Important Factors for Developing a Nonprofit Mobile App
By now everyone has heard the statistic that more people now access websites through mobile devices and smartphones than from laptops and desktops. In this ever-evolving digital world, mobile is king. People have their smartphones with them 24/7, and the tablet is usually not that far away either.
So it makes perfect sense for fundraisers to focus on mobile strategies. In fact, it’s essential, as more donors are using and expecting the mobile experience to be available from their nonprofits of choice. And one of the hottest trends in mobile is having an app.
Recently, the San Diego Foundation, whose mission is to improve the quality of life in the San Diego communities by providing leadership for effective philanthropy and promoting community solutions, became the first community foundation in the U.S. to develop free apps for iPhones, iPads and Androids. The app allows constituents to access charitable giving news and information, submit photos to share, connect with the organization and other supporters, and donate.
“People are not just going to their desktops. They’re actually spending more time on their mobiles devices,” says Adrienne Vargas, vice president of charitable giving at the foundation. “It just made it imperative for us to implement an app.”
Historically, the San Diego Foundation has been a large donation organization focused on major donors. So, given that mobile is the communication of choice for many donors these days, Vargas says developing an app had a two-part goal: to better engage smaller donors in its work and demonstrate the foundation’s value add to the larger potential and existing donors.
Since mobile is prominent these days, the app development was part of a shift in the San Diego Foundation’s communications strategy.
“We’re taking our traditional workflow and flipping it,” says Heather Back, associate vice president of marketing and communications. “We’re so used to having our smartphones and our iPads with us from morning to night, it’s almost an extension of ourselves, our digital assistant. So really we’ve got to get the news out on those mediums first. That’s a shift for our communications and marketing department, to think of the app and the digital outreach first.”