Charities must make the most of smartphone and tablet technology
Posted by Srijon Zaman on Fri 15th Feb 2013
A recent article by Zoe Amar for the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network was a clarion call that chimed with our own mantras about the role technology has to play in growing giving.
We've spent the last decade innovating to help grow generosity and witnessed nothing short of a revolution in the way donors behave. However, if anything, the piece underplays the rate at which mobile is growing as a giving platform. While it's true that many charities are still in the early stages of understanding their impact, giving via mobile platforms is growing at a blistering rate.
The simplest form of mobile donation is text giving, which has been most vividly realised in America, where close to $50m (£32m) was raised through texts alone after the devastating Haiti earthquake. Closer to home, text giving is enfranchising many smaller organisations – not just charities, but also causes that want to raise money and capitalise on a nation that is increasingly spontaneous. For instance, Acorns Children's Hospice raised £7,500 through JustTextGiving by simply publicising a text code during a football match.
Yet an even greater sea change has been driven by the rise of smartphone and tablet technology. A third of our site traffic now comes from mobile devices like these – four times as much as we saw this time last year. In fact, we believe that donations through smartphones will overtake traditional online donations through computers in less than a year.
Smartphones and tablets are a hugely popular gift and last year we saw a 150% month-on-month increase in mobile traffic after the festive period. The smartphone generation is also heavily active on social media and charities need to be aware of the opportunity of integration with social networks. For us, Facebook is quickly catching browsers as a major source of donations – with more than £25m raised through this channel last year and more than a quarter of all current mobile traffic coming from Facebook mobile usage.
Charities need to ensure that their donation processes are optimised for smartphones or they risk turning the new generation of givers off. There are 50 million people out there with a tablet or a smartphone. The potential for charities to do things differently, to make it easier for people to give more, wherever they are, is intoxicating.