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