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Mobile Giving exec: Mobile is a channel, not a strategy

July 16, 2014

Jim Manis, CEO and founder of BBB Mobile Giving Foundation

Jim Manis, CEO and founder of BBB Mobile Giving Foundation

NEW YORK – Nonprofit organization Better Business Bureau Mobile Giving Foundation’s CEO Jim Manis emphasized the reach of mobile given its multi-platform ecosystem at Mobile Commerce Daily’s fifth annual Nonprofit Mobile Day.

As mobile user statistics continue to rise, such as that 64 percent of people have a smartphone, BBB relies on mobile messaging and other mobile techniques to connect charities to donors and major brands. Misconceptions around the deficits in mobile need to be overcome to reap the benefits of the channel’s marketing possibilities for nonprofit organizations, per the executive.

“What we’ve seen in the mobile space over the past five or six years is substantial,” said Jim Manis, founder and CEO at the Better Business Bureau Mobile Giving Foundation, Seattle. “Leveraging mobile is going to be the key in overall success among nonprofits. Messaging isn’t the only way; it sits side-by-side with mobile Web, apps and mobile advertising and all are driven by social media, multi-channels and a range of audiences.”

The power of mobile
BBB’s Mobile Giving Foundation promotes the use of mobile based on statistics proving the channel to be more convenient, effective and efficient at not only reaching the audience but also receiving a response from them.

BBB characterizes mobile as a cross-platform ecosystem, given the number of options of reaching consumers via mobile. These include mobile applications, mobile advertising, the Web, and most prevalently, messaging.

Nonprofits can use the system of mobile, specifically messaging, to maintain a circular repetition of success, involving fundraising, volunteer recruitment, engagement and awareness and action.

BBB’s use of mobile

BBB Mobile Giving Foundation specializes in mobile-to-Web strategies using short codes, keywords and billing capabilities to provide the ultimate reach to consumers.


These strategies then carry the user to a volunteer sign-up Web page, which nonprofits can tailor with logos and customized donation click-ons. Data fields can range from check boxes to numerals.

Volunteer sign-up

Volunteer sign-up Web pages are Web-responsive on mobile, allowing for a seamless user experience.

BBB targets engagement through games and giveaways, such as trivia questions coinciding with particular fundraising efforts. Recently, the organization aided the Jimmy Fund, a Boston-based funding organization focused on cancer, with a trivia question campaign, leading participants to donate and sign-up for further text alerts.

The Jimmy Fund text campaign

Text-to-donate features lend capabilities of multiple and higher price points, monthly recurring options, Web widgets and social sharing.

Mobile and social among nonprofits
Nonprofits have garnered success through mobile-social campaigns and may even own an edge in this space.

Retailers focused on fair trade products such as The Little Market and TOMS successfully harness Instagram to communicate an emotional message and engage mobile users.

By establishing an emotional connection through images, these marketers deepen their relationship with consumers and bring them into the purchase funnel. Fair trade retailers hold an advantage on the platform by conveying to the consumer the authenticity and realism behind the making of the products (see story).

Nonprofit organization New York Cares used mobile to pose a question to New Yorkers and identify strong leads. The establishment was able to deliver a 2.05 percent click-through rate and help keep people warm during a bitterly cold winter.

Partnering with Qriously, New York Cares delivered an in-application banner with the question, “Do you have a coat you’d donate to the needy?” to city residents. Recipients could respond in one of several ways and were sent to a tailored New York Cares homepage based on how they answered (see story).

The strategies of the BBB Mobile Giving Foundation are in tune with the aforementioned efforts and believe the misconceptions of mobile must be eliminated.

“With mobile giving, users don’t need cash or a card,” Mr. Manis said. “They only need a phone and the ability to say yes. Mobile interactions are emotional and usually event-driven. Clear, inconspicuous conversations on mobile have become our priority.”

Final Take
Jim Manis, founder and CEO at the BBB Mobile Giving Foundation, Seattle

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