If your nonprofit is experimenting with text-to-give, text alerts and/or smartphone Apps (or planning to), then launching a mobile website is something your organization should seriously consider. If not an entire site, then at the very least your organization should create select web pages that are designed to be easily read on mobile devices. Here are four reasons why:
1. To improve your text alert campaigns.
Over the last month I have subscribed to receive text alerts from 10 organizations. Of those, only four are texting me regularly (2-3 times monthly). Of those four, one is sending me text alerts that are text-only. Three are sending me text alerts with links to their desktops sites. Folks with regular cell phones with Internet browsing wouldn’t be able to read the content of those links at all. Those with smartphones can read the links, but not easily. Not without increasing, shrinking, scrolling, shrinking, scrolling, increasing. Linking to a desktop site in text alerts is definitely not a best practice.
Also, text alerts are limited to 160 characters, so if you want to do a call to action or inform your subscribers beyond a 160 characters, then you are going to need a mobile website/page to do it.
2. To make your smartphone Apps more functional.
Recently there has been an explosion of do-it-yourself iPhone App services. They are very much first generation and pretty basic, but affordable for nonprofits. Much of the functionality of these new Apps is based on adding buttons that link to your Twitter profile (the mobile version), Facebook Page (the mobile version), your blog (using RSS) and links such as your website, donate now page, and e-newsletter and text alert subscribe pages. Again, it’s not very useful to link to your desktop site inside of a smartphone App. If you are going to use one of these early do-it-yourself smartphone App tools, then you most definitely need mobile versions of your about, donate, e-newsletter subscribe and text alert subscribe pages.
3. To reach out to your text-to-give donors.
If your nonprofit is utilizing text-to-give, then more than likely (hopefully) you are also engaging those donors via text messaging. You want to make sure that you are sending them text alerts with links that they can read on their mobile phones. You also want to make sure that you have a “Donate Now” mobile page that text-to-give donors can read and easily use on a mobile device.
4. The web is going mobile.
As of July 2009, 56.9 million people in the United States access the mobile Web. That’s 1 out of every 5.3 people, and I am sure it’s much higher now 7 months later. Smartphones are dramatically changing how people use the Internet. Facebook Mobile is now growing faster than the desktop version of Facebook with 100 million mobile users. Not only that, there are now 4.1 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. 271 million in the United States (88% of the U.S. population!). Currently, 1 in 5 families is cell phone only. I know you’ve heard it… 2010 is the Year of the Mobile Web. It will surely stretch into 2011 and beyond, but 2010 is definitely the year to reap the benefits of early adoption.
Coming Soon: Ideas on how to easily create a mobile website/pages on a small budget, but in the meantime see the links below for some additional background and resources.
10 Nonprofit Mobile Websites
10 Nonprofit Text Alert Campaigns
Webinar: How Nonprofit Organizations Can Successfully Utilize Group Texting, Mobile Websites, and Smartphone Apps
Nonprofit Text Messaging Benchmarks 2010