CauseTalk Radio Ep78: PayPal Talks About the Future of Online Giving

Today on CauseTalk Radio, Megan and I talk to Clam Lorenz, Director of Nonprofit Engagement at PayPal. Clam explains the important role Paypal plays in processing billions of dollars of donations every year, and how it's always expanding the ways it can work with nonprofits.

Clam also talks about the exponential growth of mobile donations and how PayPal is leading the charge in mobile giving. We also discuss the challenges nonprofits have in adopting a mobile-first strategy.

Finally, Clam, Megan and I discuss giving trends for 2014. Tune in now!

CauseTalk Radio Ep63: The Myths of Mobile Marketing for Nonprofits

This week on CauseTalk Radio, Megan and I talk to Jenifer Snyder, Executive Director of The mGive Foundation, about the myths of mobile marketing for nonprofits.

The mGive Foundation has supported more than 10,000 text donation campaigns for more than 500 nonprofit partners and processes around 85 percent of all text donations made today. Working with their partners, mGive helped charities raise almost $70 million through text message donations.

Megan, Jen and I talk about who's really giving with mobile devices and when and just how valuable having a donor's phone number is.

Finally, Jen and I debate the merits of former Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow, who now plays for my New England Patriots.

Is Tebow the second coming, or does this virgin throw like Mary? Tune in now!

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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Cause Marketing with QR Codes. Did Chili's and St. Jude Miss the Mark?

This is a guest post from Bob Jones of For an overview of their service check out my post There She Blows! Cause Marketing, Mobile Gifts Surface with You've probably heard about the successful partnership between Chili’s Grill & Bar and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. This longstanding cause marketing pact has raised tens of millions of dollars with its Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign.

This year alone the campaign raised $5 million.

A new feature of this year's campaign was a QR code on coloring sheets and table tents that took smartphone toting patrons to an information and donation page.  Including a QR code on a major campaign such as this one is impressive enough, but here's the real news: patrons scanned the QR code a whopping 291,000 times!

Critics of QR codes take note: consumers know what QR codes are and how to access their online content.

“By incorporating the QR codes into this charitable campaign, it was a great way to relate to Chili’s tech-savvy guests while giving St. Jude supporters another, easily accessible way to donate to the charity,” said Chili’s spokeswoman Julie Flowers.

While I admire the partnership and the creativity of including a QR code, Chili's and St. Jude missed the mark on maximizing donations.

When scanned, the QR code took the user to this page.


Click on "3 Donate Online to Make a Difference" and you go to this page.

The missed opportunity is obvious. This is where the user hits a wall. Would you want fill in all these boxes on your phone?  The giving opportunity is DOA. 291,000 scans, but I bet you could count the number of donations made on this page with your hands and toes.

There's a better solution: Give.Mobi.

The donor can easily make a gift with PayPal, credit or debit card or a simple pledge option. In each case, you can make a donation in seconds because delivers a mobile experience that closes the gift. You also get real-time tracking of every donation by location so you can keep tabs on which restaurants are leading the pack, or lagging.

QR codes for cause marketing are a great idea. But without a mobile-ready donation page to make giving easy, potential donors will navigate their giving elsewhere.

There She Blows! Cause Marketing, Mobile Gifts Surface with

I've talked a lot about the coming of mobile payments and their intersection with cause marketing on both my blog and at speaking appearances. It's something I'm really excited about. But up to now there hadn't been any sign in the water of this huge beast that would change giving and cause marketing with the same force The Whale shook Captain Ahab on the Pequod.

But the waters are parting and I see something rising:

Developed by Tulsa, Oklahoma based CharityCall, may be the best option yet for businesses and nonprofits that want to partner and raise money via mobile technology.

Here's how works.

1. Shoppers scan a QR code which takes them to a custom giving page. The QR code can appear anywhere: on a register sign or product, in a sales flier, etc. Check out this QR code appeal from Cinnabon bakeries.

2. The first page highlights the details of the program, in Cinnabon's case a fundraiser for anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength. Users can also easily share the campaign with friends on Twitter and Facebook.

3. Click on "Give Now" to visit the donation page. An advantage here is that you can contribute more than you could with the $5 and $10 donations common to text giving. Not sold on donating on your phone? You can make a "pledge" by entering an amount and email address so you can receive a link to donate via PayPal, credit or debit card.

4. Once you enter a gift amount and click on "Give Now" you'll be asked to sign-in to your Paypal account and make a gift. Of course, the process isn't as easy if you don't have a PayPal account. isn't free. There's a $75 set-up fee, $39 monthly fee and the company gets 5% of collected donations. You'll also have to pay PayPal 2.2% on donations plus 30 cents per transaction. You're basically paying around a buck for every ten dollars you raise. I can live with that.

Does this new mobile platform work? I was impressed that Cinnabon raised $3,800 for Share Our Strength in just five days. That's pretty good for a passive cause marketing program. The average donation was $43 and the average cost per donation was $3.40.

