How to Use a Mobile App to Grow Your Nonprofit Organization

nonprofitYou’ve probably heard the term “go mobile” tossed around by various blog posts, articles and comments. You know that the world is becoming increasingly mobile. But what does that really mean? How will this affect your organization? Most importantly, what do you have to do to get the most out of your mobile audiences?

Fret not! I have a few easily implementable suggestions to get you caught up with the mobile train.

  1.      Create your own mobile app

As a non-profit, your biggest focus, aside from making a difference in your cause, is going to be fundraising and growing memberships. With the increasing mobile traffic (check out these mobile trend stats on Smart Insights), a mobile app is the perfect channel to connect your audiences with your cause. Create your own customized app to present your messages and for your members to download to their smartphones for easy access. I like to use the APPy Meal service from Engaging Results Communications.

  1.   Go  Mobile with Fundraising/donations

Did you know: According to Artez Interactive, a fundraising technology and services provider, nonprofits that offer mobile app donation services generate up to 123% more individual donations per campaign than organizations that don’t. Make it easy for your members to donate by implementing easily noticeable “Donation” buttons on each page of your app. Use the app to encourage subscriptions and track gifts. Employ a rewards program to thank your donors for their gifts and to inspire more people to give. Send your donors small gifts or honor badges based on the levels of donations.

  1.      Send updates

People donate because they support your cause and want to make a difference. That’s why sending routine updates on the progress of your projects is essential to retaining and growing your organization’s memberships. In 2007, The Humane Society of the United States campaigned against the commercial hunting of seals in Canada and offered its subscribers live updates during the annual hunting period. According to Grace Markarian, manager of online communications, about 10,000 people signed up for updates in the first year. It’s a powerful way to build an engaging community around your campaign. You can send mobile updates via push notifications.

  1.      Expand your business network

Link your app with other local businesses to increase member interactions and raise awareness for your cause. Passionate about fair trade? Designate a page on your app that locates local cafes that serve fair-trade coffee and tea, and allow members to share other fair-trade locations. Building a strong coalition with other businesses that share the same vision is key to long-term success.

  1.      Gamify your app

Although your causes are serious, the membership experience can be fun. Gaming is an effective way to attract and engage new members for your campaigns, fast. For example, if you’re raising funds for a tornado-struck town, allow donors to “adopt” projects in the town. Then, as the funds start to make an impact, enable users to upload real before and after pictures. This fosters a sense of teamwork and directly connects the donors to the problems to which they are contributing. Allowing them to see immediate impacts motivates them to remain active members for the long-term.

The key to building and sustaining impactful nonprofit organizations is making members believe that their contributions are making positive changes to the issue. Employing mobile app effectively connects members to your organization and its projects in a way that is real time and personal. Take advantage of the app’s ability to increase donations, update your members on the status of your campaigns, and allow members to participate in your projects.

What are your thoughts on utilizing mobile apps to grow nonprofit organizations? Please share in the comments below!  

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