“Nearly nine-in-ten Americans today are online, up from about half in the early 2000s. Pew Research Center has chronicled this trend and others through more than 15 years of surveys on internet and technology use.”
Pew Research Center, “Record Shares of Americans Now Own Smartphones, Have Home Broadband” (January 12, 2016)
Since I wrote this article in 2011, the rise of mobile communications has increased dramatically. Marla Tabaka of Inc. spotted this trend early-on. She wrote 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.”
The lessons being learned by corporations should not be lost on nonprofit organizations.
“Charitable donations from mobile phones have grown more common in recent years. Two thirds (64%) of American adults now use text messaging, and 9% have texted a charitable donation from their mobile phone.”
Zach Whittaker at ZDNet (February 13, 2012) discussed a report by Forrester Research that concludes,
“In a world where already you cannot travel on the subway without someone flipping out their cellphone, or stand at a Starbucks without someone yapping away on their iPhone, imagine what’ll happen with 1 billion smartphones out there? Forrester seems to think so. Analysts at Forrester believe that by 2016 — only four years away … there could be as many as 1 billion smartphones on the planet.”
In addition, “the report … highlights that mobile apps are the ‘face of new systems,’ and act as a ‘flash point’ for more holistic and far-reaching change.”
In 2013, opinions vary regarding apps, which have proliferated. Bobby Owsinski writes for Forbes, “Enough With The Apps Already!” (December 4, 2013). Bobby laments there are simply too many.
eMarketer Digital Intelligence posted a telling article, “Video, Social Boost US Mobile Content Consumption” (April 13, 2012), which notes, “by 2016, more than 110 million Americans – or one-third of the total US population – will watch video content on a mobile phone at least once per month. This year, just under 20% of the population, or 25.2% of US mobile phone users, are expected to watch mobile video monthly.” eMarketer provides predictions through the year 2016.
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 update for Facebook users by Steven Loeb of VatorNews, who reported on September 11, 2012, “Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook is Now a Mobile Company.” Last but not least, at the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference in March, 2014, this “tweet” comes from Artez Interactive. Times have changed – nonprofits must take note.
- Nonprofit Tech for Good, “Five Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Must Prioritize the Mobile Web in 2014” (October 24, 2013). “The Mobile Web is often discussed as a future trend that nonprofits have time to prepare for, but the reality is that by the end of 2014, the majority of your supporters and donors will be viewing your website, email communications, blogs, and social media content on smartphones and tablets.”
- iATS shares insightful information in, “Nonprofits Needing Donations Should Embrace Mobile Tech” (October 15, 2015).
- A search on the website of NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network reveals several helpful articles and guides regarding mobile technologies.
This was one of the first articles on Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog. On occasion, I share more recent links and information. Hence, this is a combination of information from earlier years to the present day.
A hands-on “mobile” lesson learned from personal experience:
If you develop and “polish” your online platforms on a laptop as I do (I find a larger screen is helpful), do not assume the “look” of your page on a mobile device (or on a platform app) will be the same.
You might enjoy, “8 Free Online Tools to Test Your Website on Different Screens & Devices” by Nimrod Flores (2015). Browser testing is helpful, but also, cross check the “look” of your webpages yourself on different devices.