Jenifer Snyder

To help your nonprofit understand the benefits of having a mobile marketing strategy and how to implement one, we asked the good folks at The mGive Foundation to guest blog for us. Today we start with the basics as Jenifer Snyder explains why you need to be thinking about mobile.  ~Kivi

Guest Post by Jenifer Snyder, Esq.,  Executive Director of The mGive Foundation

Remember all the trouble E.T. went through when he needed to phone home?

If only he had mobile!

Mobile phones have become such a central part of our daily lives that it’s hard to imagine managing without.  Yet when it comes to integrating mobile into fundraising programs, too many are choosing to be just as phoneless as E.T.

You don’t need to be stranded on a distant planet to see the need for mobile in your communication plan.  The data makes a compelling case for making mobile a part of your communication mix with donors.

Let’s take a look at the facts.

1.     Mobile is a Part of Nearly Every American’s Daily Life

We are a wireless nation.  A phone in your home connected to the wall by wire is becoming as antiquated as an 8-track tape deck.  Getting up to “go” answer the phone is almost as quaint as the notion to getting up to go change the channel on your TV.

The Pew Research Center says “the cell phone is the most quickly adopted consumer technology in the history of the world.”  More than 90 percent of the U.S. population has mobile phones.  We spend 19 hours per day with our mobile phones within arms reach.

If we spent as much quality time with our spouses the divorce rate would probably plummet.  In fact, we love our mobile phones so much that 75 percent of us take them into the bathroom when we go.  Our mobile phones are with us so much that the phrase “I can’t come to the phone right now” needs to be retired.

2.     Mobile = Online

Increasingly, Americans are using their phones to access the Internet and read their email.  In 2012 Americans read their email on their phones more often than on their computers.  In 2014 more people are expected to be using their mobile phones to browse the web than using their desktop computer.  The migration to mobile isn’t limited to website browsing.  More people are using their mobile devices to connect with social media.  A recent survey found that as of October 2012, 64 percent of those tweeting were doing so from a mobile phone.

The trends are clear.  If you want to entice Americans to engage you online, you need to reach them through mobile.

Those are two very important reasons why mobile is essential to communication. Let’s take a look now at why mobile is so important to nonprofits.

3.     Mobile Gets Read and Gets Read Now

If you want donors to read your messages you need to send them a text. Text messages have a 97 percent open rate and 85 percent of text messages are read within 15 minutes of receipt.  If you want donors to get and read your messages, use mobile.

4.     Mobile recruits

Mobile is a source for new members – As much as 80 percent of mobile subscribers are unique to an organization.  Mobile lists are also much less likely to go stale than other lists.  According to our 2013 Text Donation study, 75 percent of text donors have had the same mobile phone number for five years or more.

5.     Mobile Drives Donors to Online and Social Media Activity

Mobile is the hub between social media, the web, and email.  More text donors are finding out about text donation campaigns through social media.  Social media is the second most common method donors hear about text donation campaigns (TV and radio are first), according to our annual study.

Our text donation study also shows that most text donors have a strong preference for donating online – and it’s a safe bet their online activity takes place through their mobile phone.  The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that nearly a quarter of all web traffic comes from mobile phones.  One nonprofit recently found that one in five of its year-end contributions to its website came from a mobile device.  It’s possible you may think you’ve not gone mobile – but your donors’ actual behavior probably suggests otherwise.

The facts are clear – mobile is not a technology or a new tool or a donation fad – it’s the central communication tool of the 21st century.   The question really isn’t whether or not you need to use mobile and develop a mobile strategy but how you do so smartly and sustainably.  Watch this space for those insights.

Oh – and if anyone sees a little space alien munching on Reese’s Pieces and looking lost – please give him a mobile phone.

As Executive Director of The mGive Foundation, Jenifer is dedicated to expanding the scope and reach of the mobile channel for social good. She brings years of leadership experience in the mobile industry to the position. You can find frequent guest posts from Jenifer on the mBlog.