July 11, 2013

How nonprofits should capitalize on the mobile revolution

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

August 11, 2011

Why your nonprofit should have a mobile strategy

Mobile is how more of us will be accessing the Internet in the years ahead. Below, Andy Steggles of Higher Logic.

Expand your organization’s reach by embracing the basics of mobile technology

By Tamara Schweitzer
Socialbrite staff

Tamara SchweitzerI attended the Social Media for Nonprofits conference in New York last week, an event series curated by Darian Rodriquez Heyman and Ritu Sharma, to help nonprofits make better use of social media and discover new ways to use social networking platforms to promote their cause. The lineup of speakers was stellar, including Farra Trompeter, VP of communications firm Big Duck, who already put together a great recap of the day that you should definitely check out if you want a quick rundown of the main takeaways. When I was thinking about what I wanted to bring back to Socialbrite readers, one of the standout presentations for me was by Andy Steggles, the chief operating officer of Higher Logic, who spoke about the basics of crafting a mobile strategy.

What really struck me about Steggles’s presentation is how powerful – and relatively simple — it can be to incorporate a mobile strategy into your organization. When you think about a social media strategy, nonprofits tend to focus a lot on the two big players – Twitter and Facebook – and making sure that they have established a presence on both. But, despite the enormous reach that these platforms have, many people (including your supporters) are still not regular users, and some may not have engaged with you through those channels to the extent that you want yet. But contrast that with the stats for mobile usage that Steggles shared on stage, and you will see how much reach you can have simply by embracing some aspect of mobile technology.

According to research by Morgan Stanley that Steggles presented (see image below), there are about 670 million people around the world who have a smartphone, and that number is growing at an annual rate of 37 percent. That means people are no longer just discovering you through the Web on their home or work computer. All those smartphone users are constantly connected and the more you give them opportunities to connect with you on the go, the more growth, engagement and success you’ll have.

Slide depicting 3G mobile usage globally from Andy Steggles’ SM4NP presentation.

Here are some easy ways you can get started with mobile.

It’s not just about the apps

You don’t have to develop an app to be a player in the mobile market.

You don’t have to develop an app to be a player in the mobile market. In fact, SMS text messaging and QR codes are two ways that you can work with mobile technology without breaking the bank.

A QR code, or quick response code, is like a barcode that can easily be scanned by smartphones to relay all kinds of information. You’ve probably seen them all over the place now, from the side of the bus stop station to the back of a menu at a restaurant. They’re used to lead you to a new piece of information about that company or service, whether that’s taking you to the website to see the bus schedule, or the restaurant is giving a 10 percent off coupon for the next time you eat there. With QR codes, there are endless ways to make use of them and all you need is a URL to create one. Continue reading

April 27, 2011

How nonprofit supporters are using their smartphones

And how nonprofits need to adjust to the new mobile marketplace

Guest post by Tonia Zampieri
Director of Marketing, Smart Online

Last week I presented at the NCTech4Good conference here in North Carolina. Our session, “Mobile for Today’s Nonprofits,” was a combination of recent discussions held at last month’s NTEN conference on the big four of mobile as well as an overview of findings from our recently published whitepaper on consumers’ use of smartphones titled, “A Mobile World: How supporters are using their smartphones, and why you should care.”

The first thing many people think when they hear mobile is text2give. But that’s only one of the four pillars of mobile. Here’s a rundown:

Mobile websites

Nonprofits need to embrace this as a necessary piece of their overall marketing strategy. An early first step is creating mobile optimized landing pages for their most critical calls to action. I chose to highlight the organization Soles4Souls (“recycling shoes for people in need”). In the presentation above, notice how their site looks on a desktop vs. a mobile device. This example shows clearly how critical it is to select the most important calls to action – or risk losing the mobile visitor.  Do you study your site analytics to track how many visitors are connecting via a mobile browser?  I’d recommend starting to do so – Google Analytics has this feature.

SMS & text2give

text4babyNext we highlighted SMS – text2give is a subset of this. I felt it was important to differentiate between the two to further educate nonprofits on the importance of not just raising money with mobile but also delivering programs. A great example of this was the Text4Baby campaign, a free mobile information service from National Healthy Mothers designed to promote maternal and children’s health.

Mobile applications

Should nonprofits venture into the world of mobile apps? Some thought leaders go so far as to suggest there’s no need to do so. My answer? It depends: Do you have a brand to uphold? Is your target audience using smartphones – or will they be soon?. In the presentation I spotlight the National Parks Conservation Association and how they created their app – not with the explicit intent to get more donations right away but to grow a new engaged audience that will eventually be cultivated into supporters. Continue reading