New reports indicate nonprofit fundraisers need mobile solutions

To reach modern audiences, nonprofits need mobile fundraising tools.
Date Published
07/30/2015

Fundraisers can no longer ignore mobile solutions. If your nonprofit organization is dragging its heels when it comes to the implementation of mobile strategies, it’s at a huge disadvantage in the modern world.

Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trend Analysis concluded most people prefer mobile options for Internet access over desktop computers. If you want your fundraising materials and donation options to be visible to a modern audience, you have to provide content and tools that can be accessed on phones and tablets.

Mobile has proven effective for nonprofits
The Mary Meeker report focused on general online media consumption, but other surveys provided details on how donors and nonprofit audiences use mobile devices to interact with organizations in growing numbers.

The Nonprofit Times shared the results of a 2013 Pew Research study that analyzed nonprofit mobile engagement after a national crisis. The report concluded donors preferred text options to phone- or Web-based giving. Respondents also used their mobile devices to send messages of encouragement to their friends and families in hopes they would donate as well. Fifty-six percent of donors surveyed said they used texting to provide donations for multiple causes. 

Modern audiences prefer to use mobile devices for communications and messaging. Forty-nine percent of all emails are now read on mobile devices. A recent Text Marketer infographic reported 99 percent of text messages are actually opened, compared to only about 30 percent of emails.

The better the mobile tools performed, the more likely viewers were to follow the nonprofit. A Nonprofit Tech for Good infographic reported nonprofit donations in 2013 nearly doubled when the organization’s website was responsive on mobile devices.

Update technology
These numbers indicate nonprofits need to update their websites to accommodate mobile access and expand their fundraising campaigns to include messaging directly to smartphone and tablet users.

There are a few best practices to keep in mind when designing online content for mobile users. Network 4 Good suggested short and simple is the standard. You want to make sure your site loads quickly on mobile devices and uses informative images accompanied by short, direct text. Navigation through mobile sites has to be intuitive and it should lead to important features. Donation buttons and subscription options have to be clearly labeled and readable on smaller screens.

Text messaging follows the same standards. Messaging to members should be quick but engaging. Calls to action have to include direct links to relevant materials that can be pulled up on the user’s phone or tablet. It’s a good idea to send specific messages to certain audiences. Younger donors might use acronyms or text slang, while more professional contacts need very clear wording.

Nonprofit Quarterly advised organizations to incorporate mobile fundraising strategies into overall messaging and daily procedures. You can use nonprofit software tools to schedule communications and target audiences. A single data platform allows an organization to create consistent marketing across all platforms. Each message has to provide links to landing pages, fundraising events or any other content the nonprofit is trying to promote. The success of each platform can be tracked by the software.

Encourage participants to create mobile materials
Most nonprofits have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to mobile content. Organizations can use their volunteers and participants to generate materials.

Social media is a very popular mobile tool. People use social sites to update locations, post pictures and send out mass messages on their phones and tablets. Nonprofits can encourage fundraiser participants and donors to share materials on Facebook or Twitter. Pictures taken at nonprofit events are great materials for mobile campaigns. You can encourage compassionate people to share news stories or information about your organization’s cause.

Mashable shared some examples of nonprofits utilizing creative strategies to encourage mobile participation. A public radio station promoted local sightseeing by having listeners report bird watching locations to an online map using their phones. Teachers used a text campaign to get parents to call in support of education to state legislators. An environmental group performed presentations that didn’t ask audiences to silence their phone; instead the group encouraged mobile use during the event to communicate information to people who were not physically there.

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