5 Ways Nonprofits Can Harness Mobile Technology

June 11, 2018  |  Gabby Weiss

According to the recently released M+R Benchmarks Report, 40% of nonprofit website visitors in the year 2017 were using a mobile phone—a 9% increase from the year prior. At the current rate, mobile traffic is set to exceed desktop traffic to nonprofit websites within a few years, making it more urgent than ever that nonprofits of every size and sphere to feature content that is not just passable, but optimized for mobile use. And it's not just websites that are affected by the trend toward mobile—more and more communication now happens through cell phones. Here are five things that all nonprofits should be doing in 2018 to keep up with mobile trends.

1. Optimize website and donation pages

In M+R’s study, researchers found that after visiting a nonprofit’s donation page, desktop users completed a gift 20% of the time. Mobile users, however, had just an 8% conversion rate. While there are several possible explanations for this, including the on-the-go nature of mobile browsing and user demographic differences, it highlights the importance of developing effective donation pages to meet the rising mobile traffic.

Donation pages should be simple and clean, without extraneous content to distract from or crowd the donation form. On a small mobile screen, the more content being displayed, the smaller and harder to interact with it becomes, so minimize as much as possible for a positive mobile experience. All of EveryAction’s donation pages are automatically optimized for both desktop and mobile, so your members are guaranteed to have a smooth donation experience no matter the device that they are using.

2. Send mobile friendly emails

More than half of emails are opened on a mobile device, so mobile optimization should not stop with your website. Speed is everything for mobile users, and large images will load more slowly on phone screens than they do on desktops, so reduce your image file sizes where possible to minimize loading time and keep your members’ eyes on your content. We’ve all opened an email on our phones, only to find an image so large that the screen must be zoomed out to see fully, making the text too hard to read. To set your email images to automatically be sized to fit the screen that they are displayed on, insert this code into your html editor to define the image’s size by relation to the screen rather than pixels:
For more instructions on using this code and other helpful tips for mobile optimizing your emails, read more here.

3. Use peer-to-peer texting for a personal touch

Don’t forget that mobile devices aren’t only used for web browsing! M+R and Mobile Commons found that although text messaging currently reaches a much smaller audience than email, the number is rapidly growing. In 2017, mobile list sizes grew by 35%, and this number is expected to continue increasing. 98% of texts are opened and read, making text message content far more likely to be seen than email content, and peer-to-peer text message services allow nonprofits to quickly message large numbers of supporters, and have unique and personal conversations with individual members as well.

Getting started with peer-to-peer text messaging is easy! EveryAction integrates directly with text messaging service Hustle, so any time a supporter answers a question, takes an action, or registers for an event, that data is saved directly to their profile in your database. Connecting with your members has never been easier!

4. Enhance your social media presence

The amount of time that Americans spend on social media has risen as more and more people use social media through smart phone apps. Make sure that your social media content is accessible to mobile users to get the most engagement on your posts. For instance, while video content is know to perform well on Facebook, it is important that the video is sized appropriately for mobile screens, where square and vertical videos greatly outperform videos of horizontal orientation. Videos automatically play without sound, so making sure that they are close captioned is another easy way to boost mobile engagement. Your page’s cover photo is another area that is displayed differently on desktop and mobile, so make sure it is sized to ensure that no critical information is cut off of the smaller mobile display.

When it comes to social media, make sure that you're getting your message out, but also harnessing the data that you need. Database tools like social media profile matching, social share tracking and facebook events integration, help nonprofits find their supporters on social media, see how they interact with your content, and integrate social media with your other organizing techniques.

5. Use an app for events and organizing

Your nonprofit’s internal workings can be made easier and more efficient with mobile technology too! From the registration table at your next event, to your volunteers or organizers collecting petition signatures at a farmers’ market or festival table, to a door-to-door fundraising canvass, can be powered by a mobile app like EveryAction’s MiniVAN Street Team. Taking your database on-the-go with a mobile app minimizes the amount of time you’ll spend doing data entry and ensures that no information gets lost to messy handwriting or a stray sheet of paper.

Mobile phones are a huge part of our everyday lives, and for nonprofits who strive to communicate with supporters in the most effective ways possible, optimizing content and strategy for mobile is a requirement. With a little bit of effort and planning, you can improve your members’ experiences with your mobile content, increasing their chances of donating, signing up to volunteer, and otherwise engaging with your organization.