With new service, DMW seeks to help stations boost mobile giving

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A new service from DMW Direct Fundraising aims to help pubmedia stations reach members and donors through cellphones and tablets, using software for creating mobile-friendly pledge forms.

According to DMW, the new service will be more effective than the text-to-give format many stations have experimented with because it doesn’t rely on cellphone carriers to collect money and allows for larger donations. It also offers more opportunities for individualized communications.

Mobile giving can be an important revenue stream, but stations should view it as more than just dollars and cents, said DMW President Debbie Merlino.

“It’s really important to not just think of this as another channel for revenue only,” she said. “It really needs to be about engagement. One of the biggest things we warn stations about is to not view people’s cellphones as an ATM.”

Merlino also stresses that stations should target listeners’ interests rather than use generic messages. In one case, people who attended an event about Ken Burns’ Roosevelts series were asked to text a specific keyword to sign up for mobile communications related to the show. Such opt-in methods ensure that donors get mobile alerts only about topics they’re interested in, while giving stations a better idea of what their audience likes.

DMW Direct uses cloud-based mobile fundraising software developed by MobileCause to help fundraisers create a mobile fundraising strategy. DMW provides the software to stations, but the company says its most valuable contribution is in helping stations develop appropriate strategies. Though mobile use is growing among all age groups, it can be particularly useful in connecting with younger donors, who appreciate knowing more about how their donations are used, according to DMW’s research.

“Younger donors like to see the impact of their gift,” said Mary Toropov, an account director with DMW. “They demand to know what their giving did in a concrete way. Mobile is a great way to do that, a great way to show them that their giving is making a difference in an active and hard-to-ignore way.”

Establishing a mobile line of communication between the station and donors can also help to develop sustaining donors, Toropov said.

“Everybody is so on the sustainer bandwagon, and I think mobile giving really ties in nicely with that,” she said. “We can send push notifications out about a pledge [drive] or contact people when their credit cards are expiring or something’s gone wrong.”