Mobile and social: Two peas in the nonprofit pod

18 Sep

peas in a pod

There are two forces, industries, spaces, businesses, phenomenon, whatever you prefer to call them, that are forever changing the face of supporter engagement and fundraising. They are of course, mobile and social.

A few words about each and a summary call-to-action for nonprofits.

Mobile is everywhere. In it’s nature it’s portable and with you all the time. Each day, our eyes spend more time on mobile devices. The world is in the midst of a transition of our internet interaction from the PC to the convenience of having it in the palm of our hand. Mary Meeker at Kleiner Perkins (a well-known VC and accurate predictor of what the digital future will look like IMO) predicts that at the end of 2015 33% of all internet traffic in MBs will be mobile and it will grow from there at a higher rate.

83% of millennials, the next wave of major donors, have smartphones. They, along with their phone, are everywhere and anywhere they want to be, interacting with their friends constantly via these devices. A case could be made for saying that the person and their phone are now one.

Report after report from respected sources like Blackbaud and the Millennial Impact Report urge nonprofits to think “mobile-first” in their approach to the future of giving and supporter communication and engagement. This doesn’t mean that you drop legacy channels like direct mail or personal appeals; it simply means that you need staff looking at the mobile tools and tactics in order to prepare your nonprofit for future success.

If mobile is everywhere around you, it needs to be everywhere inside your nonprofit as well.

Social, likewise, is everywhere and growing in terms of the time spent on it, the number of people on it and the amount of it consumed on a mobile phone. Both Twitter and Facebook would tell you that they are mobile companies. If either is seen to stumble in their approach to mobile, the investment community let’s them know their disapproval loudly and rapidly.

When thinking about social it’s important to remember two things.

One, social sharing on mobile is double that of the PC. The thing about this one is that if a supporter has a bad experience in trying to view your PC site on their mobile, there’s no sharing and you’ve missed a chance at a new supporter and maybe a donation.

Two, and this one’s big; social media and not your PC website are where millennials go to follow you, see what you’re up to and to join in the conversation. If you’re not on social media, they may question in their mind if you’re worth their time. They are picky and a point of consideration for them to engage with you may be “are they on Facebook or Twitter?”

Both Twitter and Facebook have over 50% of their users accessing their content over mobiles. Overtime, this will grow along with the mobile MBs listed above. Any content on a web page that you point to from your social media presence should be quick to load and easy to navigate. This suggests responsive design and a mobile-first mentality.

Like mobiles and people, a case could be made that a person and their social media presence are one. If you’re not honest or not funny or not respectful on social media, it does say something about you as a person.

In summary, mobile and social go together very well. So well, you could say that they are inseparable. Yes, like two happy peas in the same cozy pod. You could also say that they perhaps are one in the same. Everyday and everywhere, it’s easy to see how they both, together and alone, are forever changing the face of supporter engagement and fundraising.

My call-to-action to all nonprofits is to embrace them both today. It’s that simple. Don’t contemplate the future. It’s already here. Mobile and social, together, as one, have delivered the future to today.

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