9/20 Update: Make that 11 Essential Tools. Nonprofits should also be using Ustream for live-streaming while on location!
The advent of the Mobile Web is slowly starting to permeate and transform nonprofit communications. Just like social media transformed the nonprofit sector and how it communicates with its supporters, so will the Mobile Web (even more so). The best new media managers, online community builders, bloggers, and activists will be connected and communicating with their supporters from anywhere, at any time when the need arises.
Much to the chagrin of traditional media, the new leaders of the nonprofit sector will function much like reporters. They will Tweet from location, break news on Facebook, send out group text calls to action, document in real-time photos and videos, and blog report backs live from events as they unfold. There’s a good chance that much of this content will be viewed and read on “TV” sets. Whether we like it or not, the future working habits of nonprofit communicators will not be limited to Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 from a Desktop computer. A smartphone or tablet will be their primary tool.
Some nonprofits have begun to lay a foundation for their mobile communications strategies. Most haven’t considered it. For the later, at some point in the next few years, it’s very likely you will be launching a mobile website, group texting campaigns, and smartphone/tablet Apps, but the first step is to empower your new media manager with a smartphone so they can begin to experiment with communicating and reporting from anywhere, anytime using the 10 tools listed below:
Foursquare is essential for nonprofits that are location-based (such as museums, food banks, and libraries). Beyond adding your nonprofit on the desktop site, most of the ROI from using Foursquare comes from using it on an iPhone, Android phone, or Blackberry. Foursquare does have a mobile website (m.foursquare.com) for laptop users, but the best way to experience Foursquare is on a smartphone.
TwitPic.com allows you to easily share photos on Twitter in real-time. Numerous celebrities used TwitPic to report while on location at a recent Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser. It would be great to see nonprofit new media managers and bloggers do the same at galas, fundraisers, meetings on Capitol Hill, protests, etc.
On the topic of uploading and sharing photos with your supporters in real-time, for those organizations with Flickr accounts, Flickr has a mobile website (m.flickr.com) and numerous smartphone Apps that allow allows simultaneous posting on Twitter.
12Seconds.tv is like TwitPic, except for video. You can upload and simultaneously post videos to Twitter and your 12Seconds Channel with just a few clicks straight from your smartphone. Fort example, the nonprofit Big Cat Rescue uses 12Seconds to tell the day-to-day lives of their big cats.
6. Mobile Browsers
7. Mobile Payments
The days where you pull out your smartphone to accept donations anywhere at anytime is here. Intuit GoPayment and PayPal are pioneering the field. The technology does not yet exactly match the needs of the nonprofit sector, but its close. It is a trend I would definitely be monitoring at www.mobilepaymentsworld.com.
Trottr allows you to record brief audio messages with your cell phone that are then hosted on the Trottr website. After you record a message, it can then immediately be posted on Twitter with just a few clicks. For example, here’s my first message: trottr.com/74qcww.
TextPlus allows you to easily send group texts to your smartphone contacts. It’s a good way for staff and volunteers to communicate easily with one another via group text messaging.
Bump technology entails two individuals “bumping” phones to add one another to each others’ contacts. It’s also being used to send and receive mobile payments. Very much in its each days, this is definitely a trend to watch and experiment with. In the future you may be building you e-mail and mobile lists by simply bumping smartphones with supporters.
[STATS] New Study Shows the Mobile Web Will Rule by 2015