July 11, 2013

How nonprofits should capitalize on the mobile revolution

mobile
Photo courtesy of kowitz (Creative Commons)

Start with a strategy to expand your reach to potential supporters

Guest post by Cassie Bair and Jenifer Snyder

Cassie + JeniferThe U.S. is going mobile. Even as people increase their number of mobile devices, many nonprofits are still hesitant about adding mobile to their organization’s initiatives. Misconceptions such as which tools are available through mobile for data collection, engagement and fundraising cause nonprofits to incorrectly believe that mobile can be a lot of work with little return.

The fact is, mobile is no longer just an exciting new addition to fundraising or engagement, but a tool that supporters expect you to have. The data around mobile proves it is a worthwhile venture for many nonprofits – beyond times of disaster. More than 20 percent of a typical organization’s web traffic comes from a mobile device. (Do you know your number?) Those users are generally more engaged online, through SMS, and donate via text as well as in other ways. Continue reading

January 18, 2012

Free-to-use mobile and technology images

kiwanja Mobile Gallery

kiwanjaThey say a picture paints a thousand words, and that may be the case. But if they cost the earth or you don’t have permission to use them, they end up painting nothing much at all.

When my mobile “career” kicked off in 2003 with multiple research trips to South Africa and Mozambique, I took the opportunity to start taking and collecting mobile- and technology-related photos. Back then people were beginning to take an interest in the impact of mobile phones on the African continent, and NGOs were looking to use photos on websites or in project proposals, newsletters and presentations. On top of that, people were just generally curious about what was going on.

That collection now stands at over 150 photos, and covers everything from people around the world texting or making calls to pictures of shops, signs, mobiles themselves and other interesting examples of mobile entrepreneurship in action.

The images are free to use – with attribution – by nonprofits or any other organization seeking to profile the social impact of mobile technology. Visit the kiwanja Mobile Gallery for the full gallery of images, and for details on how to credit their use.

February 25, 2010

How are nonprofits using text messaging?

Organizations starting to use SMS as powerful tool for fund-raising

text-messagingKatrin VerclasWe’ve just released a new report, Nonprofit Text Messaging Benchmark Study, that offers the first-ever look at how organizations in the United States are using text messaging and how subscribers are responding. It shows that mobile phones are becoming increasingly popular as an advocacy and fund-raising tool by organizations, and it provides benchmarks and metrics by which nonprofit organizations can measure their success with text messaging.

Co-authored by myself and Michael Amoruso and Jessica Bosanko of M+R Strategic Services, the free report also illustrates the various ways in which organizations are using text messaging. The study was sponsored by Mobile Commons and mGive.

The earthquakes in Haiti earlier this year showed the power of SMS as a tool for fund-raising (raising millions in just a few days), and it’s now clear that there’s an opportunity for nonprofits to tap into the mobile market to engage their supporters. As the study reports, there are currently over 276 million wireless users in the U.S., and during the first half of 2009, users sent about 740 billion text messages. The report breaks down not only how nonprofits can use SMS to interact with supporters but also releases statistics on how specific organizations fared with their SMS campaigns.

You might be interested in learning:

  • How nonprofits engage supporters through text messaging
  • The advantages and limitations of text messaging as a tool for engagement
  • How to evaluate the performance of a text message

Continue reading

January 4, 2010

Information into action: Africa and beyond

kiwanjaTwo organisations I’ve had the pleasure of working with – Tactical Tech and Fahamu – have independently announced the release of a film and a book that cover different aspects of non-profit digital activism. Both are well worth a look.

Info-activism.org, a Tactical Tech initiative, explores how rights advocates “use information and digital technology to create positive change.” Actions are broken down into 10 tactics that, through the site, provide original and artful ways for rights advocates to capture attention and communicate a cause (see video, above). The website includes a 50-minute film documenting inspiring info-activism stories from around the world and a set of cards, with tools tips and advice to help people plan their own info-activism campaigns. Further details of the launch are available on the BBC News website. Continue reading