Where mobile technology, Web content and charitable foundations intersect

Developing pathways for donors to reach out to a charitable foundation can seem like a never-ending battle. There are a number of options for organizations, but the resource that presents the greatest potential for many nonprofit entities is developing their Web presence, with special attention to mobile technology. Public broadcasting fundraising is frequently accomplished over the airwaves, with hosts making the case for why listeners should become donors.

Mobile more important
According to the "Public Radio Technology Survey" conducted by Jacobs Media and Public Radio Program Directors, nearly half of the public radio listeners surveyed through 56 stations across the U.S. used a tablet to access content on the Web. Going further, 73 percent of respondents indicated they used social media, demonstrating an increasing crossover of individuals using mobile devices to listen to public broadcasting as well as access information pertaining to a particular station. Meanwhile, automotive technology has played a role in the use of smartphones and tablets. A growing number of vehicles come equipped with digital and wireless systems that can connect with a mobile device to play podcasts and other content. As a result, charitable foundations have an opportunity to make the best of their websites and digital content to increase donations and audience participation.

Why optimize a site for tablets and smartphones?
However, donor behavior can help guide the way organizations design their sites to increase the likelihood they'll stay on the site and potentially contribute to programs. According to The NonProfit Times, charitable foundations have seven seconds to catch the attention of visitors to their sites and convince them to spend their time viewing or listening to the content. As a result, configuring a website for donors that are using mobile devices is key.

Most people who have viewed a website that is optimized for a desktop or laptop computer with a smartphone can understand the drawbacks. Any text is nearly illegible and pictures are difficult to identify. Katie Price of Design BIG Dreams, an Illinois-based business dedicated to helping nonprofits design effective websites, explained many organizations fail to keep young people in mind when creating their sites. According to Price, young donors want to contribute on a more consistent basis, but in small amounts.

Consequently, organizations need to keep an updated website that has concise information regarding programs that young people can clearly identify as crucial for them as well as a community in need. More importantly, the link to online donation forms must be prominent in connecting with fundraising goals. A generic "Donate" button will not cut it. It needs to be part of a foundation's focused strategy.

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