Fundraising & resource mobilisation

Mobile phones are increasingly being used for facilitating financial transactions and for marketing and promotion work. They can also be invaluable for raising money from the communities you work with.

Mobile phones are now being used by diaspora communities to keep in touch with their family and friends back home and in some cases, as with Mukuru in Zimbabwe, mobiles are being used to send fuel and food vouchers home via a text messaging ordering system.Other services are now available which allow the remitting of money – M-Pesa in Kenya allows mobile phone users to transfer funds between theirs and their family's phones via a simple on-screen menu system.

These M-banking systems are now spreading throughout Africa and the rest of the developing world where they are particularly useful for communities who don't have bank accounts or need easy access to small amounts of cash. This is especially useful in areas with fluctuating currencies and at times when there is an urgent need to transfer funds to activists. In recent years money was transferred to activists in Kenya and Belarus by this means at times of political instability. In Kenya after the post election crisis in early 2008 an activist was able to distribute a donation of money by purchasing phone credits and dispersing them to colleagues in need.

Mobile airtime vouchers are a great way of reimbursing volunteers or accepting donations to help with the day to day running of an organisation.

In some countries, mobile phones are being used to actively promote the work of charities (through text alerts, or the creation and distribution of ring tones, wallpapers, games and mobile internet sites, for example). At the same time, some organisations have begun using mobiles for fundraising by setting up short codes (shortened versions of mobile numbers, usually 5 digits to make them easier to remember)which people can text to make a donation. Mobile short codes are usually used as part of an appeal, as happened with the Asian tsunami in 2004 (over $2 million dollars was raised in the UK alone through mobile donations). Mobiles are also being used to distribute information and raise awareness on an organisation’s activities, identify potential donors and to assist in the recruitment of members.