Nonprofits: Today’s Mobile Consumer Also Someone’s Mobile Donor

Photo by koalazymonkey
01.10.2012By

Photo by koalazymonkey

I’m so happy to have our first guest blog post of 2012! Tonia Zampieri is Co-Founder and principal at The M Gen, LLC.  Short for “the mobile generation,” The M Gen provides education, strategy, and technology tools to help nonprofits keep up with the rapidly adopting mobile technology.

Banks and credit unions are doing it, retailers, brands, heck even doughnuts are at it, too.

What am I talking about?

Organizations are activating their marketing and engagement strategies to coincide with consumer behavior, and our absolute love affair with the latest and greatest: mobile Smartphones (otherwise known as Pocket PCs).

6.8 million Christmas Day activations of iPhone and Android devices occurred last month–a whopping 140% increase over the same day in 2010. The unofficial numbers now show that 50% of U.S. adults own a Smartphone and are using them for everything! From flight check-in and paperless boarding passes, to shopping, taking pictures, listening to music, checking Facebook, and of course paying all those fun utility bills. If you can imagine it, you can probably find it on a Smartphone–our most personal of devices.

So why should you care about all this as a nonprofit leader?

Because just like any business, you MUST focus on your consumer. These same people (or at least a significant portion of them) are also your donors–and your future donors.

They expect it to be easy to engage with, donate, and fundraise for your organization, the cause near and dear to their heart, easily and seamlessly on their Smartphone, just like they are able to manage the other important aspects of their lives.

Take a look at the two images below. Which donation page are your donors more likely to respond to when receiving a donation request via email or social media on their web-enabled Smartphone?

Nonmobile-Optimized Website

Mobile-Optimized Website

Most people want to give back and make a difference. Most of us are also over-committed and easily distracted. We instinctively follow the path of ease and convenience. It is critical that organizations update their marketing and fundraising strategies and technologies to keep up with consumer habits. Starting with a mobilized donation page is a great start.

A December 2011 Inspiring Generosity post highlighted the growth of social media and peer-to-peer fundraising and the importance of good design. While not explicitly mentioned, it is very important for a nonprofit to ensure its marketing and fundraising efforts are integrated with the mobile channel and has a design compatible to Smartphones.

All the time, effort, and resources that go into creating compelling campaigns could be significantly diminished if the folks you are inviting to join your crusade can only easily do so from a desktop. Why? Because with the rise of Smartphone and mobility, your donors are increasingly absent from their desktops! And who loses?

I think you get my point.

So what can you do to get started today? Here are some tips:

  1. Select a staff person who’s interested in technology and/or mobile to become your internal mobile specialist.
  2. Have she or he search and download nonprofit specific mobile apps, set up Google Alerts with search terms including mobile specific to your cause. In other words, keep tabs on your competition!
  3. Review your emails and e-newsletters from a Smartphone. Check with your email marketing company; ask how their tools are mobile-optimized and ask for assistance on ensuring that your e-mails and e-newsletters are optimized for mobile as well.
  4. Research the process, cost and ROI of getting a mobile website with companies who are already invested in the nonprofit industry. Check out those who have done so, like Soles4Souls.
  5. If nothing else, implement a mobile donation landing page and promote it on and offline. If you hold any type of events, using QR codes to direct folks to give a small gift (maybe have a small prize associated, make it like a game) or to sign up for your e-newsletter. QR codes are a great (and fun) way to get new and existing supporters more engaged!

Increase your understanding of this powerful channel in 2012 and determine how best to implement it into your organization. Smartphones and other Internet-enabled phones are here to stay and will only continue to dominate our personal and business lives. The sooner your nonprofit follows its individual donor habits, the more sustainable and successful your cause will be.