In my last blog post, I talked about the benefits of an association or nonprofit organization "going mobile". If you’ve decided that your association or nonprofit organization can benefit from the increased outreach this big step will provide, here are a few ways you can get started with the process;
Leverage Existing Social Media Networks that are Mobile-Ready
Existing social media networks have spent a lot of time and money getting their platforms ready for a mobile world. Leverage their investment if you can!
You can utilize their cameras and social media networks as points of content entry, whether it's a hashtag for your program, or a share back to your administration portal. Instead of trying to invent networks and communities and build them from scratch, leverage the communities that already exist and become a super-member!
Build a Custom Responsive App
This can be a great cost savings, and not require native application development and deployment. Right there, you will cut 40% of your development costs. Probably all told, this is one-third as expensive as a native approach. If two native apps cost you $100,000, this will cost you $35,000. The difference is one of ongoing quality and customization, and access to cool new mobile features, like notifications, persistence, caching of fat content for offline viewing, near-field communications, etc. Most social media platforms started with responsive web apps and moved to native apps, although they still support a responsive entry point. Why? Because it’s fairly cheap to maintain, but they still need that cool differential native mobile experience for their customers.
Leverage a Vendor Framework
This can be a great way to split the difference between a custom and off-the-shelf approach. You can use a code base of 90% of the features that you need, and simply tailor the platform for the additional features that you need. Breakthrough Voce product is a great example of this. A generic membership engagement application, written on iOS and Android, but can be re-purposed for your own needs. You simply pay the $1500/month fee and no large investment is required up-front.
Build Something from the Ground Up
This is the most expensive option, but offers a large ROI if you get it right. Make sure you have a partner ready to build a bespoke experience on multiple platforms. Make sure you have $100,000 of budget for design and at least 2 native experiences. In our experience, if you are going to build a custom experience, don’t cut corners with a multiplatform tool like phonegap. You might as well build a responsive website because of the trade offs you’ll make. That way you can reduce costs to <$35,000, and support all platforms, but you will give up all of the nice features of a native solution.
Good luck as you cross over to the mobile digital future. Reach out if you have any questions or if you feel ready to start the conversation. We’re here waiting for you!