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You've probably heard the statistics. More mobile devices
are sold worldwide than PCs, and mobile is expected to overtake PCs as the most
popular way to access the Internet in the next few years. So what does that mean
for your organization?
Director of Idealware
Laura Quinn shared her
ideas at the 2012 Nonprofit Technology
Conference, in a session called More Than Apps: Affordable Program
Delivery Through Mobile Phones.
Given the growth in mobile, you can expect an
ever-increasing percentage of constituents and potential volunteers and donors
to access your organization's website via a mobile device. That means you
need to make sure your information is viewable and useable on a mobile device.
Quinn outlined a few options:
Quinn also discussed how mobile technologies can help you
have conversations with your constituents in interesting ways. SMS (text
messaging) is a particularly useful technology for communicating with youth
(who may be more responsive to SMS messages than to email or phone calls), and
for working in areas that don't have consistent Internet access.
Quinn mentioned a few interesting examples of how nonprofits
can use mobile to facilitate conversations with their constituents, including:
For U.S. use, Quinn recommended:
International users should look into FrontlineSMS or Gammu.
Your staff could also use mobile devices in the field to:
Quinn had an interesting perspective on QR codes. She said
that, while there are definitely some organizations that are using them effectively,
in general "there's a limited audience that knows what to do with a QR
code and is willing to do it."
Photo: Alex E. Proimos
by Ariel Gilbert-Knight, Director, Content, TechSoup
Good article but seems that it's missing one of the major uses for mobile technology, collection then delivery to databases of field based transactional data for program management, outcome measurement and service delivery. The challenge of course is how to do it inexpensively and easily.
As an example our company Rovenet provides our Measurement Outcomes system (www.measurementoutcomes.org) to not for profits for no charge. Creates custom data collection systems for any smartphone or tablet with strong backend support. Easy to use so minimal training required.
Rovenet Technology Services
Good point about the challenges of syncing mobile data in the field back to your database. Esri, one of our TechSoup partners, has some options available for reporting data from the field.
Anyone know of others?
In general advertising your own products is discouraged in our blog comments and forums, but your point about the next steps on mobile field activities is a good one, so I hope you'll stick around and contribute more to our community.