ServeNext.org Blog

Make your non-profit mobile

Posted by dbittker on February 18, 2010

We’ve all seen the horrific images coming out of Haiti.  The aftermath of the terrible earthquake three weeks ago has left thousands dead and nearly a million people homeless or forced to start over with nothing.  The Haiti earthquake has also introduced a new form of fundraising.  Nearly 30 million dollars were raised simply by sending text messages.  (On that note, texting ‘Haiti’ to 90999 will donate $10 to the Red Cross Haiti relief efforts, if you haven’t already, please consider donating).

Can similar efforts to solicit donations via text message work for your organization?  Not necessarily.  The biggest reason why text-message donations have worked for Haiti is because of the immense devastation that has hit the country.  No matter how absolutely amazing your organization may be, there’s just no way to replicate the images coming out of Haiti and the remorse it evokes.  It’s the emotions of this event that has spurred the amount of donations.  There are still a number of opportunities to request donations via this somewhat new form of technology.  Although texting has existed for a number of years, having the ability to donate via text has popped up only in the past year.  There are a number of different businesses dedicated to helping organizations raise money via text.  mGive is one such company that has some proven success.   There is a monthly fee associated with their service, but they appear to have raised $50,000 – $100,000 for each non-profit they’ve worked with.  Definitely check out mGive or other text message fundraising companies.

While text-message fundraising may not be the most compatible option for your organization, you can still do a lot of work in the mobile sphere.  Questions to ask:  Do we have a mobile website?  Does our site look good on a mobile phone?  Do we get any visitors from mobile operating systems?  If you answered no to any of those questions, you’ve got some work to do.  Mobile web operations are the next technological breakthroughs that are going to become common thought in businesses and non-profit organizations.  You have a chance to get ahead of the curve.

Are mobile websites essential for operations now?  No.  But more and more people are beginning to use smartphones such as the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.  Businesses and organizations in the U.S. are going to start seeing higher demand for mobile websites.  Talk to your website manager to find out what your organization’s presence is online.  Figure out what you’re willing to commit to moving your organization into the next decade of social media technology.

Here’s a list of 10 great  non-profit mobile websites.  (Best viewed on mobile phones…)

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