How to Make a Mobile Donation in One Minute (or Less)'s Bob Jones sent me these three attractive QR Codes to prove just how easy it is to make a donation on your mobile device. Try it for yourself. Regardless of your mobile device, you can find a QR Code reader in your app store. 

  1. Open the app and hold your device over the QR Code.
  2. The code will link you to a mobile page with the nonprofit's logo.
  3. Press GIVE NOW.
  4. Choose the amount you want to donate, or just send $1 as a test. (If you're hesitant about making a donation on your phone, no problem. Scroll down to email your pledge to yourself so you can donate from your computer.)
  5. Log in to Paypal and confirm your donation. If you're not signed up on Paypal you can plug in your credit card number. Either way, your password or credit card info will be saved for next time, which will make your donating even faster!

I followed these steps and completed a mobile donation to all three charities. The first one to Ace took me over a minute as I fumbled to follow my own directions. But donating to the other two took less than a minute!

Donating on your mobile device is fast, easy and secure. Mobile donations are here!

The hill to climb now is ADOPTION. If you've every used a service like LevelUp, Square, the Starbucks mobile payment app or another service, paying with your phone may already be second nature. But many others are just getting started.

When I was at Starbucks the other day using my phone to pay for my drink, the man behind me said: "Did you just pay with your phone?!"

We still have a little way to go. But this freight train is coming, and it's ahead of schedule.

More details: 7 Ways to Raise Money with QR Codes

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4 Ways Nonprofits Can Get Started with Mobile (and 4 Ways They Shouldn't)

I'm writing this post in Kansas City where I presented at the Philanthropy Midwest Conference on How Mobile is Changing Nonprofit Fundraising and Marketing.

I put a lot of work into this presentation, as I really wanted to share some useful advice with my listeners on how to get started with mobile. I had four main suggestions to get nonprofits started on mobile NOW without going broke or crazy.

  1. Mobile starts with you. I bet you own a smartphone but what do you use it for besides email, music and Angry Birds? I use mine to track the analytics of my blog and e-newseletter, to pay bills and deposit checks, to buy my Starbucks latte, to unlock discounts in QR Codes, to make to-do lists, to sign contracts and invoice clients. The list goes on and on. My point is that you can you yell "Charge!" in the mobile revolution when you're spending most of your time on a desktop. I challenged my listeners at PMC to take my Wicked Awesome Mobile Challenge. Mobile only for one week! Stop reading about mobile and start using it.
  2. Master Email first. The bad news is that you mostly use your smartphone for email. The good news is that most people are just like you. That's why before considering SMS, apps and location-based services you should master email on mobile devices. Is your email subject line powerful and fewer than 35 characters? How about reducing that five paragraph email to one? What about larger links for fat-fingered readers?
  3. Step up to QR codes. Half of you are probably cursing me right now. (Sorry mom.) But QR Codes are easy to use, free and they can teach you a lot about mobile best practices such as avoiding bloated images and Flash. Let's not forget the growing link between the physical and digital worlds that will continue with NFC and augmented reality over the next few years. QR Codes are the stone wheel that will ultimately propel a virtual revolution.
  4. Focus on social media. Five years ago nonprofits were obsessed with their websites. The latest craze is building mobile websites. Sadly, it will attract even fewer visitors than your traditional site. Go where the people are. Focus on engaging supporters on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or your blog. I'm not saying you shouldn't have a mobile site. But devote the bulk of your time, energy and resources to engaging supporters on social media sites.

Here are a few of the mobile practices I'm second guessing.

  1. SMS. Text based promotions make great sense if your nonprofit serves teens or is seeking donations after a major disaster. But for most local nonprofits building a SMS subscriber isn't worth the effort.
  2. Mobile donations. Their time will come - of that I'm convinced. But the time isn't now. However, it's not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the different mobile payment options so you're ready when the mobile wallet is mainstream.
  3. Apps. Apps don't have to be expensive and complex, but persuading people to use them can be.
  4. Location-based services. The last time I checked one percent of social media users were actively engaged (defined as checking-in two or more times a week) on location-based services such as Foursquare. I'd focus on the other 99 percent.

You have to decide on what areas of mobile to focus. Your current supporters, or the people you want to call supporters, can guide you. Don't try to predict what their mobile habits will be a year from now. Follow what they're doing now and they'll lead you to the future.

Are You Ready for Mobile Cause Marketing?

