With mobile phones being more ubiquitous every day, mobile technology is offering nonprofits another medium to connect with supporters and receive donations. I had a chance to take a tour of Mobile Commons recently and got an idea of what the tool offers.
Organizations can customize the codes or words that people text in. This is great for customizing for a campaign, such as "Text "ACTION" to XXXXX to request activist alerts".
To register for updates via text or email
A prospect can text a code to a number to register for updates via text and/or text their email address to register for email updates. Organizations can provide or request additional information in subsequent text messages.
To get or provide information
Organizations can construct conversations via text. For example, once someone is subscribed for updates, they could be offered a choice of update topic, for example, or be asked to provide additional information like zip code.
Mobile users can request information. Organizations can set up codes that send specific information. For example texting "banana" to a number would provide nutritional information or texting your senators name could provide their voting record on a certain issue.
Sending in responses is also possible. People can type in the answer to a question and those responses can then be displayed online so others can see the answers.
To make donations
Via a text message, supporters can donate $5 which is charged to their mobile phone bill. The ability to donate $10 is also soon to be an option.
From my point of view, currently these options seem best suited primarily to organizations with a statewide or nationwide presence and who are able to invest the over $400 per month for the service. For those groups this creates an exciting opportunity to engage with new audiences, including youth and lower income populations who may not have access to a computer, but do have a mobile phone.
To learn more, there are some excellent case studies done by my good friend Michael Stein and others on the MobileActive.org site.