3 cheap ways nonprofits can embrace mobile marketing efforts

Keeping up with the fluid technology sector can be difficult for any charity, especially if institutional resources are sparse. Yet, reevaluation of marketing strategies can always be accounted for in a budget with proper communication and organization. In order to keep up with donor demand and industry trends, nonprofits must at least consider the option of moving advertising efforts to digital and mobile-friendly platforms.

According to recent Nielsen research, more than two-thirds of mobile subscribers in the U.S. owned a smartphone in the fourth quarter of 2013. Not only are consumers buying more smartphones, they're also using their devices more frequently. The same Nielsen study found that in December 2013 alone, users spent an average of 34 hours per person on their smartphones - or at least seven exclusive interactions with their mobile devices.

A concerted advertising effort in the proper channels can effectively reach your nonprofits target demographic - especially given that most donors are using their smartphones for everyday activities. Listed below are three inexpensive ways your nonprofit can use mobile devices as online fundraising tools:

1. Social apps are the newest craze: For nonprofits looking to reach out to a younger demographic but don't exactly know how, social media apps are the perfect way to penetrate that market. The likes of Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and Twitter are all predicated on mobile business models, so implementing some type of outreach effort through these channels would be highly effective. Twitter is great for sharing text content, while Vine, Snapchat and Instagram are adept at engaging in visual stimulation with potential donors. Most nonprofits should have a long list of benefactors' numbers, so begin with that and connect with your network on all types of social sites and apps. All of the interfaces are free - all it takes is a little time and energy.

2. Email's pulse is still beating: Believe it or not, email is still alive and well. In fact, a large proportion of smartphone users link both work and personal accounts to their mobile devices in order to stay in constant touch with clients and friends. A recent study conducted by YesMail Interactive found that half of consumers who interacted with email on a daily basis opened messages via smartphone in the fourth quarter of 2013. The path to donors is continually shifting toward mobile because individuals feel the need to remain constantly connected to the outside world.

3. Texting is taking over interpersonal communication: For the old school communication savants out there, this may come as bad news: Texting is the preferred communication medium for most young adults. What's more, older generations are beginning to adopt texting. Nearly three-quarters of domestic smartphone owners receive text messages, Pew Research Center found. A likely corollary in the rise of U.S. adult texting is the fact that most people read or respond to SMS messages within a few minutes. Specifically, mobile communication service Tatango recently found that text open rates exceed 99 percent, and 90 percent of messages are read within three minutes after receipt. Similarly to email, nonprofits can tap into their existing donor databases, send out a mass text with a link to its online donation form or simply remind volunteers about an event.

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