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4 Mobile Shopping Trends That Predict Donor Behavior

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Published March 18, 2022 Reading Time: 5 minutes

The donors you’re targeting and nurturing to become lifelong supporters are consumers who interact with hundreds of tech-forward brands on their phones every day.

The more people rely on their phones for everything from grocery shopping to buying a home, the more expectations they may subconsciously form about making a mobile donation. We know donors are giving through mobile devices at increasing rates from our The State of Modern Philanthropy report.

Explore Mobile Donation Trends

Now, it’s about understanding how to mimic these innovative e-commerce transactions to simplify giving and capitalize on that mobile traffic. One way to better understand how people may interact with the giving experience is to observe mobile shopping trends.

Exploring the Tie Between Mobile Shopping and Online Donations

The trends we’ll talk about here are not limited to just consumer and donor behaviors. They’re leading indicators of human behavior in the age of technology.

Mobile experiences aren’t linear. For example, someone may see a sneaker ad on Instagram, do a quick Google search to learn more about the brand, and then download its app to make their purchase using a digital wallet.  Nonprofits can benefit from understanding these various consumer pathways to optimize donor interactions through mobile devices and guide supporters on a more seamless route to their donation page.

Mobile Shopping Is Driving More Sales

Mobile shopping, often referred to as m-commerce, reached $359.32 billion in sales in 2021. For context, that’s a 15.2% increase from 2020, when mobile interactions spiked due to social distancing.

While growth is steady, the biggest reason to pay attention to mobile commerce is the potential surge ahead. By 2025, mobile commerce is expected to bring in $728.28 billion in sales across the U.S. alone.

While mobile isn’t a new concept, it’s an opportunity for businesses and organizations to convert larger audiences with increased convenience, speed, and security levels. It’s not just about having a mobile-optimized site, but rather an experience that makes every step simpler. Did you know that 57% of customers won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website? Half will not recommend a company with a poorly designed mobile website.

Nonprofits, let’s take note and get proactive. We’ve researched four key mobile shopping trends that will help you see what captured the interest of a passive visitor and how to convert that into a completed donation for your cause.

4 Mobile Shopping Trends That Predict Donor Behavior

Trend 1: QR Codes Drive Immediate Action

Let’s start with the simple, tiny square graphics that bring shoppers exactly where a brand wants them to go. QR codes are being scanned at increasing rates to get people to specific links in seconds.


Blue Bite found that between 2018 and 2021, interactions per QR code increased by 98%. That number shows just how fast this method for sharing information took off.

The easy-to-create images are used for everything from tipping your hairstylist on Venmo to accessing the latest specials at a restaurant.

The appeal is in the convenience of accessing a link without jumping through hoops. Once you’ve accessed a link, it’s stored in your phone’s history to reference or send along with ease.

Donor Behavior Prediction: QR code donations will rise

In 2021, 41% of millennials and 32% of Gen Z donors told us they’d lean toward QR code donations in the future. Donors know exactly what to do when they see these codes, so help them get to your desired donation or campaign pages quicker by including them on:

  • Swag
  • Brochures at local businesses
  • Event signage
  • Holiday giveaway items
  • Gift wrap
  • Business cards
  • Posters
  • Direct mailers

5 Unique Ways to Promote Your Donation Page

Trend 2: People Are Purchasing More Through Social Media

Social media evolved drastically in the past year to benefit business accounts and those selling directly from platforms like Facebook and Instagram. To paint a picture of the reach social media has today, consider that 90% of Instagram’s 1 billion users follow at least one business, and 1 in 2 people use Instagram to discover new brands.

It’s almost essential to note that once users land on a social media ad or appeal, they don’t want to leave the platform to complete a purchase. And why should brands want them to? The more points of friction added to a user’s experience, the greater the risk of losing that individual’s interest.

There’s power in presenting people with the option to take immediate action in a moment of heightened interest. Social commerce is taking flight in creative ways that step away from typical sales tactics, including new short-form video content and partnering with trusted influencers to guide consumers’ purchase decisions.

Donor Behavior Prediction: People will seek out charitable causes on social

You can expect donors to click through your social posts the same way they interact with their favorite shoe brand. Link your donation or campaign pages directly from Instagram and Facebook Stories, and add those same links to TikTok videos when it makes sense.

Beyond that, more donors may be open to purchasing tickets to an event or buying merchandise that benefits your organization directly on social media, as they do for brands taking advantage of the Facebook Shop feature.

Here’s a breakdown of the social media platforms each generation of donors looks at  to find new causes to give to:

social media platforms usage

Create Instagram Stories That Drive Action

Trend 3: The Shopping Experience Is Taking Off Through Apps

Cart abandonment is around 97% for mobile sites, compared to just 20% for mobile applications. Globally, mobile e-commerce applications were installed at a 10% higher rate in 2021 than 2020.

We’re used to mobile apps for just about everything we do, and the shopping experience on these apps has only gotten better. Mobile apps get people to act and remain within a specific organization’s experience. There are far fewer distractions that could take their attention away.

Donor Behavior Prediction: Mobile apps will grow to meet donor demand

Most donors will be delighted to use an app experience that ties them to your organization. Our recent event attendee sentiment research shows us that for fundraising events specifically, donors would like to use a mobile app to:

  • View the agenda
  • Check-in upon arrival in person
  • Mobile bidding for auctions
  • Donations during the event
  • Live notifications with updates and happenings

Nonprofits can creatively deliver on the convenience people love at fundraising events, mainly by asking their fundraising platforms to offer an easy-to-use mobile application for donors.

Deliver an Engaging App Experience

Trend 4: Simple Checkout Experiences Convert

Mobile wallets solve the frustration of digging around in your bag or coat pocket to find the right card. The ease of a quick checkout on mobile is part of what makes the entire process so attractive.

Edesk predicts that e-commerce businesses can increase conversions by 35.26% with a better checkout design. People don’t want to search for their credit card numbers to make a purchase when one-click payments have become the norm through Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, and more mobile payment apps.

Donor Behavior Prediction: People expect one-click payments

Donating through PayPal or Venmo captures the interest of 55 percent of donors who share that they would likely donate through these methods if they are offered.

To avoid the loss of donations due to donor frustration, consider how these one-click payment options and checkout modals can help increase conversions for your nonprofit.

See just how Golden Harvest Food Bank doubled the size of its recurring giving program after adopting digital wallets. The organization raised more than $13k through PayPal alone in December 2021.

Give Every Generation the Option They Want to Give

Don’t Miss Out on Mobile-Savvy Donors

Let’s look at the way donors interacted with nonprofits on their mobile devices in 2021 to indicate how we’ll see the behavior trend this year.

Of donors who made an online donation:

  • 58% donated via a website on their phone
  • 23% donated via an app on their phone
  • 14% donated through text message

These numbers show us the power of efficient mobile payment options, on-the-go fundraising opportunities, mobile-optimized donation forms, and frictionless transactions from any device. More options mean more donation potential.

See How Nonprofits Can use Text-to-Donate

the lasting impact of a pandemic

Explore More Donor Behavior Trends

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