Mobile Giving

Sometimes what you need is right in front of you

Written by: Paul de Gregorio
Posted: 30th October 2012

I love my job. I’m an unashamed direct response fundraiser so the numbers as well as the creative excite me. I’m also obsessed with how charities can use technology to deliver the very best supporter relationships and ultimately raise more money.

Mobile has been grabbed by many and touted as the next big thing for fundraising. Apps, NFC, QR Codes and Augmented Reality are all sworn to be the future of fundraising. Whilst I can see the potential in all of these things, I’m not sure that their time is now. What we are seeing right now in the sector is an explosion in the use of an old technology, the humble SMS.

Fundraising, when stripped right back to basics is a relatively simple thing.

We need to present a clear need to people, in the most straight forward way possible.

We then need to show those people how they can help. The impact their money can have.

So it follows that if we get those two things right we will get a response. 

Well not always.

The other thing we need to do is make it easy to give. This is where SMS is coming into its own as sending a text is one of the easiest things to do. And it’s very quick, you see the advert, take out your phone, send a text and you’ve given. It takes seconds.

SMS is ubiquitous. We can all send one. The point of fundraising is to make it easy for as many people as possible to give. Not make it easy for a small percentage of ‘early adopters’ to give.

So I’m convinced that Apps, NFC, QR Codes and what ever comes next will all have their day. But until something comes along that replaces the speed, ease and ubiquity of SMS we all need to take this old favourite seriously.


Paul is Head of Mobile at Open Fundraising. He has been fundraising since 1996. Before joining Open to head up the agency’s mobile offering in 2011, Paul was client services director at telephone fundraising agency Pell & Bales. He has worked with many charities and membership organisations – including Cancer Research UK, the NSPCC, Oxfam, Age UK, The Labour Party, UNICEF UK and National Trust – to deliver fundraising and campaigning activity that inspires people to take action. 


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