Is nonprofit communication ready for a mobile future?

29 Jan

one minute

Let me start this week’s blog with a bit of background. The mobile future I speak of is here now and will continue to dominate the internet and communication for the foreseeable future. I think we all agree on this. Last week the CEO at AT&T reminded us all that the smartphone has been here about 6 years. Look at it’s impact. It’s pervasive. He followed that reminder with a statement that sort of blew me away-the next 5 years will accelerate in terms of the impact that the smartphone has on just about everything we do.

As that sunk in, which didn’t take long because he’s right, I thought of the way nonprofits communicate and wondered if they’re ready for this. Most medium-sized and small nonprofits are already beginning to see the mobile impact and some have joined our platform and are reaping the benefits. Larger nonprofits are already embracing mobile at the national level and need to get more local in their use of mobile.

So let’s say the need to go mobile is real and undeniable. I think the CEO at AT&T would say “What are you waiting for?” to nonprofits still “thinking” about mobile.

Enough with the background. I think you get it. Now on to the premise: Do nonprofits speak mobile? Is what they produce from a communication stand point ready for mobile? Does their communication style fit mobile?

Here’s what I’m driving at. I think nonprofits like to say a lot infrequently and I think mobile dictates way smaller messages more frequently. Certainly when you see the nonprofit email gurus saying that they can help you write the best 4-page appeal letter ever, that’s a lot of content. If you consider that Blackbaud says more people go to your PC website to give than to learn about you, then there’s a lot of content there on your website that no one cares about.

So my premise is this: I think nonprofits need to learn to speak in smaller messages more frequently and that this premise spills over into and has an impact on their email, direct mail, events and more.

Maybe it’s what you’re saying on your website that has no appeal or maybe in our information-overload world they just won’t take the time to read that much about you. In fact, I’ve seen research that says folks would rather check you out and follow you on social media. So your website is not about content, it’s about facilitating donations and social media is the communication platform.

If you look at the most popular communication platforms today they are all about small pieces of content on a more frequent basis and they are all MOBILE PLATFORMS. Text-messaging, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vine, SnapChat, Instagram and on and on. Even email is more of a mobile platform and yet it’s under pressure since many young folks don’t even use it. Let that one sink in.

In a nonprofit you need to challenge yourself to create the mobile version of everything you want to say. Perhaps the exercise should be “here’s the direct mail version of a communication piece, now what’s the Twitter version of this?”.

Or, each day, if you have one minute and two sentences to share with the world what would that be? At RAZ Mobile we build a library of tweets to share throughout each month and this is what we do on Twitter.

We match the message to the format and experience¬†of mobile. When I was the “TV guy at Sprint” I used to say, and it applies today, “on a mobile phone you have one minute to get to the point”.

If nonprofits want to remain connected and communicative in the world that the CEO of AT&T sees, and one that we see all around us, you need to think about smaller messages more frequently. Big messages less frequently is not how we all use mobile.

How often will a supporter give you an hour? How often will they give you a minute when you’re in the palm of their hand?

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