More than half of people who try to donate to charity online by using a mobile device never get as far as making the donation, delegates at the convention heard yesterday.
In a session about mobile giving, Tim Longfoot, managing director of the agency Open Fundraising, said that 20 per cent of online donations were being made through a mobile device. But it was taking people too long to navigate the process.
"More than 50 per cent of people who attempt to give give up," he said. "They are leaving you because you are not optimised."
Longfoot said it was important that charities made it possible for people to donate quickly through their mobile devices.
"We need to think about that, otherwise we will lose donations from people who want to make donations - and that's shocking," he said.
Longfoot added that it was likely that within the next year people would be able to donate to charity through their mobile simply by selecting the amount they wanted to give, without having to enter any further details.
He also said that an "explosive growth" in mobile giving was the result of charities converting people who made a one-off gift into regular givers.
On average, according to Longfoot, 12 per cent of people who donated by SMS signed up to become a direct debit donor when telephoned by the charity. Moreover, 18 per cent of people who had refused to give by direct debit agreed, when contacted again by the charity, to make regular donations through their mobiles.
Longfoot said the highest response rates in SMS giving were from adverts in locations where people "dwelt", such as on the London Underground or in public toilets. "The place where we have been struggling is escalators, because there is no 'dwell'," he added.
Katia de Gregorio, former head of donor marketing at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said its recent Touch Look Check mobile campaign, which invited people to text it to receive a breast cancer information booklet, had a target of 12,000 requests. More than 11,000 of the 29,510 people who responded had seen the ad on a train, while almost 8,000 had seen it in a toilet.