The Guide to Mobile Fundraising at Your Event

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I love my smartphone. To be honest, sometimes I feel utterly lost without it, more than I feel when missing any of my other electronic devices. This is because in almost every instance, it replaces every other electronic device I use on a daily basis. I communicate with it, I find critical information with it, I use it to find my way around, and it is a terrific source of entertainment.

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This is the story for many of us and our mobile phones, but what about using them for fundraising? I’m sure that many don’t think of using their mobile phones when the topic of fundraising comes up, but surprisingly an average of one in six donations are actually mobile.

This guide will help you make the most of your event to seize on those one in six mobile donors, or maybe even more.  Here’s how.

Announce Your Intended Fundraising Prior to the Event


Just like any other important happening at your upcoming event, announcing a mobile fundraiser beforehand can help prepare you and your guests. Perhaps there is some sort of app you will use to track your event and collect donations, so letting your guests know of all relevant aspects of your campaign will help you avoid any potential barriers.

Be sure to let your your guests know whether it will be done by app or by SMS donations and whether these donations will be tied to some sort of reward or other form of incentive. Half the fight of collecting donations is asking in the first place and you will miss 100% of all donations that people don’t know you are asking for.

Choose and Set up a Donation System


There are different methods to use when prompting donations from your event attendees, whether it is PayPal donate button on your mobile event page, SMS text donations, or other kinds of mobile giving apps.  Many full-fledged fundraising software options also offer these tools within the system, and you should check to see if your current event management software allows mobile donations.

Choosing your donation method may come down to something as simple as your venue. Some venues may not have the best Wi-Fi which may leave SMS message donations as your most practical option. However, if your venue offers Wi-Fi to your participants, an online button or app may be the route you want to take.

Of course any donation system should have an “opt out” or “stop messages” function, so make sure that is set up, especially with an SMS system. It won’t do your organization any good to annoy your potential donors with an endless stream of text prompts that they have no way of stopping.

If they weren’t going to donate from the start, sending endless messages won’t change that.

Incentivize Donations at Your Events


Certainly many people donate out of the good of their hearts (and to take a little off of their tax burden at the end of the year), but there is nothing wrong with providing some sort of incentive for giving.

Offering prizes, recognition, or even discounted registration for a pledge to donate at the event can help give donors that extra push they need to give their money to your worthy cause. Maybe even the first 100 mobile donors could be rewarded for their urgency by getting a free drink pass to the event bar or some similar prize.

The goal is to get them to donate as soon as possible DURING the event so as to keep their probability of action high. The more time that is wasted, especially after an event, the smaller probability they will donate to your cause.

Send Out Donation Prompts During the Event


Every registration for your event can easily come with phone numbers if it is requested in the registration form. This solves your problem of having to request the information later during the event and allows you to send out prompts (either through text or app notification) to your guests for them to donate.

When I used to work in outsourced marketing, one of the most valuable lessons they taught me was how to use opportunity and emotions to my advantage when trying to close a sale. This same lesson can be applied to sending out donation prompts. It is all about opportunity, emotions, and timing.

Sending out donation prompts right at the beginning of an event, when everyone is getting settled and acclimated to the environment will most likely lead to a high number of ignored requests. Instead, send out prompts after a presentation or during a speech that touches on feelings of need or motivation to best prompt your potential donors.
Strike while the iron is hot.

Thank Your Donors for Their Contribution

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As a child my parents always taught me to send “Thank You” notes and cards to anyone who gave me a gift during a birthday or Christmas so that those who gave would know my appreciation. This principle should always be applied to donations, whether mobile, physical, or online.

Showing gratitude for contributions via thank you notes is a quick and easy way to assure your donors their money is appreciated and will be put to good use.


Has your organization used mobile fundraising systems before, during, or after an event? What worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for Event Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Event Management software solutions.

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About the Author


Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a former Capterra analyst.



Hey Nick,

Jon from Accelevents here. Great article. We love Capterra and advertise on it. That said, it’s important to consider the impact silent auctions and raffles will have on your fundraising event proceeds. We’ve built a mobile system to help with that process.



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