1 min Read
April 1, 2010

Nonprofits + mobile: R U Ready?

Big Duck

In light of the millions of dollars raised in response to the Haiti earthquake in January, it’s hard to ignore the potential fundraising and communications power of mobile communications. But just like you can’t bring in lots of gifts simply by placing a donate button on your site, most charities won’t see a cash windfall by allowing donors to give via mobile. Technology is only as good as the strategy that surrounds it.

At last month’s meeting of NYC’s 501 Tech Club, experts from MobileActiveMobile Commons, and Do Something led an eye-opening conversation about nonprofits and mobile communications. According to the panel, nonprofits most commonly use mobile for three types of communications: fundraising appeals, advocacy alerts, and informational messages (program outreach). Although mobile offers interesting new opportunities in all of these areas, these experts agreed that mobile should support and add to—not replace—other technology or communications channels.

According to the 2010 Nonprofit Text Messaging Benchmark Study, mobile is still in the experimental phase for most nonprofits, with only a few that have been at it for more than a year. The study’s six national organizations are getting cell phone numbers from their existing lists of contacts. The study also found that text messages connected to advocacy campaigns tend to generate the greatest rate of response, as texting signals urgency and importance. Response rates for alerts to call policymakers were six times higher by SMS than by email.

Not sure if mobile communications are for you? Get 10 best practices for mobile communications.

Is your nonprofit using mobile to raise money, engage activists and/or share information? Get 10 best practices for mobile communications and view the presentations from last month’s NYC’s 501 Tech Club discussion on mobile on the Duck Call blog.