For the most part, “growth” is something all nonprofits strive for. Growth in donors, brand, loyalty and efficacy of their mission. In this way nonprofits are no different than for-profit entities. I can attest to this fact. I am often questioned about what I see as the “pillars of growth” for RAZ Mobile and I say the same thing I always do-we focus on our growth coming from a great product and by providing great service to our customers. They are simple and easy to focus on like pillars of a building.
In looking at what I see as the pillars of growth for nonprofits going mobile in 2014, there are four that I see and again, like a pillar of a building, they are easy to see and most importantly, they will last for many, many years to come.
Pillar 1 - Ubiquity
The ubiquity of the mobile phone can be seen everyday, all around us. The mobile phone is driving behavior changes in almost every human experience. The mobile-ization of the internet has left some very large corporations scared stiff at the extreme challenges the mobile phone has placed on them.
Added to this “everyone has one” aspect of ubiquity is our mobiles are usually at arms length over 90% of the time. The mobile phone is also becoming the exclusive device used to access the internet with 1 in 4 in the US being mobile only internet users.
The phrase “mobile phones are taking over” will be uttered for many years to come, in 2014 and beyond. As a nonprofit, if your mobile traffic is over 10% of the traffic to your PC site, you must begin your mobile efforts NOW.
Pillar 2 - Ease
Why are apps and mobile-optimized websites so popular?
They simplify the mobile experience intentionally due to the physical and experiential demands the mobile phone creates. They are built for the device.
Physically, phones are small screens and offering a PC experience to mobiles is the exact opposite of what apps or mobile-optimized websites do. PC sites on mobile phones frustrate visitors. They do not engage.
Experientially, the phone is a “snacking” device and not a “browsing” device. Mobile internet users like apps and mobile-optimized websites because they allow for the completion of a task and are not meant for consuming page after page after page just “looking around”.
For nonprofits, mobile visitors are looking for a great mobile experience when they visit your site. They want to learn about your mission and be able to make a donation easily. Today, more people make donations online than spend time learning about you and this will be even more the case with your mobile visitors.
On top of this, Google is now crawling your site with a mobile-bot looking to see how easy you make if for mobile visitors to consume your content and make donations. Google is strongly suggesting through this process that you have a mobile-optimized website TODAY.
Pillar 3 - ROI
ROI, or “return-on-investment”, is a pillar of great importance when it comes to nonprofits going mobile. There are many paths to take when going mobile and each has direct and indirect costs.
Investing greatly in your PC site is going to produce lower and lower returns going forward as your number of mobile visitors climbs rapidly.
Building an app, as I have noted in my blog, is only for the largest budgets and even then it has some serious pitfalls to be aware of. The same thing can be true of building your own mobile-optimized website.
Truth-be-told, with all the great cloud-based services available, there is little to no reason to own and manage your own mobile presence. This is why we built RAZ Mobile the way we did. It’s a shared platform that allows all nonprofits on our platform to share resources and not spend tens of thousands of dollars that could be spent directly on their mission.
Look at it like this: if 10 organizations need 5 GB of storage for their data does it make sense for them to pay one supplier 10 times for the same thing? Of course not. The cloud makes sharing one platform, and thus costs, the choice to make.
We have customers seeing monthly ROIs well over 1000% on a regular basis. Try that with direct mail!
Pillar 4 - Search Relevancy
Lastly, there’s this - 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to action within the hour! This combined with the thoughts expressed above about the Google mobile-bot and there is absolutely no reason to risk your nonprofit’s search relevancy by relying on your PC site to be your mobile experience. Mobile visitors don’t like to wait for large PC pages to load, they flee if your donation page is hard to complete and they won’t share you with their social media followers.
Remind your board that search relevancy is why you got a PC site years ago. The same logic applies today in needing a mobile-optimized site.
In summary, with mobile “taking over”, I suggest that all nonprofits make 2014 the year these mobile pillars of growth become essential in your on-going commitment to those you serve and to the donors and supporters you rely on.
If you found this post interesting, you might also want to read: “Google’s Take on Mobile-And Why Your Nonprofit Should Care“
About the Author: Dale Knoop is an industry-recognized pioneer in the mobile data services industry. In 2003, Dale launched MobiTV and in less than one year built it into the 10th largest cable operator in the US. In 2005 Dale won an Emmy for his work as General Manager for Sprint TV, the first carrier-branded mobile live TV service. Dale holds several patents involving mobile data services. RAZ Mobile was conceived as an area of opportunity during his time leading a mobile-centric start-up Dale exited in 2009. Dale holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Kansas. He can be reached at [email protected] or 913.226.1144