Tuesday 12 July 2011

My Mum can send an SMS message, just don't ask her to scan a QR code

I have a reputation for excessively promoting and being obsessed by QR Codes. I’m not into them just because they are new, cool, beautiful or quirky, though I might have said that in the past. I’m into them because they have the potential to refresh traditional channels and give better experiences to supporters.

As a fundraiser I like uses of technology that make it easy for people to take action once they’ve been inspired. I really don’t care if it’s a QR Code, short url or whatever else the future holds.

However, what I am evangelical about and don’t spend enough talking about is the simple SMS message.

I like SMS messages more than I like QR Codes. 

I like SMS messages because everyone uses them. Even my mum. Don’t ask her to scan a QR code.

Everyone knows how to send an SMS message and you don’t need a smart phone to send one.

I like SMS messages because donors don’t have to give all their information to the charity they support...


Yup, I like them because the donor doesn’t have to give their name and address unless they want to and we ask nicely.

Think about it, the most personal data anyone could give us is his or her name and address. That’s potentially a barrier to response right there. While we don’t get a name or address with an SMS donation, we get something that it could be argued is far more useful. We get a clear signal of what motivates or inspires that person to get involved and make a donation. 

Last week several charities I work with used SMS to ask people who had donated previously by SMS to give again in response to the unfolding crisis in East Africa. Results have been brilliant across the board.  

So without knowing any individual supporter’s name we managed to do the best thing a fundraiser can, we inspired them to give again. 

1 comment:

  1. SMS is good. But I think some charities are too quick to treat mobile numbers as regular giving prospects. For example. I did a "text to give" thing a few weeks back, and got my direct debit conversion phone call the very next day at 4.30pm.

    And guess what? The script for the conversion call had *nothing at all* to do with the text to give ask. And I mean nothing at all.

    So maybe this isn't a comment about SMS. Maybe it's a comment about how charities integrate SMS into their programme.

    Incidentally, the charity in question clearly hadn't even matched my mobile number against their database before putting my number out for calling -- the caller didn't know my name, even though I've provided my mobile number on an online form to the same charity, along with my name & address.

    Oh dear.