Not for Profits Need to Embrace Mobile Technology
7 November 2012 at 9:49 am
BLOG: The time is right for Australian Not for Profits to develop a mobile strategy as part of their social media plan, says US Consultant, Rolfe Larson.
It's amazing how fast mobile devices have taken over our lives. I've had my smartphone for only a few months, but hardly a day goes by when I don't ask it for advice. This past week alone, I looked for child-friendly restaurants, a "green" dry cleaner, bus routes, airline tickets, and a car rental.
Sure, I have a computer, and I use it all the time. But if I'm waiting for a meeting to begin, or stuck in traffic, or eating lunch alone, or waking up in the middle of the night, or waiting in a doctor’s office, or – OK, you get the idea — you'll find me doing something on my phone. And so are a lot of other people.
Including your donors. And your funders. And the general public.
Last year, global smartphone sales grew 63%, exceeding PC sales for the first time. More than 88% of the Australian population (14+) own a mobile phone and more than half of these are smart phones that can browse the Internet. And 75% of consumers reported buying things using their phones. So now is the time for most Not for Profits to develop a mobile strategy to reach those people.
What are mobile strategies? I divide them into three categories. First, and easiest, reconfigure your emails and newsletters to be easily read on smart phones, especially iPhones and Androids.
Secondly, and a bit more expensively, create a mobile-friendly version of your website, so when people start looking for your company on their phones, they can read all about your products and services hassle-free.
You can also get your organisation listed in existing apps. For example, I led a team that recently created a new app, Social Impact, for mobile phones, which “finds” local retail social enterprises in Australia and abroad. It's for customers who want their purchasing to reflect the change they seek in the world.
Finally, and most expensively, you can create your own app. Fortunately, that’s not mandatory like having a web site or Facebook page.
Before jumping into mobile, be sure to ask a few questions. Are your target customers using smart phones? How would mobile fit into and reinforce your other marketing efforts? And finally, how will you measure results?
I know this may seem overwhelming, especially if you're a smaller Not for Profit. You might already have a newsletter, a website, social media activity. And now a mobile strategy? Really? Well, yes, I am saying that. The reality is that social networks are becoming the threads that connect us with information and with each other, and mobile devices are increasingly becoming the pipelines those threads travel on.
More than half of social media usage is already happening through mobile devices. So if your Not for Profit’s information won’t fit into those pipelines, it won’t get through to your customers.
Rolfe Larson is a US consultant and entrepreneur, the author of the book Venture Forth! and the creator of Social Impact, the award winning social enterprise app. He can contacted through his website at www.RolfeLarson.com.