Most of us don’t need trade publications or surveys to tell us that the world is “going mobile” — we simply need to look around our own living room any day of the week. There are hundreds of blog posts, articles and comments about mobilizing your organization and coming up with a mobile strategy.
The real question is how it impacts nonprofit organizations in general, and your Jewish nonprofit organization in particular. Mobile programs allow for a unique kind of engagement. It’s different than exposing people to a commercial, or even going out and trying to connect in person. Users feel as if they have more control over their experience, and may even be more inclined to donate to a nonprofit in need.
Many nonprofits that explore mobile look into fundraising opportunities first. Finding more ways to make it easier for people to offer support and funds is always a priority. However, mobile apps have the potential to do so much more for nonprofits than just fundraising, and many nonprofits don’t realize that — yet. We know that in the Jewish world, engagement is the name of the game. Finding potential members, attracting them to what we are doing and keeping them involved is virtually our universal challenge.
At a recent rabbinic conference in Europe where community engagement is a real challenge, Rabbi Dr. Dov Maimon, Senior Fellow at JPPI, expressed it this way: “Every Jewish organization, community, shul and group is like a shopfront. We have to ask ourselves if they are coming into our shop or going to someone else’s, and if they aren’t coming in the front door, what do we need to change so that they will.”
So how does one begin?
Part 1: Know the results of “being mobile” for your organization
There are many statistics to illustrate that mobile phone users are where our potential clients are today, but we all know it anyway because we are those users. We know how much we have moved over to using our mobile phones as a source of information and engagement, and we know how much we rely on them to handle our schedules and stay connected.
“Going mobile” means a whole slew of things. The bottom line is that it’s about reaching and engaging your members where they are, and making information so accessible and fun, that they want to get and stay involved with you. A website may provide information but, as a nonprofit, you also want to have a way to get your members talking to each other – thus building a community.
For nonprofits, being mobile should include any of the following four things:
● Mobile web: Optimizing your website to be “mobile friendly.”
● Mobile messaging: Sending messages to your members, co-workers and donors.
● Online donations/text-to-give: Providing a way for your members to donate through their mobile devices.
● Mobile apps: Creating a customized application for your members to download to their smartphones or tablets for easy access.
Part 2: Know the pros of your organization “going mobile”
- Communication. Going mobile means you can access your members at any time and at any place, enabling more frequent and open communication between you and your members.
- Fundraising/donations. On average, nonprofits that offer mobile web sites, apps or both for taking donations generate up to 123% more individual donations per campaign than organizations that don’t. When your donors only have to click a few buttons on their phone in order to make a donation, giving becomes easier and, in turn, more people will be encouraged to give.
- Provide more volunteer opportunities and support for charities.
- Engagement, engagement, engagement. The “unique user experience” of mobile gives your users a greater sense of control over their experience, and increases their ongoing participation with the organization.
Part 3: “Go mobile”
Create a nonprofit mobile strategy:
- Set realistic goals that are suited to your organization specifically, considering your constituents, communications strategies, and budget.
- Start creating content that can be easily accessed on a mobile device.
When thinking about the growth of your nonprofit, make sure to include mobile in your strategies and decisions for optimum reach and impact.
Rachel Moore is Director of PR and Media Communications at Blue Thread Marketing and can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org