Mobile apps may prove useful for nonprofits

Mobile marketing is increasing rapidly as smartphone and tablet usage grows among the everyday consumer. As a result, both for-profit and nonprofit organizations are beginning to tap into the hand-held advertising market since it seems to be a successful channel in reaching potential customers and donors. Last year alone, worldwide mobile ad spending reached nearly $18 billion, an increase of over 105 percent, according to recent statistics released by eMarketer. 2014 is expected to increase again - another 75 percent or more than $31 billion to be precise.

Digital ad spend doesn't necessarily have to be incorporated into all nonprofits' marketing strategies - it's not a uniform solution to evolving donor needs. However, there are unique ways to contact benefactors through varying channels, all of which can supplement one another. Mobile applications are not only a great way for nonprofits to reach out to existing donor networks and keep their brands top of mind with contributors, but also a potential way to accept online donations. A nonprofit mobile app can be customized to serve a charity's specific revenue needs - such as ticket sales or a gift-based acceptance model. For example, a local art museum can remind users about a new exhibit coming up in an email blast while offering patrons the opportunity to reserve tickets on its mobile app. Not only do donors have multiple options to help support the nonprofit, they can do so in a streamlined and easily accessible channel of communication that yields high responses.

Gain new users with mobile apps
In addition to growing user communication, nonprofits can leverage mobile apps to expand their current networks, the Nonprofit Technology Network says. The beauty of developing a mobile application is that although the initial investment is high, the return can be guaranteed in the form of free marketing in the app store. A free app is much more likely to be downloaded than an app that costs money, but a 99 cent price tag won't be a major deterrent for committed donors. That being said, nonprofits must realize that the downloads won't necessarily generate a lot of revenue, but the medium itself may because of its user-friendly access.

In the same vein as search engine optimization, a charity can identify certain keywords and direct its mobile app toward those searches in the various application stores. That way a more targeted search result could lead to increased downloads and further ways for your nonprofit to communicate with benefactors and increased donation processing.

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