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Resources to Jumpstart Your Nonprofit's Mobile Strategy

Resources to Jumpstart Your Nonprofit's Mobile Strategy

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Mobile devicesTry to remember: what was the last thing you did on your phone? I just responded to a text message then took a quick peek at my Instagram feed (I'm addicted!).  Now, think about the last time you thought about your organization's mobile strategy. Can't remember?  That's okay – you're probably not alone.  

But if you haven't already started thinking about it, now is probably the time to start planning how your nonprofit or library can have a presence on mobile. By now, you're probably all too familiar with the compelling stats of why you need to start going mobile:

So what's stopping you? The reality is that creating a mobile strategy is daunting: There's so much information out there, but just a small fraction of it is actually tailored to nonprofits. Lucky for you, TechSoup is has a lot of mobile resources – from useful app roundups to webinars on optimizing your website for mobile devices.  

Mobile Strategy 101

To assess what your organization needs when it comes to mobile, you'll need some basic analytics and statistics. Consider these questions:

  • If you have a newsletter, how many of your recipients open it on their mobile device?
  • What percentage of your website traffic comes from mobile devices?
  • Does your audience use apps? Have they requested an app from you?
  • Are your constituents using mobile social media like Instagram or Vine?

Six Mobile Marketing Strategies from the Stanford Social Innovation Review provides some more steps and considerations for building the foundation of your mobile strategy. Additionally, check out our Mobile 101: The Basics article as well as the Mobile Technology solutions page to strengthen your research.      

Optimize Your Website

Responsive web design (also known as mobile optimization) refers to designing a site to provide an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices. Making your website adaptable to different screen signs can open up your organization to a whole new audience. It also provides even more ways for donors to find you. Incorporating responsive web design should be part of your overall website planning as it gives your site a longer "shelf life" on the Internet. For more on mobile optimization, be sure to read Go Mobile: Why Responsive Design Matters for Nonprofits and Libraries.

Also, make sure to mark your calendar for our upcoming July 25 webinar, Optimizing Your Website for Mobile Devices.

Mobile Fundraising

Besides your mobile site, you can also reach donors by way of a mobile fundraising campaign. Receiving donations via text message is one of the easiest ways to raise money for your organization. The Connect2Give donation program at TechSoup provides mobile donation and communication services to eligible nonprofits, charities, and public libraries.

There are also a few fundraising apps out there that can help your reach new donors.

To App or Not to App

The app versus mobile web debate is never-ending. Some analysts say that apps will go away and HTML5 web apps are the future. Other studies argue that consumers love native apps and only spend a limited amount of time using their mobile browser.  For nonprofits and libraries, mobile website optimization should be your first priority. On the other hand, apps can provide an added benefit that your website might not be able to offer.

For an example, make sure to watch a replay of the Developing Mobile Apps from Idea to Launch: Case Study webinar. TechSoup and Caravan Studios saw a service that a mobile app could provide with GPS.

Got any mobile strategy tips? Share them in the comments below.

Image: Mobile, sk8ergeek

  • Thanks for the post, Ginny! Mobile is such an important topic right now, and both for-profit and nonprofit organizations are behind the curve in adopting it.

    I'm definitely a proponent of responsive web design versus mobile websites or apps for nonprofits. I'm glad you put in a plug for that. Unless you're a large organization doing a lot of group-based funding (like fun runs, etc.) I don't know that having apps is worth the investment for a lot of organizations. Not to mention that they're just plain out of reach for many.

  • I'm glad you found it helpful, carywalski! You make a great point about apps being out of reach for some people. Not everybody has a smartphone that can support them. Plus, it is pretty difficult (and expensive) to make an app that is compatible with every phone OS.