One in five Americans now access the Mobile Web daily. Smartphones are transforming the Internet and how individuals access the Web. This means nonprofits and their web communication strategies need to transform as well. Desktop and laptop computers have become essential tools for nonprofit communicators over the last decade, and now we are entering the era of smartphones – a tool that nonprofit communicators should definitely be writing into next year’s budget for key communications and development staff. Here are five reasons why:

1) To update social networking profiles on the go.

Nonprofit communicators function in many ways these days, and more so in the future, like reporters or a citizen press corps. You can send out Facebook Status Updates, Tweets, and even record videos and upload it to your YouTube channel while on location at events, fundraisers, conferences, or protests using a smartphone.

The era of only communicating with supporters from desktop computers at the office Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm is quickly coming to an end. Whether using smarthone Apps (iPhone Twitter App) or mobile websites (m.twitter.com), the best of nonprofit communicators understand that once again the Internet is transforming dramatically and they will transform with it.

2) To experiment with location-based tools like Foursquare and Gowalla.

If your nonprofit wants online buzz, then you have be doing something different to get noticed. Geo-location social networks like Foursquare and Gowalla are where the early adopters are flocking to these days. Both have mobile websites (foursquare.com/mobile, m.gowalla.com), but the smartphones Apps work so much better.

3) To experiment with text messaging campaigns.

I think of text messaging as the new e-mail of the Mobile Web except that you are limited to 160 characters. Nonprofit communicators should be signing up for text messaging campaigns from other nonprofits and businesses to personally experience what the early adopters are doing. And if you want to launch your own text messaging campaign using a service like TextMarks or TextPlus, then you are going to need a mobile number to do so.

4) To experience mobile browsers.

The number of people using mobile browsers (like Opera Mini) is now growing faster than number of people using smartphone Apps, yet seemingly less than 1% of nonprofits have a mobile website on their To Do List. Nonprofits are quickly falling behind on this rapidly evolving, powerful web trend even though mobile websites can cost as little as $8 a month.

5) Because you shouldn’t have to use your personal mobile number to experiment with the Mobile Web.

It’s not going to work long term and it’s not fair (for lack of a better word) to make staff to use their personal mobile numbers and service plans for work. If not for individual staff, then at least one smartphone for the all communications and development staff to share as needed.  :)

Related Links:
Webinar: How Nonprofits Can Successfully Utilize Group Texting, Mobile Websites and Smartphone Apps
Mobile Technology for Nonprofit Organizations LinkedIn Group
10 Nonprofit Mobile Websites
10 Nonprofit Group Texting Campaigns
10 Types of Nonprofits That Absolutely Must Add Themselves to Foursquare