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Thoughts on Pew Internet: Real Time Charitable Giving

January 21st, 2012 by Doug | Posted in mobile marketing, text marketing

If you’re interested in learning more about text giving programs like the hugely successful programs from the American Red Cross then I suggest reading the latest research report from Pew Internet and American Life Project that can be found at, “http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/MobileGiving.aspx”.

I have the privilege of working with the American Red Cross and I played a central role in launching the Text Haiti to 90999 program back in 2010 with Mobile Accord so I’m particularly pleased to see this data available publicly. My experiences correlate well to those presented in this research report but there are a few pieces of data that are missing.

Surprisingly the Red Cross found that the vast majority of text donors had no prior relationship with the Red Cross. Here’s the URL to the Mobile Marketer story where that data was presented – “http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/messaging/7169.html”. Many charities are concerned about cannibalizing larger online donations with smaller text donations. This data suggests that text donations are incremental to other channels and that text is a great way to recruit new supporters to your cause.

There’s also a bit of controversy over the efficacy of text donations. Overall donations from text for the Red Cross Haiti appeal were around 7% of total funds raised. As a percentage of donations from digital channels only, the text donations were an even larger share. Subsequent disaster fundraising results show this trend continuing. Most charities would welcome Increasing total donations by high single digits while meeting new supporters so text appears to be effective.

Perhaps more important though are the implications for the future. Text is just one channel for donations from a mobile phone and a mobile phone is just one category of mobile device. Imagine how effective mobile giving will be in the future when charities are able to much more seamlessly integrate text, social media, and traditional digital campaigns reaching the whole universe of connected devices (tablets, smartphones, e-readers, etc.) giving the public multiple ways to support causes important to them and at a moments notice. Over time text may not turn out to be the most lucrative fundraising channel but it is most definitely showing us that mobile is increasingly important to the public as a way to connect with their causes and cannot be ignored as part of a comprehensive digital strategy.


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Will My Smartphone App Succeed?

June 6th, 2011 by Doug | Posted in Smartphone Apps

I saw this article recently that shares some very interesting statistics on smartphone application downloads and sales metrics. The article’s title is, “Why is it harder to make money on Android than on Apple’s iOS”. I think that the metrics have broader implications as your non-profit or for-profit company considers a smartphone strategy.

Taking a look at the top line numbers for downloads you’ll see that the top 6 apps on iOS reached at least 500,000 downloads while on Android only the top 2 had exceeded more than 500,000 downloads. Another telling metric is that there have only been 26 different applications in the top 10 free and paid apps on Android and 94 different applications in Apple’s App Store top 10 free and paid. Given that there are well over 250,000 applications on Apple’s App Store it’s easy to see that competition is fierce to get a significant number of consumers to download your application.

Thinking about the costs to develop an application,achieving positive ROI on a direct revenue basis is incredibly difficult soit’s important to understand the rational to invest in the app channel or risk disappointment. Do you have high-value customers that appreciate the quality experience an application can offer? Do your customer or supporters want to connect with you on a frequent basis? Is there content that must be accessible even when there is no data connect? Will your brand visibility increase with an application? These are all good reasons to enter the application market. Just make sure you set expectations accordingly and you’ll be happy with your results.

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