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How To Get Big Donations—Through Your iPhone!

Resource Center - Foundation

Experienced in internet donation processing, Philip King of Cornerstone Group of Companies talks to us about big mobile donations and how integrating fundraising channels is a key step in getting more donations! Learn from King and Cornerstone’s clients’ experiences with mobile donations—you too can cash in through your iPhone.

Q: In mobile, are you seeing any impressive donations?

Philip King: Yes. One of Cornerstone’s clients decided that along with an extensive direct mail campaign they would try mobile and make screens responsive for desktops, tablets and mobile. We’d been working with them on their Google Analytics, so we’d been seeing the ‘mobile migration’ in their audience for some time.

For a recent special event, which is very large, we were delighted with the results of our client’s mobile donation results. In that event, their largest desktop donation was $9,500, their largest mobile donation was $3,400 and their largest tablet donation was $2,700.

In one day alone, they raised over $165,000 from mobile devices! This shows how donors are really becoming comfortable with donating via multiple channels as long as the charity makes this process smooth, secure and enticing.

Q: How can this ‘multiple channel world’ be made seamless for donors?

PK: It’s all about integration. Everyone has a favorite channel for donations. I used to hear all the time, “I give by mail” or “I donate online.”  But these days, people use multiple channels simultaneously. If someone normally gives through the mail but they happen to be on vacation with their iPad, and they receive a charity email blast and want to give, they may quickly become a ‘tablet donor’.

Donors are giving in many different ways, so when you’re sharing your story, it’s important to meet your audience where they already are—whether that is in their inbox or on Facebook.

It’s really a service to your donors.

Q: How can you determine which channels people were using?

PK: We do a lot of work with Google Analytics—it’s a free technology, so it’s ideal for many nonprofit organizations.

A key to determining the best channel for your nonprofit is using ecommerce tracking and connecting that to your online donation platform. Once you do that, you can see if a donation came in via iPad, iPhone or laptop. You can also see if the online donor came to the donation form from an email, Facebook, a Google search, etc., which then helps you maximize your online marketing budget.

Q: What can organizations start to do to get big donations via mobile?

PK: One of the first steps is to make sure donors can give to you via mobile. Using only your iPhone (or smartphone), try to make a donation to your own organization. Go all the way through the process.

Now do this using only an iPad. How did it feel? Were there spots that slowed you down?

We know from our research that page-load time is critical for a successful online donation. If a mobile page takes more than a couple of seconds to load, you can say ‘goodbye’ to that potential donor.

Q: Where can I go to learn more?

PK: Spend some time getting to know your own Google Analytics data first. Clients ask us all the time how they compare to other teams we work with. I tell them to start by benchmarking themselves. What was their donation conversion rate in 2013? In other words, what was the overall number of online donations divided by the overall number of visitors they had to their website? Once a team understands this, they can then start to measure their desktop vs. mobile vs. tablet conversion rates. And I find what gets measured, gets managed better.

Happy multi-channel fundraising!

To learn more about Donation Processing with the Cornerstone team, contact Philip King at Or, visit

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