BASF adds excitement, convenience to its gala
One such association is the Bar Association of San Francisco. BASF has an annual gala that it uses to fund much of the work of its Justice & Diversity Center, says Steve Love, development consultant. Donations to a silent auction, which is a feature of the gala, had been declining in recent years, Love says.
Executive Director Yolanda Jackson had attended a conference where there was a "text-to-give" option, and the results of donations were displayed in real time. Jackson wanted BASF to try a similar approach at the gala.
Love and BASF Creative Manager Kerstin Fermin researched the available companies that could handle the interactive approach, including MobileCause, which had created the campaign that gave Jackson the idea. The bar ultimately hired MobileCause.
"We especially liked the interactivity, and the fact that you could make a pledge on the spot in a matter of seconds, and then MobileCause would then do the follow-up," Fermin explains, adding that if someone makes a pledge and then forgets about it later, they receive reminder emails.
For the gala, BASF used the text-to-give option. Those who texted a code were shown a short form on their phones to be able to list their name and pledge amount, along with a brief comment to accompany the display of their name and donation. There was also a link to a site to fill in their full contact and payment information.
As part of the package the bar purchased, BASF also got to create a mobile-optimized website by adding text to a supplied template. The site can be used for donations at any time. Previously, the donation portion of the BASF website had not been mobile-optimized, Fermin says.
"We noticed that when we sent out emails trying to encourage people to donate, more than 30 percent of people opened the emails on their smart phones," she recalls. "When they clicked through and encountered a non-mobile-friendly donate page, a lot of people just clicked away and didn't do anything."
MobileCause also provided a mobile-optimized donation form that BASF could embed into its website. The bar installed it into a blog it set up for the gala, and directed people to it. "It brought in almost $17,000," Fermin notes.
With either the text-to-give or mobile-optimized approach, BASF receives reporting on who pledged, and who has paid.
While the technology itself facilitates receiving and processing donations, there are human elements involved in the success of a campaign, Love says. At the gala, BASF had a large screen set up that showed an interactive "thermometer" that measured the total amount of donations, and also displayed the names and comments of recent donors.
"It helps to get everyone fired up," he believes. BASF also had an energetic MC who encouraged the crowd and kept them in good spirits, Fermin added. "He was wearing a wild shirt … by the end, in the space where donors could enter comments about their donations, they were saying things like 'Nice shirt.'"