Skip to main content

How to Hold a Mobile Fundraiser

Raise money the mobile way, so people can donate to your cause anytime, anywhere. All they need is a cell phone and a desire to help. For more information visit: "":


  • Step 1: Be transparent A successful fundraiser is built on trust and transparency. Check local laws governing charitable organizations, and follow strict accounting and reporting procedures so donors know exactly where their money's going.
  • Step 2: Choose a service provider Register a short code with a mobile-service provider: a five-digit number that donors can contact via SMS, or text message. The service provider adds a set amount of money (right now, $5) to the donor's phone bill, which is then passed on to your organization. Short codes can be expensive; save money by sharing one among many groups.
  • TIP: In the U.S., register with the Mobile Giving Foundation, a nonprofit that registers charities to ensure they pay minimal carrier fees.
  • Step 3: Choose a keyword Choose a keyword that donors can send via text message to indicate their desire to donate. Keep it simple, so it's easy to remember and spell, and make it meaningful to your cause or group's name.
  • Step 4: Create a campaign Create a specific campaign that capitalizes on the unique strength of mobile giving: It can be done at any time, from any location. Consider linking your campaign to a holiday or specific event to give donors a deadline to meet, or setting a specific monetary goal.
  • Step 5: Get the word out Cross-promote your mobile campaign by including the short code and your keyword on your web site, social-networking sites, blogger networks, Twitter posts, and on signs at events you host.
  • TIP: If you're holding a physical fundraising event in conjunction with your mobile one, make sure to present the option to donate via text, and educate your volunteers so they can help instruct potential donors. While it's possible to text potential donors info on how to give, it may not be cost-effective to do so.
  • Step 6: Seek publicity Approach the organizers of big public gatherings that might align with your cause to publicize your campaign for free. If you have a spokesperson, ask him or her to talk up the campaign. Send press releases to popular radio shows or newspapers in the hopes of promotional coverage.
  • Step 7: Forge partnerships Ask a private-sector company to team up with you as part of their corporate social responsibility policy. They may be willing to match the every text donation (usually up to a predetermined amount), or to donate goods that they sell on behalf of the texter.
  • TIP: If your objective meets the goals of your mobile phone provider's corporate social responsibility policy, they may be willing to promote your campaign for free or to lower your carrier fees.
  • Step 8: Engage donors Keep donors engaged. Post donor names on your web site, and provide specific, frequent updates on your progress. The more a donor can see proof that they're making a difference, the likelier they are to continue supporting your cause.
  • FACT: In 2008, the first full year mobile giving was available, a half a million dollars was raised via texts -- $200,000 more than all of the internet proceeds of 1997, the first year online donations became popular.

You Will Need

  • A mobile-service provider
  • A short code
  • A keyword
  • Publicity
  • Partnerships

Popular Categories