-scale nonprofits that have raised millions of dollars following natural disasters, all done in $10 increments via text-to-give.

However, late last year, the wireless carriers stopped supporting text-to-give except for nonprofits and political campaigns.  Per Mr. Knoop, carriers are not allowing charities with less than $500,000 in annual revenue to use text-to-give

Social media strategies
Other challenges with text-to-give include that donations are capped at $10, it can take a while for charities to see the money and younger consumers do not want to pay charges for sending a text messages, pre Mr. Knoop.

At the same time, nonprofits continue to see more and more of their Web traffic coming from mobile devices and want to be able to better understanding this users. This is especially true for nonprofits such as El Centro as Hispanics are among the heaviest users of the mobile Web.

Looking beyond text-to-give makes sense for nonprofits as they continue to build their strategies on social media, where a lot of the activity is from mobile devices. Savvy nonprofits will drive social media users to a Web site for a more engaged conversation and include a way for these consumers to make a donation easily from their mobile device if they choose.

“There is a bit of a murmuring around the downsides of text to give,” Mr. Knoop said. “We’ve had people say they won’t do it because they don’t’ get any donor data and they need donor data.

“Or we won’t do that because it costs too much,” he said “Or because you have to wait so long to get a keyword on a short code.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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