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Hinckley Senate campaign raises contributions via mobile

The campaign to elect Barry Hinckley a senator for Rhode Island is using mobile payments to collect contributions at events and has raised several thousand dollars so far.

This summer, the campaign began using Roam Data’s mobile payments service to accept credit card donations at fundraising events. This enables campaign workers to accept payments from people who do not have a check with them at the time.

“Mobile payments is a 21st century solution for campaign fundraising,” said Nick Cicchitelli, press secretary of the Hinckley for Senate campaign.

“Fewer and fewer people walk around with a checkbook, but everybody has a card in their pocket,” he said.

“As it becomes more widely known that our campaign and campaigns in general can accept contributions via a mobile card swiper, I believe we will see a substantial percentage of participants opting to use their card instead of having to remember a check.”

A leg up
The Hinckley for Senate campaign has adopted the Roampay mobile commerce card acceptance service and mobile phone swiper and is using them at events such as fundraisers, meet and greets and coffee hours.

Roampay provides an encrypted way for a campaign to accept donations via credit cards on a mobile phone using a swiper attachment and the Roampay application.

The app is available for iPhone, 40 Android devices and 15 BlackBerry devices.

Mobile simplifies the process of collecting credit card donations at events, where campaign workers often write down credit card numbers on a paper form or use a laptop to process the transactions on a Web site.

“Mobile for nonprofits makes perfect sense because when you have a campaign fundraiser, you are not at a place with a point of sale device but everybody has plastic with them,” said Rob Stringer, vice president of products and marketing for Roam Data Inc., Boston.

“To be able to take credit card via mobile gives nonprofits a leg up in terms of their fundraising ability,” he said.

“If the last election was about the social media explosion, I think you will see in 2012 and 2014, social media turning into real action dollars for campaigns.”

According to Roam Data, the campaign for the U.S. Senate seat from Rhode Island is the first national political campaign to adopt advanced mobile payment technology to receive contributions.

Roam Data is currently working on a mobile payments application specifically for political campaigns that it expects to release in time for next year’s campaign season.

“At events we may find people who weren’t planning on contributing — and thus didn’t bring a check — but decided to after hearing our message,” Mr. Cicchitelli said.

“Also, people opting to pay by card wouldn’t have come to an event with an already filled out check, so the campaign has a chance to convince people to contribute more,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York