SMS donation record for the Swiss Red Cross (SRC)

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1 SMS donation record for the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) Case study emergency relief hundred year flood in the Balkans. First figures for the donations collected via SMS Text: Katja Prescher Quantum leap wouldn t begin to describe this... A quantum leap would be from CHF 3000 to But we actually had a jump from CHF to ! It was incredible! Andreas Häner, Head of Public Fundraising for the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) Situation Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia on May 16, 2014: Whole cities and settlements were cut off from the world by continuous, heavy rainfall and severe flooding. Almost people had to leave their homes and tens of thousands had to be evacuated and taken to emergency shelters. The Swiss Red Cross (SRC) was on location from the first day of the disaster and began fundraising with local partner organisations the Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian Red Cross. The magic phrase is expat community; we have an enormous number of people from the Balkans working in Switzerland, and they have an excellent network, explains Andreas Häner. Challenges Organisations specialising in disaster relief, such as the SRC have to respond to emergencies very quickly. It is vital to use the correct communication channels for the distribution of the latest information. It is also important to know which online fundraising tools are the most effective and how to set them up swiftly. In addition, the SRC has to provide their donors with a suitable online tool for fast and simple donation. The challenge in the case of the Balkans disaster was also to avoid anyone feeling excluded or discriminated against in the various and diverse Balkan communities. Neutrality is part of the SRC s basic constitution, so the relief organisation had to take care not to offend sensibilities. Results In only three days we generated the highest-ever-collected SMS donations in the history of the SRC to date, says Nina Privitera, head of Web Office for the Swiss Red Cross. The SRC experienced recordbreaking SMS donations on the first day, when the Balkan countries declared a state of emergency due to the severe floods. The flow of donations didn t slow down on the second day either. On day three, the relief organisation had taken in SMS donations of almost CHF with an average donation sum of CHF 45, which is far above the average donation sum. Elaborating further, Häner explains: Depending on the campaign, the average SMS donation for the SRC is usually between CHF 10 and CHF 20. It s so overwhel- ming; we would never have imagined this in our wildest dreams. When we organise an SMS campaign, we usually generate donations to the amount of to Swiss Francs a year. In a whole year!. The details Success without the classic fundraising communication The people from the Balkans have an excellent network, so they quickly get to know all the details and particulars. The SRC has been operating in Bosnia for years. In addition, each of these countries has their own Red Cross organisation a Bosnian Red Cross, a Croatian Red Cross and a Serbian Red Cross, and the SRC is connected to all of these and receives information first-hand. The term emergency relief is associated with the activity of the SRC by many people. Because of this association, we could release information very quickly and give the people the impression that we were closer to the situation and able to act faster than others, adds Häner. States of emergency generally lead to higher donation results for relief organisations compared to more standard issues, but the success for this flood emergency fundraising was all the RaiseNow

2 more impressive because the SRC didn t use any other communication channels. A news item on their website and social media platforms were the only methods employed to inform the general public about the situation in the Balkans, and about the operation of the SRC. No donation appeals via or SMS-push messages were sent out in the first few days. The forward-thinking preparations, prompt use of their website donation tool, and social media platforms made this huge donation success possible. For emergency relief organisations, the preparatory measures before the emergency mission are especially crucial, says Marco Zaugg, Managing Director of getunik, the company responsible for developing and implementing the fundraising platforms. Website news and donation widget The website news item with the new donation widget followed on the very same day. Young people, particularly, are more in favour of donating online than with a payment slip. Early on Friday morning, we received a lot of phone calls alerting us to the situation on the Balkans. The callers asked how they could donate says Andreas Häner, and the SRC reacted immediately. We implemented the keyword BALKAN very quickly and published the news on our homepage. Also, through our online donation form, an SMS donation was made possible. After that it really took off. Preparation pays off The SRC uses various RaiseNow donation forms by the means of implemented widgets. Depending on the subject, they can then choose the corresponding donation form. On the first day of the disaster in the Balkans, the SRC chose the donation widget Ela an instantly accessible donation form for desktop, tablet and mobile devices, which incorporates all the relevant payment methods, including SMS donation. Thus, the SRC created a good basis to work from a toolkit that could be used by the relief organisation simply and quickly, and that was available immediately. So, all that was important Implementation SMS Keyword BALKAN SMS-donations were the most expedient option that the SRC could offer their supporters for targeted emergency relief for the victims of the Balkan floods. The relief organisation staff were able to set up the SMS keyword BALKAN themselves on the first day of the disaster, without the assistance of the service provider, a DIYimplementation! Thus, they were able to offer their supporters a simple and quick way to donate, laying the cornerstone for their later SMS success. RaiseNow