"Fate leads those who are willing. The unwilling it drags." - Seneca

I've been thinking and talking a lot about mobile and cause marketing lately. Mobile seemed to be a big buzz word at SXSW earlier this month and I know firsthand there was lots of talk about it at Nonprofit Technology Conference the following week. Over the two days I was there, the only sessions I attended were on mobile. A lot of chatter about mobile devices!

Frank Barry got me thinking about mobile again this morning (Frank does that from time to time) with this infographic. Mobile is pervasive, inescapable and dominant. Like a tidal wave heading for our shores, there's no running or hiding from it. As cause marketers we have to man and woman up!

But many of us are still playing in the sand oblivious to the impending wall of smartphones, apps, check-ins, texts, and mobile web sites bearing down on us.

As cause marketers we need to resize our thinking for mobile and prepare for the future.

1.  The change begins with you. I'm surprised by the number of aspiring cause marketers I meet that don't even own smartphones, or choose to use them like regular cell phones. You can't lead your organization's mobile efforts if you've never looked at a web site or replied to an email on your smartphone. While people nod their heads when I say mobile is important, they strangely don't believe that this revolution applies to them.

2.  Get busy. Think about everything you do as an organization and what needs be optimized for mobile. A little daunting, huh? Take a breath. A speaker at NTC talked about this (beginning at slide 19) and identified four key areas to rethink for mobile: text campaigns, mobile web sites, applications and email campaigns. This is great place to start.

3.  Start using Foursquare. Sure there are other location-based services to try: SCVNGR, Facebook Places, Gowalla, Loopt, etc. But Foursquare is the Facebook of location. So if you're pressed for time or interest, stick with Foursquare. Check-in to locations, click on "Specials," add pictures, leave tips (something I've only begun to do thanks to a push [more like a shove!] from Estrella Rosenberg.) Focus on becoming more comfortable with how location marketing works for businesses and where cause marketing is playing and could play a key role.

4.  Get social NOW! "Wait a minute!," you might be thinking. I have to embrace mobile and jump on social media too?" Yep, here's why. Social media is the ying to mobile's yang. They belong together. 50% of the people on Twitter use Twitter mobile. People watch 200 million Youtube videos a day on their mobile devices! Mobile devices are social devices. If you're not going to pick up a bat and glove and play along with people, don't even bother showing up for the game. Or sit in the stands as spectator.

5.  Stop talking about your fricken web site. I do believe that web sites are important. I don't believe they are the digital holy grail for your cause. Without innovation, engagement and portability it's an online billboard that doesn't change or engage, and the people that do see it generally just ignore it. Get over your web site.

We all have limited time and resources. The cause marketing of tomorrow requires that you give your full attention to mobile, location and social media.

The mobile wave is hurtling toward you. Will you float or flounder?

Social Media for Social Change - The Mobility Edition

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Social Media Breakfast - Boston today. It was great seeing everyone and talking about the intersection of social change with social media and mobile devices.

As promised, I've included my slides above and below are links to some posts you might find useful.

What is Cause Marketing? If you still have questions, this post should answer them. Be sure to check out the comments as they offer varying opinions from mine.

Point of Sale. This is our bread and butter cause marketing strategy because it's easy, lucrative and works well with social media and other types of fundraisers. For a primer on point of sale, start with this post. Keep in mind that point of sale is sometimes called register programs, mobiles, paper icons and scannables. The words change, the strategy is the same.

Our latest point of sale program is with Ocean State Job Lot.

Location-Based Services. The future of location-based cause marketing is bright with services like Foursquare and Checkpoints. Check out these posts.

QR Codes. A big complaint about transactional cause marketing is that it's, well, too transactional. Shoppers give a buck not always knowing what they are supporting or how it helps. But with QR codes cause marketers can inform, educate and inspire shoppers right at the register (or in the aisles). Read about the future of these offline hyperlinks here and here.

The Grouponing of Small Business. Groupon has had a big impact on how small businesses view marketing partnerships, including cause marketing. Small businesses are actively looking for a social component to their marketing. They are increasingly expecting personalized, sophisticated campaigns that effectively segment and target consumers. Finally, discounting and couponing have earned a new priority for small businesses. All of these new priorities need to be factored in to cause marketing programs.

Humans Rule. Social media, mobile and cause marketing are merely tools for connecting human beings for a charitable ask. Check out the findings of the Cone 2010 Cause Evolution Study. You should also read my case study of William-Sonoma and St. Jude to read about good people doing good point of sale for a good cause.

Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. If you either work for a cause or with one, my employer and I also share best practices of point of sale programs, including how to make them work with social media, in a three part webinar. The next one will be in late January.