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3rd June 2010
Mobility Meets Compassion; New AIME Event Empowers Charities & Non-Profits to Leverage Mobile
We all have our excuses for not donating to disaster relief funds or to our favourite charities: We're broke, the donation process is too complicated or we lack the time to write and send a cheque or dial a call centre. Mobile donating--giving money to an organization via text message--makes giving a lot easier and has a significant impact on the charity’s bottom line.
These issues and more were discussed and explored during the AIME K&N full day seminar last week in London: Empowering the Charitable Sector with Interactive Technology. The event’s success has led to the formation of a Charity and Interactive Tech Special Interest Group, spearheaded by AIME, to help drive further improvements in the value chain and encourage more charitable organisations to tap into this rich seam of revenue and communications.
Charity begins online
We'll cross the road to avoid a “chugger” (charity mugger), so how can fundraisers boost their dwindling donations? Mobile donations are an appealing option because they're convenient and offer instant gratification to consumers. Mobile donation systems also open up philanthropy to individuals who might otherwise feel that they couldn't contribute. Younger audiences, for instance, appreciate being able to donate via text message because they don't need a credit card to do so.
Although mobile is an important channel, there are many other ways in which interactive platforms can boost charities’ fundraising and awareness campaigns.
Alex Pashby, community manager for Just Giving, demonstrated how much work can be done by mining online community groups and social media platforms on behalf of charities like the Dog’s Trust and St Anne’s Hospice. Adding Twibbons to avatars drives awareness and also drives traffic to online donation sites.
Nigel Arthur from ExactTarget, the event’s gold sponsor, and Daniela Martino from WSPA, showed how smart email marketing platforms can help segment charity audiences and enable smarter CRM as well as high quality content directed to the people who care about your cause.
Paul Hastings from Red Button and online platform gaming company, Mirada Touch Plc, demonstrated how even small charities can adopt interactive platforms for simple, effective campaigns. And Darren Parker, sales director for BT Agilemedia proved how its IVR and credit card compliant systems are helping charities to make it easier and simpler for consumers to donate larger financial pledges.
Our keynote speaker, Caroline Lien, head of operations for Comic and Sport Relief, outlined how all interactive platforms – web, TV, mobile, social media – have played their part in helping the two annual BBC fronted campaigns to increase donations and drive incredibly successful awareness campaigns.
Of course, it all comes back to mobile in the end and much of the seminar’s afternoon sessions were focused on this channel. Themes about mobile being the most ubiquitous channel for getting your message and fundraising plea into the palms of consumers, were thoroughly analysed by Robert Thurner, commercial director of mobile agency, Incentivated. Robert highlighted several case studies from the likes of Save the Children, Marie Curie and British Heart Foundation.
Keith Brown from paythru, Rory Maguire from 3, Roger Craven of Vir2, Jim Manis of Mobile Giving Foundation USA and Simone Schmidlkofer from Cause2Connect all focused on how mobile text donations via short codes work and how they could be improved from a user and a charity viewpoint. Experiences from the USA were shared with the audience and a roadmap towards a more positive future for the UK was signposted.
Clearly, there remains more work to be done in making the mobile platform perform even better for more and more charities. The final panel session, chaired by Mike Short, honorary chairman of the MDA and VP at O2 Group, featured discussions about how these improvements in the value chain can be achieved and how the industry is responding to charitable sector needs and concerns. Mike’s expert knowledge and questioning in this area brought out the best of the panel, which included Rob Weisz of MIT, Rory Maguire of 3, Paul Whiteing of PhonePayPlus and Rupert Daniels of the Join 1Goal Org charity.
AIME’s work in this area will not stop with this event and a positive momentum was gathered to push new initiatives, workshops and further seminars forward around this important area for industry and the third sector. We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the day and will definitely be re-visiting the topics later in the year and in 2011.
A Special Interest Group is being coordinated by AIME to assist in greater understanding of needs between the two groups. For those who would like register their interest in this group, please email either myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Zoe (email@example.com) for further information.
Event Chairman and Director of Communications