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According to the Pew Research Center, nearly half of all American adults (45 percent) and two-thirds of young adults own a smartphone. Pew reports that smartphones are more prevalent within the overall population than more basic phones. While mobile marketing efforts such as mobile-enabled websites, mobile fundraising platforms, and custom-built apps can increase online traffic and revenues, they often require extensive planning and up-front costs. Yet there are several mobile apps that benefit your nonprofit organization without a large outlay of cash or a great deal of organization-wide planning. Here are some simple mobile apps that your organization might find useful.
Cause.it gets the word out about your organization and its volunteering efforts to everyone that has downloaded the app in your community. Nonprofits that partner with local businesses enable users to earn points for discounts or freebies at those businesses by volunteering with your organization. Cause.it helps new volunteers discover and support your cause while also enabling existing members to sign up for events and recruit additional supporters. Your nonprofit gets to thank volunteers with points they can use at their favorite local stores.
With DailyFeats, users take actions that earn points redeemable for rewards and discounts. Those acts range from minor choices like choosing to snack on an apple rather than a piece of cake or more significant acts, like volunteering for a nonprofit. DailyFeats recently received support from the Knight Foundation to expand its push to engage people in doing more as citizens for their communities. Even if you decide not to use DailyFeats, you might want to keep an eye on what it learns. With Knight funding, DailyFeats will measure which triggers and methodologies work best for encouraging greater community engagement.
Are you hosting a charity run, walk or bike event? MyWhereAbouts allows participants to track their progress and share it among their social networks by automatically sending updates to Facebook and Twitter detailing performance and location information during the big event. It also includes a link to your organization’s donation page on every tweet or post. Sponsors and supporters can literally follow a participant’s path, cheer them on as they progress along their route, and pitch in to support the charitable cause behind the run, walk, bike race, etc.
Square Register allows your nonprofit to receive payments through any iPad, iPhone or Android device. A small, portable card reader plugs into your mobile device’s headphone jack to allow you to scan credit cards. Payments are sent directly to your organization’s bank account. According to Square, transactions are secure because data encryption occurs within the card reader the moment a card is swiped. Pricing plans are based on a per-transaction fee or a flat rate option.
Looking for volunteers for your organization? VolunteerMatch strengthens communities by making it easier for people and causes to connect. Organizations list volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch and request individuals or groups with certain talents, skills, or interests. With VolunteerMatch’s mobile app, members of your community can find or share volunteer opportunities at your organization via any mobile device.
Mobile apps can be a useful addition to an organization’s technology tool kit. Of course, organizations should integrate any mobile tools into a coordinated technology strategy that takes into account the organization’s overall priorities. Many nonprofits, for example, are still struggling to create compelling websites or to develop social media strategies. While a significant amount of mobile traffic to your site might indicate that it’s time to begin exploring mobile strategies, there are no hard rules as to when an organization with limited time and funds should begin testing mobile as a means of reaching constituents. Even so, those organizations that are interested in experimenting with mobile apps should test out some of the apps listed above. What other mobile apps do you find useful in your own work? Please share them in the comments section below!
John Hoffman has more than 15 years of experience in marketing and development within the nonprofit and technology sectors. You can follow him on Twitter here.