November 21, 2017
 
Mobile Strategy Is a Must for Nonprofits

By Kristen Gramigna

Kristen Gramigna
With more people communicating almost exclusively through mobile devices, many nonprofits, regardless of size and focus, will need to implement a mobile strategy – and ignoring this puts them at risk of missing out on connecting with current and prospective supporters.

Traditionally, many nonprofits rely on organic marketing, such as word-of-mouth and other grassroots communication channels, due mostly to low out-of-pocket expenses and the ability to connect personally. Connecting personally via mobile phones, which are an emotional center for many users, is an obvious way to tap into the benefits of grassroots and word-of-mouth marketing.

A mobile strategy, with a heavy emphasis on social media that makes use of popular apps, gives you a direct pathway to your audience’s mobile phones.

At its essence, a mobile strategy is a roadmap to help you navigate mobile as a channel for your marketing communications. Here are critical components you’ll need to put a mobile strategy in place.

Mobile Optimization

Your first step in adopting a mobile strategy should focus on your existing marketing efforts. Consider your emails and your website. Emails and mobile websites often act as a “gatekeeper” in our increasingly connected world. Many people receive email directly to smartphones or do their initial research via the browser on their smartphone, and this must be considered when you craft your mobile strategy.

You don’t need a new website, you just need to make your current website “responsive,” meaning that your website will resize accordingly regardless of the device on which it is displayed. You may need a new email template, however. If websites and emails are mobile-friendly and load quickly, your audiences are much more likely to receive your message.

You can make your communications effective over a variety of operating systems and different brands of mobile phones by following a few simple rules:

  1. Keep your font sizes large, sans-serif, and non-stylized.
  2. Keep your sentences short and snappy; do your best to convey your message concisely. Your email should be like a landing page, and you want the user to click through to your mobile website.
  3. Only use single-column formats for the sake of readability.
Mobile Payment Technology

Now that you’ve made it possible to convey your message on a mobile medium, make it easy for people to donate. To make it easy to accept donations, you need to ready your organization to receive mobile payments. There are many service options to choose from for mobile payment technology, but don’t be intimidated.

Begin with a little bit of research, searching for banks or companies that provide credit card processing for businesses via mobile phones or e-commerce. Pay attention to things such as minimum transaction fees, security, and integration with existing payment options.

Once you choose your provider, setting up an account can take as little as 20 minutes over the phone or online. You’ll typically need to provide identification, some financial records, projections, and business information. Service providers offer a variety of solutions, and may require you to install software or apps and purchase hardware to use with a mobile phone to work with the system you choose.

Other Considerations

With the technology in place, you’re ready to develop those online relationships. Communicating through the mobile channel allows for unique utilization of context, different forms of media, and the connectedness to share emotions via stories – just like any nonprofit organization knows how to do to. As a nonprofit organization looking to reach new audiences and grow your brand, you can utilize the same good taste you’re already adept at conveying through your traditional storytelling techniques over the mobile medium.

In addition to your mobile-optimized email and website, ubiquitous social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Pinterest, and LinkedIn offer a spectacular way to do just that. By adopting a mobile strategy with a heavy emphasis on social media, and piggybacking on their established and widely used apps, you’re given an organic pathway directly to your audience’s mobile phone.

Implementing a mobile networking strategy not only makes sense for nonprofits because it enables cost-effective outreach, but also because it lets them reach their audiences—and tell their stories—in the way those audiences connect with the world,

Kristen Gramigna has more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry and is chief marketing officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm, and serves on its board of directors. Call 866-495-0423.

November 2013

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