A Mobile World: how supporters are using their Smartphones, and why you should care.

A special guest post from our friends at smartonline.com.

So first, the big four in mobile.  Our primary goal was to educate nonprofit leaders about the entire mobile channel -not just what many think when they hear ‘mobile’ – Text2Give.

Big 4 #1: Mobile Websites.  Nonprofits need to embrace this as a necessary piece of their overall marketing strategy.  An early first step is creating mobile optimized landing pages for their most critical calls to action.   I chose to highlight the organization Soles4Souls – notice how their site looks on a desktop vs. a mobile device.  This example shows clearly how critical it is to select the most important calls to action – or risk losing the mobile visitor.  Do you study your site analytics to track how many visitors are connecting via a mobile browser?  I’d recommend starting – google analytics has this feature.

Big 4 #2:  Next we highlighted SMS – of which a component of this is Text2Give.  I felt it was important to differentiate between the two to further educate nonprofits on the importance of not just raising money with mobile -but also delivering programs.  A great example of this was the Text4Baby campaign that I highlighted.

Big 4 #3: Mobile applications.  There is much discussion these days over whether a nonprofit should venture into the mobile app world.  Some thought leaders even go so far as saying there is no need to do so.  My answer?  It depends: do you have a brand to uphold?  Is your target audience using Smartphones – or will they be soon?.  In the presentation I highlight the National Parks Conservation Association and how they created their app – not with the explicit intent to get more donations right away – but to grow a new engaged audience who will eventually be cultivated into supporters.

Big 4 #4: Mobile Giving….ahhh yes.  You can raise money through mobile, even if you aren’t the American Red Cross.  While they paved the way for showing us how powerful mobile giving and mobile fundraising can be – I highlighted how important it is to begin with the basics before Text2Give. Look first at how your web donation page looks on a Smartphone – it’s time to ask WHY you should make it mobile optimized – and soon!

The second part of our presentation focused specifically on Smartphone usage. With sales continuing to skyrocket, user adoption could be as high as 50% of all mobile phones by the end of 2011 (this according to most experts).  When you look at some of the latest sales and usage statistics, like ComScore’s recent market share report – it’s probable this could happen sooner.

My associate Anusha shared with the group the highlights from our Whitepaper.  We asked consumers how, when on their Smartphones vs. desktops, do they a) open emails? b)engage with websites? c.) Use applications? We found the results compelling – and hope you find it helpful in setting a strategy for incorporating mobile into your organizations’ marketing, communications and fundraising plans.

Tonia Zampieri is Director of Marketing at Smart Online, Inc – a company that provides cross-Smartphone app solutions to the nonprofit sector. She holds an MA in Nonprofit Service, Leadership and Management and created one of the first nonprofit related mobile applications Tap-n-Give, previously available for download on iTunes.   You can follow her on Twitter at @iheartcharity


  1. We have a mobile website (http://m.gcflearnfree.org/) and have several mobile applications (http://www.gcflearnfree.org/mobileapps), all of which we were able to do in-house with no additional cost. However, mobile giving/Text-to-give, at least as much research as I have done with it, seems to have a lot of cost involved/fees from third party vendors. We are completely funding through our Retail stores and while it would be nice to receive donations, I guess in the end it we really don’t “need” it. (Which I know is not the case for most other NPOs)

  2. How did you build the app all in-house with no additional cost?

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