Mobile Rising

When I first wrote this article, there were still many skeptics about the importance of online communications and the use of mobile devices in a nonprofit fundraising context. A Pew Research report just published, “Mobile Fact Sheet” (April 7, 2021) caused me to revisit this article and update it.

I admit, I am heartened by the statistics and think the rise of mobile is a smart and good thing for humanity on so many levels. Back in 2010, I remember speaking to a packed room during the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Atlanta at CNN Center about major gift fundraising and social media. With the exception of a few, my audience felt social media and mobile devices were used mostly by young people and certainly, not by donors (nor would they ever be). But I noted then that I was invited to join Facebook by a major gift donor who found the platform a convenient way to keep in touch with their growing family spread across the world, their nonprofit projects and favorite companies. And I said I believed that trend would continue.

“In contrast to the largely stationary internet of the early 2000s, Americans today are increasingly connected to the world of digital information while “on the go” via smartphones and other mobile devices.”

Pew Research (April 7, 2021)

Marla Tabaka of Inc. spotted the trend early-on. She observed back in 2012:

“One billion people around the world now have smartphones. Traditional website traffic is going down and mobile visits are going up. Way up. Let’s face it, mobile, social media, and apps are transforming every area of our life and business.”

Hence, nonprofit websites and related communications need to be mobile-optimized. “Mobile optimization is the process of adjusting your website content to ensure that visitors that access the site from mobile devices have an experience customized to their device” according to Bright Edge.

Pursuant notes in, “Why Your Website must be Mobile-Optimized”:

“Take a look at these eye-popping stats:

95% of Americans now own a cell phone of some kind
81% of Americans have adopted smartphones
51% of Americans don’t have a landline anymore

The message is simple: Mobile isn’t on the rise; mobile has risen. More Americans are turning to mobile devices to find businesses and organizations, get information, and take actions like making purchases or donations. They are doing these things from anywhere and everywhere.”

The Economist noted how mobile technologies will positively affect business in, General Purpose Technologies: The Revolution to Come” (April 13, 2012).

“… Information and communication technologies (of which smartphones represent an extraordinarily elegant and powerful marriage) are a general purpose technology. They have, in other words, the potential to reshape the economy and boost productivity across all sectors and industries, like electricity or the automobile. Such transformations are about far more than simple technical innovation, however. They often require wholesale remaking of infrastructure environments, of business models, and of cultural norms.”

After reading these reports and discussions, if you have any lingering doubts about the importance of mobile, you might enjoy reading this early update for Facebook users by Steven Loeb of VatorNews, who reported in 2012, “Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook is Now a Mobile Company.” 

Times have changed – nonprofits must take note! I admit, I have visited nonprofit websites recently that are not optimized for mobile, still today. I would simply advise using a platform like WordPress and others that automatically optimize your website for mobile use. Doing so will generally help improve your presence online and your, “searchability.”

Mobile Resources

To learn more about mobile giving for charitable purposes, you might enjoy, “Mobile Giving 101: The Essential Fundraising Guide” produced by Qgiv. For additional statistical information about the rise of giving online, follow this link to the Qgiv blog.

To hear a 2021 podcast featuring Jim Manis, Founder of the Mobile Giving Foundation and hosted by The Heart of Giving Podcast of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, follow the link. To read more about the Foundation, follow this link.

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