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TechSoup’s Mobile Impact Webinar Series 2014

TechSoup’s Mobile Impact Webinar Series 2014

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We just kicked off our free webinar series on how your organization can get up to speed on communicating with your audience through their mobile devices. These days, that’s pretty much everybody. If you didn’t get a chance to attend the first webinar, never fear. I’ll recap it for you and also tell you about the upcoming ones that I suspect you’ll find pretty darn useful. Welcome to TechSoup’s Mobile Impact Webinar Series 2014.

DarianOur first webinar in this series, which took place on May 8, 2014, was called Mobile Impact 101: Taking Your Cause Mobile. Find the free audio recording and presentation of the event here. You can also watch it on our YouTube channel.

Our presenter and co-producer was Darian Rodriguez-Heyman, who is co-founder & chief development officer of TechSoup's donor partner, BetterWorld Wireless. He is also the former executive director of the Craigslist Foundation, one of the founders of the national Social Media for Nonprofits conferences, and the author of Nonprofit Management 101 (Jossey-Bass) among many other things.


What the Mobile Impact 101 Webinar Covered

Darian talked about lots of things, very broadly:

  • Why mobile presents a huge opportunity for any nonprofit or public library
  • Strategy basics like tips for building a mobile website, developing apps, text-to-donate campaigns, social media integration, and analyzing and optimizing your mobile campaigns
  • Tips for successfully doing mobile fundraising 

Everyone Is Using Mobile

No surprise here. The U.S. is saturated with mobile users. We now have more mobile phones in use than people. Darian cites additional stats like 58 percent of smartphone users can’t go an hour without checking their phone, and 91 percent have it within arms reach 24/7.

Mobile Optimized Websites

Guide By Cell Logo

One of the most practical things that Darian covered was the need for having at least a portion of an organization’s website optimized for mobile devices. That simply means the website loads and is usable on a small screen. If a webpage doesn’t come up within 3 seconds on a smartphone your audience will go away and likely never come back. It’s often not easy to make website mobile friendly, however. To get started, I recommend my colleague, Tierney Smith’s How to Make Your Nonprofit Website Mobile-Friendly that describes three main approaches to this. The Guide By Cell donation program on TechSoup allows you to create and manage a mobile website via Guide By Cell's drag-and-drop website builder.

Mobile Apps

Another strategy for engaging mobile users of course includes creating an app for your organization. Have a look at our experience doing that at our archived webinar: Developing Mobile Apps from Idea to Launch: A Case Study. Darian’s tip on that is to mobile optimize your website before looking in to creating an app.


Connect2Give logo

Darian also talked about using a text-to-donate service like the discounted offer on TechSoup, the Connect2Give Mobile Fundraising Services. Text-to-donate is a very user-friendly way to fundraise. It involves having a ‘shortcode’ like REDCROSS and a text number like ‘90999’. Supporters use them to give small amounts like $10 charity. Using text-to-donate, however, requires concerted and persuasive outreach to get the message out.

Social Media For Outreach 

Social media and mobile are made for each other. About a third of what people do on their smartphones are social media related. Darian’s tips for effective social media outreach are: 

  • Ensure Content is Easily Shareable via Mobile
  • Post Mobile-Friendly Links
  • Make Sure Pinned Posts Are Mobile Relevant

I like the examples of organizations using social media effectively on our forums. Darian says that mobile users are much more inclined to share information via social media than people using PCs. Also people use email more on smartphones now than PCs.

The Betterworld Telecom Mobile Matrix Tool

The Betterworld Telecom Mobile Matrix (pictured above) is a simple tool that lays out the possibilities for different mobile strategies. Darian recommends using it in a group meeting to talk through and explore each cell.  For example, how can we use mobile to increase donations (i.e. Revenue from Donors), and how important is this for us, versus using it to streamline operations (i.e. Efficiency with Clients)?  Simply put an “X” in your priority cells, or if you want a seat at the head of the class, rate each one 1-10 so you can sort through your options.

Darian’s Final Techie Tips

  • Limit scrolling on your website
  • Use big buttons: 30-by-30 pixels or bigger
  • Space out hyperlinks
  • Use Google Analytics Mobile Performance Report
  • Use QR Codes (quick response codes) at events
  • Preview your emails on mobile devices

Upcoming Webinars in the Mobile Impact Series

Mobile Impact 201: Digital Content Strategies for Mobile – Join NTEN’s Amy Sample Ward as our presenter and co-producer on June 5th at 11 AM (Pacific Daylight Time) to find out how to engage donors, volunteers, and other constituents after you have developed a mobile presence. Sign up for this free webinar here.

Mobile Impact 301: How to Raise More Money via Mobile – Join PayPal’s Tanya Urschel and Network For Good’s Caryn Stein as our presenters and co-producers on June 19th at 11 AM (Pacific Daylight Time) to understand which elements are critical for mobile fundraising success and which mobile fundraising tactics are right for your organization. Sign up for this free webinar here.

Mobile Impact 401: Mobile Tech for Offices & People –  Join BetterWorld Telecom’s Matt Bauer and UpSource Mobile Services’ Brent Muckridge as our presenters and co-producers on July 10th at 11 AM (Pacific Daylight Time) to learn how your organization can get control of mobile hardware like phones, tablets, and hotspots to further your work rather than make your IT more difficult. Learn how to craft a BYOD (bring your own device) policy, set up a virtual office, cut the wire to work from anywhere, and adopt remote work strategies to support your cause and staff. Sign up for this free webinar here.

Our special thanks to PayPal and Network for Good who are underwriting this series.


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  • An important tool missing from this great writeup is mobile giving that is not shortcode based, and doesn't restrict gifts to $10. Check out for a way to empower donors to give gifts of any amount by text message, directly to your nonprofit.