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Oxfam drives mobile donations for Nepal with location-based campaign

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May 15, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 2.58.07 PMNonprofit Oxfam America is leveraging location-based ads on the smartphones of attendees at Internet Week to drive them to a mobile-optimized site where they can make a donation to support relief efforts in Nepal.

Charities such as Oxfam are looking for ways to drive donations from mobile devices, where consumers are increasingly spending time. While much of the early focus in mobile fundraising was on text-to-give, nonprofits are starting to explore new areas such as mobile advertising and social media.

“Donating to a cause is deeply rooted in the personal or emotional connection people have with those involved,” said Monica Ho, head of marketing infrastructure at xAd. “Even if you don’t know of anyone directly affected, a cause can find and connect with benefactors by speaking directly to them on a local level – whether it’s in the ad message itself, or the way an ad is targeted.

“This campaign was designed to address this  ‘Scope Insensitivity’ or ‘Donor Fatigue’ (different names for the same problem) faced by these causes,” she said. “The reality is people are likely to ignore problems that seem too big and unrelated to their own lives.

“As a result, by honing our efforts down to one specific audience who have a common interest — we can speak to them directly and hopefully catch their attention enough to take action and support this important cause.”

Local relevance
Since the 7.8-magnitude earthquake occurred in Nepal last month, more than 8 million people have been affected, losing their homes, their families and their livelihood, according to Oxfam.

By targeting ads to attendees on their smartphones when they are at Internet Week venues and events, Oxfam hopes to make the Nepal earthquake feel locally relevant, driving conversation about and donations to the relief efforts.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 2.58.09 PM

Internet Week is an annual event in New York celebrating the city’s Internet industry and community. This year it is expected to attract approximately 50,000 people.

The campaign hopes to take advantage of the fact that the event’s tech-savvy attendees are likely to already be on their phones as they travel around to different 250 different planned events.

The campaign, which is being delivered pro bono by xAd, will reach participants during the event who are engaged with the platform’s network of more than 30,000 mobile applications.

All donations go directly to on-the-ground support in Nepal.

The campaign ads will be directed to people who are at or nearby key venues and event spaces during conference hours and scheduled events. Target venues include the Metropolitan Pavilion, official event accommodations and transit hubs.

The ad reads “ Internet Week;” “Let’s Make An Impact,” “Donate For Nepal Now.”  From the ad, those that engage are brought to a mobile-enabled Oxfam America landing page where they can complete a short form and provide payment information to donate.

The campaign includes a social element, with attendees encouraged to share on social media using the hashtag #location4good about how they are trying to make a difference.

There will also be announcements and signs at the event letting attendees know how they can donate.

“On average, smartphone users check their phones over 150 times a day,” Ms. Ho said. “This campaign provides an easy way for people to donate – through a simple mobile ad that drives directly to Oxfam America’s mobile-optimizing donation page.”

“There is a lot of opportunity for nonprofits to benefit from this type of location marketing,” she said.

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

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