I have a confession.

I’m a designer who, up until recently, held some pretty naïve opinions about mobile fundraising. I may have championed responsive design, but secretly I asked myself things like, “How many people really make a donation on an iPhone?”

Have you been there? Or maybe you’re  still there?

At the end of the 2014 giving season, we completed a mobile fundraising study across 343 nonprofit websites to help separate our facts from our opinions. The results are eye-opening and really thwack some of mobile fundraising’s biggest myths.

Get ready…

Myth #1: No one really donates on mobile

Reality: Across all of the nonprofits we measured, an average 9.5% of donations came from mobile devices. The ratio of mobile-to-desktop donations also varied significantly across organizations.

When measuring the top quarter of organizations with the highest mobile-to-desktop gift ratio, the average climbed to 17.8%. That’s more than 1 in 6 donors on mobile.

Myth #2: No one really buys memberships on mobile

Reality: 12.3% of the membership purchases come from smartphones or tablets. Moreover, 17.2% of memberships are purchased on mobile when the nonprofit’s website is responsive.

Myth #3: No one really registers for events on mobile

Reality: 19.6% of events registrations come from mobile devices. That’s almost 1 in 5 of event registrants! Across the board, supporters are almost twice as likely to register for an event than make a donation on mobile.

Myth #4: Few donors read emails on mobile

Reality: 49% of all emails were read on mobile across the web during December of 2014. Many of you already know the importance of making emails sing on an iPhone, but this becomes even more critical for nonprofits when looking at Myth #5…

Myth #5: Donors read emails on mobile, but only donate and register from emails on desktop

What do these results tell us about mobile fundraising?

  1. If event fundraising matters, you can’t ignore mobile
    I say again, friends. Almost 1 in 5 are registering for nonprofit events from a mobile device.
  2. If donations or memberships offer benefits, the stakes just get higher
    Up to 17% of memberships purchased on mobile is significant, but the number swings even higher when benefits are offered. If you’ve created an urgency for your donors to act, don’t let a conversion slip away because your website is not optimized for mobile. Which leads to…
  3. Don’t just optimize your website for mobile…
    If your site is responsive, you’re winning but also make certain your emails and forms are elegant on mobile. Even if you can’t make your emails responsive, this advice from Mike Snusz is still golden.
  4. Don’t believe my data. Get your own.
    The amount of mobile over desktop revenue varied significantly across nonprofits. Your mobile transactions could easily be higher than the averages results above based on your nonprofit’s focus, the demographics of your supporters, and your fundraising strategy. Find out. Crack open Google Analytics.

Where did we get the data for this study?

We measured 343 small and medium-sized nonprofits all using Blackbaud Online Express. 137 of the sites were responsive and 206 had traditional designs. The websites were managed across a variety of publishing platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.

We analyzed 22,648 donations, 3,091 registrations, and 1,476 membership transactions captured between November 1st and December 31st of 2014. All of the embedded fundraising forms were responsive even when the nonprofit’s website was not.

Share the infographic!

I created a rad little infographic for easy sharing. Enjoy.

MobileFundraisingInfographic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brandon Granger is a Senior Interaction Designer at Blackbaud for Online Express, MobilePay, Friends Asking Friends, NetCommunity, and other products. Brandon has been crafting user experiences for the web and mobile apps for nonprofits for 15+ years. He has a passion for user research, usability testing, high-fidelity prototyping, responsive design, mobile design, and web accessibility. Brandon graduated from the University of North Texas with an undergraduate degree in Film Studies. You can follow him at @bkgranger.

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