TechTalk: The Mobile Tipping Point
"Why is everyone still talking about mobile? I thought it didn't work for membership and fundraising."
I talk to a lot of nonprofit organizations, and I hear a common theme when the subject of mobile comes up. "We tried mobile last year, and it didn't work," they tell me.
So why am I starting off this column on the subject of mobile? Because I believe it is one of the most important technology themes for any nonprofit in 2015. Other topics that come close are "big data," "social listening" and "engagement measurement," but we'll get to those in future columns.
When I probe a little deeper on the topic of mobile, I hear that they spent some time and money with a text-to-give campaign: Text this short-code to that number to donate $5 or $10. It didn't work too well. Or they spent quite a bit of money on a mobile app, only to be disappointed that so few people downloaded it, and now it needs a software upgrade.
I'd like you to consider another view of mobile.
There's an image that shows the announcement of the pope in 2005 and again in 2013. Same place, same crowd, different technology. What I like about this image is that it shows how fast the "mobile migration" has happened.
Check out another image from the Hong Kong protest a few months ago. A big part of that story was how the crowd used mobile technology. The world is changing, particularly from a marketing and communications perspective, and it is becoming harder to get anyone's attention, including potential donors and members.
I bet you've upgraded your smartphone in the last 18 months. Let's consider your new device: You spend more time on it than you did on your old one. In fact, I bet you read your email pretty easily now on that small screen. You may even spend more time on Facebook than you did when Facebook was a desktop/laptop-only experience for you. And with recent upgrades to the cellular data speeds you spend more time using your mobile browser to visit websites, often linked from your email or Facebook.
Philip King is founder of The Donation Funnel Project, an experiment in online and mobile fundraising. He is a regular contributor to NonProfit PRO.