On the Mobile Web, it’s 1999 all over again. Those nonprofits that are pioneering mobile websites today will reap the benefits of Mobile SEO tomorrow. Mobile search engines like Google Mobile, Yahoo! Mobile, and Bing Mobile are hungry for mobile content, especially fresh content.  That said, the uber vast majority of nonprofits have not even considered launching a mobile website. They have either not yet had their “Aha” moment about the Mobile Web, or think it is too expensive and time-consuming to be an early adopter. I am here to tell you (and train you) that it is not. Not at all.

Regardless of the nonprofit sector’s slow adoption of mobile communications, the Mobile Web continues to soar. One out of four Americans now access the Mobile Web daily and that’s a trend that will continue to increase rapidly as smartphones become more affordable. Also, texting is growing faster than any other communications method and tragically those nonprofits that are pioneering group text messaging are still linking to desktop websites which if you just stop… and think about it… makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! To this day, I have yet to receive a text alert from a nonprofit that links to a mobile website, only their desktop site. Craziness. 🙂

For those nonprofits in the throws of Aha moments and who are ready to take the leap, I have highlighted five must-have characteristics of a nonprofit mobile website below:

1. A simple design with very little images.

Like dial-up for desktop, we are in the Era of 3G for mobile. Mobile websites need to be simple in design with only a few low-resolution images to ensure fast download time. People will lose patience quickly and leave your mobile website if it takes longer than 3-5 seconds to load.

2. Fresh content.

People that browse the Mobile Web most often are looking for breaking news or current information about what’s happening at your nonprofit. Often times they are on their lunch break, traveling to and from work, or waiting in line. These folks are not browsing your site in hopes of finding your nonprofit’s history, mission, values, or programs. They are looking for timely news items and recent blog posts.

3. Location and contact information.

This is especially true if your nonprofit is location-based, such as museums, hospitals, animal shelters, food banks, etc. Many people will use their smartphones when in proximity of your nonprofit to find your location. That said, on your mobile “Contact Us” page be sure to link to a Google Map.

4. Social networking icons that link to your mobile profiles and pages.

If they are reading your mobile website on their smartphone, then of course they are going to want to read your Facebook Status Updates and Tweets in mobile format as well, i.e., m.twitter.com/nonprofitorgs, m.facebook.com/nonprofitorgs, m.youtube.com/nonprofitorgs, etc.

5. A mobile-optimized “Donate Now” page.

It’s nearly impossible to make a donation via credit card on a mobile device through a desktop website. It requires much left-right-up-down scrolling. Too much to make it easy to give. Donors don’t want to have struggle to donate. You will need either a mobile-optimized “Donate Now” page like m.komen.org or a text-to-give page like sonc.mobi.

Related Links:
22 Nonprofit Mobile Websites
Social Media and Mobile Technology Webinars for Nonprofits
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Five Must-Have Characteristics of Nonprofit Mobile Websites