Going mobile? Here are two key considerations for engaging donors

Mobile technology influences donors' behavior and the way nonprofits approach them.
Date Published
04/28/2014

Mobile campaigns can be complicated or simple depending on the nonprofit’s goals and its donors’ needs. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that charitable groups cannot afford to ignore mobile technology’s influence on fundraising. Much like many aspects of life altered by smartphones and tablets, contributing to a nonprofit’s campaign can be done in front of a computer or on the go.

Mobile made easy
The NonProfit Times emphasized the role mobile technology played during the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. The Times reported 50 percent of the people who heard about the disaster and corresponding aid to the island nation donated immediately by texting a specific term to an American Red Cross phone number.

How can organizations draw attention to specific information or grab donors’ attention while they’re using their mobile gadgets? Aaron W. Smith, research associate for the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project explained mobile giving is a “low friction” action, meaning there are very few obstacles in the way to keep donors from contributing to a cause. There’s no credit information needed and there aren’t any forms.

1. Responsive design
In view of this, mobile campaigns should provide individuals interested in giving to a fundraising campaign all necessary information in a highly consumable format. For instance, the Nonprofit Technology Network recommended that organizations adopt a responsive design for their websites. This is crucial in helping donors reach the point where they can actually contribute to a program. NTEN explained there are WordPress layouts that are responsive, so the size of the screen doesn’t influence the integrity of the information and design that a nonprofit has worked hard to develop.

2. Graphic diversity
And in keeping with an easy to access and user-friendly experience, many nonprofits have turned to infographics to build a compelling fundraising campaign narrative. Nonprofit Tech For Good explained that infographics can vary in price depending on whether they’re created in house or by a third party, but this tool is well-suited for mobile users. In general, it’s a good idea to make these responsive as well because the goal is to integrate strong visuals with powerful data to get a point across clearly. If the graphic is too small or expansive to read, it won’t be as effective in reaching donors navigating on their smartphone or tablet.

NTFG drew attention to a video infographic created by WildAid Elephant, and it pushes the boundary of what’s classified as an infographic, which are generally static, and a video. Regardless, this represents a useful tool for nonprofits hoping to catch the attention of donors who refer to their digital technology as a research tool as well as a method for donating to a cause. In a similar vein, some organizations have built off the popularity of .GIFs, which are motion images that are often limited in duration but repeat. Incorporating these into mobile-optimized infographics can also transform the generally static graphic into something more engaging. Nonprofits can draw donors’ eyes to a specific focus of a fundraising campaign, which could range from animal rescue to reforestation efforts.

Depending on the nonprofit’s aim, infographics can play a key role in engaging donors through a mobile campaign. Most importantly, organizations should make sure their donation process is optimized for smartphones and tablets as well.

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