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Faith Leaders 4min read

Mobile Giving Lessons I Learned From My Mom

Mobile giving isn’t just for millennials. Other generations–Generation X, Baby Boomers, and even seniors love the ease and convenience of being able to make their church and charitable donations from their smartphones. They don’t need to carry cash, they don’t have to write checks, and they have instant access to their giving histories.

My mom is nearly 70 years old, and after years of typing and doing needlework has developed arthritis in her hands. She’s still active, getting out and mowing her lawn, cooking, and shoveling snow in the winter. It’s just that her hands don’t work as well as they used to.

Her laptop recently died after many years of faithful service, so she has begun to use her iPhone for things other than Facebook and playing solitaire. She will often bring up issues and problems she has using mobile apps and websites for things she used to do on her computer.

I often use her as an example when discussing technology adoption and use among older generations, and I’ve learned a great deal about user experience from her. There are some important things to keep in mind when evaluating a mobile giving solution so that it appeals to both younger and older donors.

Text-To-Give and Online Forms Don’t Cut It

My mom doesn’t like texting because the keyboard is small, and her stiff hands make it difficult to type on her phone. Leaving out the fact that text-to-give requires donors to remember complicated numbers and codes, the mere act of texting means this is a barrier for her.

The same holds true for online forms. Even when mobile-optimized, you see the same problem for someone with limited hand mobility trying to type on a small keyboard. These forms require donors to fill out multiple fields of information every time they want to make a gift. Another big stopper.

Text-go-give and online forms also don’t provide the visual cues that show a donor they’re giving to the right organization. What happens if they’re one number off when they enter the code because they can’t move their hands very well? Where did their money go? What about a logo, a profile image, or a photo of the pastor to let them know they’re donating to their home church?

User Experience Matters … a Lot

Even when a website is mobile-optimized, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a good user experience. If you’re relying on your website to provide a mobile giving portal, you’re missing out on donations.

Your site probably has a plethora of links to videos, readings, events, announcements and the like. All of these things are great, but they can be problematic for donors. There are too many options that increase the likelihood that your members may be distracted from giving. And all these options are usually found in deep menus with many links, all of which are very small, making it hard to tap the correct place.

A truly useful mobile giving solution provides a clear, uncluttered user experience that lets donors know exactly what they’re doing, and make it easy and visually appealing to donate.

Proactively Preventing Mistakes

People with full mobility tap on the wrong link or icon, or make an error when entering their name or phone number. You’ve done this yourself countless times. Now imagine the experience someone without full movement of their hands.

Have you ever been making a purchase or some other transaction on your phone in a place where the WiFi or cellular data signal wasn’t very good? You get to the point where you think your transaction is complete, but you’re not entirely sure. What do you do? You tap the Submit button again.

With text-go-give and online forms, in this situation you are most likely double-charged because these platforms aren’t “smart” enough to know you didn’t mean to hit the Buy button multiple times. Ideally your mobile giving app should be able to detect such errors and visually prompt the donor of the potential mistake, ensuring they’re never over-charged.

Mobile Giving for All Generations

Implementing a mobile giving solution that is easy to use and pleasing to the eye benefits every one of your donors. Your younger members will enjoy the same features that appeal to older folks. When donating is a joyful experience, people will actually use your mobile giving app.

About the Author

Matt is dedicated to making the world a better place. He works passionately to help charitable causes use mobile technology to raise the funds they need. In addition to his role at Givelify, he volunteers with the Southside Animal Shelter and Kentuckiana Pug Rescue.

Matt Chandler