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text to donateAs our world becomes increasingly more reliant on technology, consumers are consulting one screen or another consistently throughout the day. The customer mobile demands, having everything at the tip of their fingers, are escalating. Just like businesses, non-profits need to respond accordingly to this request.

Every non-profit organization should be responding to this consumer desire, but what is the best way to respond? Which mobile marketing approach is the best fit for your organization?

Here are some things to consider when adopting a mobile process for your charity:

Native Apps

A ‘native app’ is an application that has been designed for a specific platform, like a mobile device. Native apps such as “Angry Birds” are widespread and popular among smartphone owners.

Native Apps are great for non-profits because it provides another platform to reach donors. The donations from native apps have no limit and can be given on a recurring basis. Donations are all processed in real time, so there’s no delay. An added plus of native apps is that they can offer mobile donors true engagement and deliver a high-quality user experience. For example, if you want, your native app can include push notifications or camera functions!

On the other hand, native apps have a few weaknesses. They can be expensive (in the range of thirty thousand dollars) and must have all updates approved by Apple, which can cause significant delays. Second, native apps require users to go into their ‘app store’ on their mobile device and download the app themselves (as well as personally update the app when required). Third, native apps don’t have a vast reach. Since native apps are specific on which platform they work and you must develop a different app for each device. For example, an app built for Androids may not work perfectly for iPhones.

Conclusion: For long-term initiatives, native apps can be a great way to create relationships with donors for life, but be weary of the cost and time resources required.

SMS/Text Donations

Though texting has been a marketing/fundraising option for businesses and non-profit organizations for a few years now, it’s still a valid option.

The two great features of text messaging for non-profits are its user friendliness and its reach. First, nothing is easier than sending a text message. Plus, donors can have their donations automatically added to their phone bill so they don’t need to fill out any forms or share credit card information. Second, your organization can literally connect with any person who has a phone! All the donor needs to do is find out the short code (via a TV or newspaper ad) and then send a donation!

With that said, there are a number of variables concerning text message donations that might give you some hesitation. First, the turnaround time can be slow; non-profits must wait until the donor pays their phone bill to receive the donation. Second, though your organization can obtain email addresses for future communication, meaningful engagement with donors isn't as easy through text messaging as it may be through other mediums like email or phone calls.

Conclusion: Text messaging and short codes are a great, easy way for donors to support your organization. But integrate this into your multichannel marketing in order to create long lasting relationships.

Mobile Website

Mobile websites, in today’s day and age, are considered a necessity for any organization. Mobile sites are easy to access and promote donor engagement and mobile donations.

This mobile marketing option has a lot of pros. It’s user friendly, as donors can easily find a mobile site through a search engine and automatically redirect to the mobile-optimized site. It has great reach because every kind of smartphone can access a mobile site. It has no limits; donations amounts are unlimited and can be reoccurring.

There really is no cons to having a mobile website. It's something we all need to be thinking of in our efforts to best serve the ever-growing population of smartphone users.

Conclusion: It's time to make sure your website, and your fundraising strategies, are mobile friendly.

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