Cinnabon president Kat Cole is a believer: "The ability to reach out and allow patrons to donate using their mobile smartphones made a big difference." is the best option right now for mobile cause marketing. You should give it a try. Bur remember: will have plenty of competition in 2012 as other mobile giving platforms are rolled out.  Mobile is the future, the future of cause marketing and perhaps the future of giving.

But that doesn't mean the right platform is right around the corner or will always be smooth sailing.

Like the legends of white whales that inspired Melville to write Moby Dick, we'll have to chase down each new mobile development for fundraisers to see if it's for real or a fake. But Cinnabon's success with Share Our Strength proves that is not just another fish story.

Cause Marketing Sampler: July 2008


Mobile Giving.  With seven Red Sox players dominating the American League line-up at tonight's All-Star Game, I thought I'd give you another reason to tune-in if for some strange reason you're not a Sox fan. Two nonprofit organizations, Stand up to Cancer and Make a Wish Foundation, will benefit through mobile donations.  To donate to Make a Wish Foundation, attendees and viewers will be prompted to text 'WISH' to 90999. For Stand up to Cancer donations, text 'STAND' to 40202.  The details are still being worked out, but we should see in-stadium and on-air calls to action for both charities.

Mobile giving is a fast growing area for fundraisers.  Just yesterday, the Washington Nationals and MLB launched a mobile donation program benefiting the creation of a Diabetes Care Complex for Children's National Medical Center.  During the game against the Houston Astros, fans were invited to text the word "NATS" to 90999 to give $5 to support the work of Children's National Medical Center to fight pediatric diabetes.

Do these programs raise money?  Keep a Child Alive has raised over $40,000 through mobile donations during Alicia Keys 'As I Am' tour.  During her concerts, Alicia Keys dims the house lights, plays a clip from her 'Alicia in Africa' film, and asks concertgoers to pull out their cell phones and text 'ALIVE' to 90999.  So far, over 8,000 donations have been made.

To learn more about mobile giving, visit  What I like about mobile giving is its potential to be used in numerous settings.  At sports arenas, at the supermarket, in conjunction with a point-of-sale or percentage-of-sale program, at company meetings, etc.  Just think if you could sit in a company auditorium and hear about the work of a bunch of nonprofits and by just using your cell phone choose your charities for payroll deduction.  The possibilities for mobile giving are endless!  And after checking out mGive, I was amazed at how easy and affordable it is to get started.

Viewers Identify with Brands that Support Favorite TV Shows Causes.  This was the conclusion of U.K. research reported on by AdAge that looked at how subtly TV sponsorship works and how different its effects are from traditional spot advertising.  I think the research is applicable to cause marketing in several ways.

  • Like cause marketing, TV sponsorship works "by capitalizing on a viewer's feelings about a program.  The stronger the relationship the viewer has with the program, the more effective the sponsorship will be at driving these emotions toward the brand."  Most cause marketing programs work because consumers have a long, positive and strong relationship with a corporate brand--relationships that are in turn passed along to the cause partner and enhanced to the benefit the corporate brand.  While great cause marketing programs have different appeals and approaches they all share one thing: a strong corporate partner.
  • If a TV sponsorship can have an impact on a fans' favorability toward a brand (the sense of the brand being "for me" can rise as much as 12% and intent to purchase can be up to 9% higher), why are companies so surprised when I tell them that cause marketing can significantly improve their favorability with consumers?  If a Domino's Pizza TV sponsorship of The Simpsons can help sell pizzas, isn't Domino's support for sick kids at St. Jude's a sales driver too?  Domino's obviously gets this, but most companies still do not.
  • Cause marketing partners want what the U.K. study calls "brand rub."  Just as TV fans tend to use the same words to describe programs AND sponsors--"funny," "enjoyable," "friendly"--corporate partners hope to benefit from the "brand rub" of causes and be called "compassionate,"  "responsible" and "giving".
  • Like cause marketing partnerships, the rewards of TV sponsorships come with time.  "Longevity reaps greater rewards with increases in intent to purchases, favorability and fame."  Perhaps most interestingly, "Given time, even brands that are not a natural fit with a show can enter the viewer-program and fame."  This speaks to a point I often make about the synergy between nonprofit and for profit.  Do they always have to be closely linked?  Like the one I saw last month between Vitamin Shoppe and Vitamin Angels--so similar I asked if the latter was separate from VS, which it is.  I've always thought that consumers don't really care what cause companies support.  What they do want from businesses is a sincere commitment to a good cause.  Period.  They may scratch their heads in the beginning, but with time and commitment from the company, customers will stop scratching and start applauding your good deeds, whatever they may be.
  • Not surprisingly, the appeal of TV sponsorships is emotional, not rational.  "Only 10% of respondents believed that sponsorship has informed them about a brand or has been thought provoking."  The same is true of cause marketing, which at its most basic level is transactional.  "Do you want to donate a dollar to help a sick child?"  It's not meant to educate, inform or change the way you think about a company.  It's meant to make you feel.  If you want thought provoking watch PBS.  Appeals to the head should never be mistaken for matters of the heart.