Mobile fundraising via PayPal accounts for 1 in 4 online donations

Mobile fundraising grew 293% in Australia in past 12 months

If you’re a Marketer reading this, I imagine that you would be pretty satisfied with an annual year on year growth of 26% to your total revenue. PayPal Australia reports that donations made online has grown 26% in the last 12 months, pretty good industry growth by anyone’s standards, BUT digital donations made by mobile phone (via PayPal) has grown an incredible 293%. Australians gave over $6 million dollars to charity, via PayPal, in the last year, which makes up over 50% of PayPal’s total donations to charity – making us Aussies very generous compared to the rest of the world (it might also have something to do with our healthy economy compared to the rest of the world).


People give more often, but offer a lower value gift

PayPal has seen a 46% lift in online donation transactions in general, with 1 in 4 transactions occurring by mobile phone. But the online revenue for charities receiving donations via PayPal only grew 26%. So this leads me to believe that people are donating more often, but their gifts are of a smaller amount. Which makes sense to me because I know that the average mobile transaction globally is under $5 – but it must be said that this number is skewed by third world countries, where the mobile phone is often their only access to the internet, and where US$5 has a larger buying power than it does here in Australia. PayPal have not released how many online donation transactions have been processed in Australia or what the average gift was, but we can assume that it will be lower than the general online donation made via the computer.

Donate to UNICEF Australia via mobile phone

UNICEF have been fast to recognise the opportunity Mobile Fundraising offers

A great example of mobile fundraising

But on the bright side, I was well chuffed to read that UNICEF Australia, who have jumped on the Mobile fundraising trend early, are now receiving 10% of their total online donations via mobile. How awesome is that!


It saddens me that not all charities are taking advantage of the ability to be inspired and impulsive and donate via mobile when on the go. They also forget that mobile fundraising offers an incredible amount of convenience – for the supporter, to give when the moment takes them, as well as for the charity from a data management, payment processing and speed point of view. I checked WWF Australia’s website and they are not yet offering a mobile friendly payment gateway. You can donate on your phone, but its not the smooth experience that UNICEF have facilitated.


What specifically is driving the increase in mobile fundraising?

There is no indication in the research I’ve done as to where Mobile donations are coming from, as we know people rarely just decide to donate without a trigger. The uplift in mobile donations could be from:

  • the strategic use of mobile apps for Face to Face fundraising (who are the people who stop you in the street and tell you about their cause), as I have seen Bono’s ONE charity using iPads to capture newsletter subscriber details at the U2 concert.
  • It could be driven by multi-screen usage when people are watching TV and see a Fred Hollows ad and choose to donate via their mobile phone from the couch? This is a strong possibility as PayPal advise that most of the mobile donations are happening between 8pm and 10pm.
  • But my guess would be that the increase in mobile donation transactions is a direct result of email appeal fundraising.


2013 stats say 43% of email is now opened on a mobile device, and my own experience shows a much higher percentage with  sometimes over 70% of emails opened on a mobile device. Of course these statistics can change depending on the time you send the email, the day of the week you send the email and your brand and product. But the point is, that email fundraising can directly attribute to the increase in mobile donations.


The opportunity mobile fundraising provides

But that’s just my guess. As a digital marketer who promotes user experience above all else, I am very happy to see that the not for profit sector is starting to embrace mobile and the opportunities that mobile fundraising can present for their cause.

If you have any stories of donating to charity via mobile, please comment below and tell us of your experience, good or bad.