3 was the correct use of the tool. Häner explains, We have prepared very thoroughly for fundraising in case of emergencies. We have to quickly assess how to spring into action and be ready for fundraising in a very short space of time. Online fundraising solution by RaiseNow SMS is deemed to be a simple, secure and fast donation channel. This was recognised by getunik, an internet agency that has specialised in NPOs, since 2010, and they have been offering the donation service and technical platforms of RaiseNow ever since. RaiseNow enables organisations to create SMS keywords themselves. Furthermore, organisations can set up and implement donation forms without assistance, in the shortest possible time, and then integrate them into their websites with one line of code. In addition, the Address Enricher in the RaiseNow Manager enables the organisations to obtain addresses, personal information and further authorisations from the donors within the direct SMS donation process. RaiseNow s outstanding feature is the service that ensures the secure automated data transfer and real-time processing of donations into the central fundraising system of the relief organisation. This means that donor data is fed into the fundraising system automatically, without requiring manual input. Each and every donation can be reviewed immediately by any authorised employee of the organisation. Thus, the organisations have up-todate donor information at their disposal at any given time. This enables them to plan and carry out further fundraising campaigns without having to contact new or repeat donors with regards to the same subject again. Social Media The secret to the social media success lies, amongst other factors, with Twitter and Facebook. Through these channels content is spread rapidly, so that people are alerted quickly to the SRC s emergency relief efforts and therefore, also to the relevant website and the donation options. Another secret, emphasises Häner, is that we have an employee who deals solely with the Twitter and Facebook accounts of the SRC. She s very well connected within the organisation, so she can immediately broadcast the news online and into the community. For the SRC, this was the first time that it was financially evident how successful it is to have someone actively manage the Facebook and Twitter accounts. The result would never have been the same if we hadn t worked the social media in this professional manner. And so it continues Corporate fundraising tool was functioning within hours Just a few days later on the 22 May, the SRC learned that financial services provider UBS wanted to run an online donation campaign for its employees The SRC could implement the solution within only a few hours, as it is so simple RaiseNow

4 Overview of donation income From May 16 to June 8, 2014 the SRC raised CHF in donations for the Balkans. Within the first few days, the SRC received CHF solely via SMS the highest ever SMS donation result in the history of the SRC. It s striking that the average amount of the SMS donation was CHF The normal average SMS donation amount is between CHF 10 and CHF 20. DONATION TOTAL TRANSACTIONS AVERAGE DONATION AMOUNT % CHF CHF CHRONOLOGY OF INCOMING DONATIONS TO THE SRC Day 1: Friday 16 May Early morning: first enquiries arrive via telephone, Facebook and . The SRC web team sets up the SMS keyword BALKAN and associates it with a donation target stored in the fundraising system h16 The web team compiles the website news item and sets up the Ela donation form. The SRC carries out a test donation. The donation form in the widget format works. 12h17 The first SMS donation arrives at the SRC via the donation widget. At this time, nobody foresees the upcoming SMS donation record Until 24h00 The SRC takes in donations to the value of CHF , of which CHF comes in directly via SMS. Day 2:, Saturday17 May 2014 The SRC logs further donations to the amount of CHF Total income in the first two days: CHF Day 3: Sunday 18 May 2014 A further donation amount of CHF comes in. It s only on this day, at 22h10 that Swiss media start their news reports about the disaster in the Balkans. FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY CHF 0 RaiseNow

5 DISTRIBUTION OF PAYMENT METHODS Total number of transactions NUMBER OF INCOMING DONATIONS via SMS and donation widget Ela ELA SMS SMS SMS 7889 Pay-in slip 336 MasterCard 203 VISA 142 PostFinance Card 108 PostFinance E-Finance 33 American Express 13 SMS Of the total transactions, donations were processed via the donation widget Ela. The remaining donations came in directly via SMS. SMS in the donation widget Other payment methods in the donation widget Of the donations via the donation widget Ela, were paid via the payment method SMS. DATA COLLECTION VIA SMS When donating with a direct SMS using the keyword BALKAN, the donor has the option of receiving another SMS and can then leave their name and address. Of the donations received via direct SMS, donors have left further personal data and their addresses using the Address Enricher function. This yielded an Address-Enricher quota of 26%. The so-called Address Enricher by RaiseNow is used by donors optionally in order to receive a donation receipt. RaiseNow

6 Conclusions what we ve learned from this case study Good preparation is vital for effective fundraising Fundraising via digital channels works and can be highly successful. SMS donations can yield a high average donation figure in emergency situations. Prepare systematically and think long-term not only for individual fundraising, but also for other areas like corporate fundraising as well. Utilise online donation form solutions such as the SMS payment method that you can quickly implement yourself, independent of a service provider. This saves time and money and you can raise more donations this way the first few hours of an emergency situation are critical. After the SMS donation has been made, procure the address, personal data and further authorisations from the donor for future donor commitment and development. Utilise the automated and real-time data processing of donations. You will save time, staff resources and can thank new donors or recurring donors swiftly and individually, for example. Spread initial information via social media swiftly and transparently. Use your networks and your ambassadors. Remember the expat and / or diaspora communities. Get in touch with the nationalities that live, reside and work in the country collecting donations for the homeland emergency situation. Often, these people are well-connected and have a good network. Author: Katja Prescher Senior Consultant Fundraising & Campaigning Created: June 8, 2014 Source: Source: Source: Source: Source: RaiseNow

7 About the Swiss Red Cross About getunik ag About RaiseNow The SRC gives humanitarian emergency relief in about 20 countries every year. Red Cross personnel rescue earthquake victims, distribute food and water and render first aid. Blankets, tents and cooking utensils ensure the survival of the homeless and provide shelter from wind and cold. In addition, the SRC provides medication, materials for wound dressing and surgical instruments for hospitals and sanitary dispensaries. But saving lives isn t enough. Together with local people, the groundwork is laid to avoid future disasters. Emergency relief should also strengthen the self-help of the population and utilise local structures. getunik creates digital appearances that inspire. With their work, they have been making the web and the world a better place since getunik preferably works for NPOs that actively use the internet for presentations, campaigning, fundraising and marketing activities. getunik has carried out more than projects on five continents, and has received numerous national and international awards. RaiseNow is leading provider for online fundraising solutions. The focus lies onpowerful online fundraising tools that are simple to use for organisations. RaiseNow offers a comprehensive solution that is tailored to the needs of the organisation. From online donations to payment processing and peer-to-peerfundraising, everything fits seamlessly with the organisation s own fundraising infrastructure. RaiseNow

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