Every association uses technology to manage and engage their membership. Every nonprofit cultivates a community through technology in an effort to take their mission and keep it front and center in their constituents lives. With membership and community being cultivated and supported on a day-to-day basis, certain upgrades might need to be made and products developed in order to keep up with the fast-paced life of the average person. Embracing and utilizing mobile technology might be the solution that any company is looking for if they want to expand their reach to their community.
When should these organizations consider mobile technology, and what are the ramifications for not considering a mobile strategy today?
I will attempt to answer these questions in a brief conversation today.
I have been part of several revolutions. This does not make me a radical, it only means I have been around long enough to experience several waves of disruption in our association and nonprofit space.
And in case you thought these two types of organizations were different (which they are), I assure you in critical ways they have compelling similarities:
· Each organization relies on a voluntary customer/member/constituent base for its survival;
· Each organization is motivated by a positive social mission;
· Each organization is constantly challenged to anticipate the next thing, and carefully gauge their investment response to it;
· Each organization is often challenged by technology, as most technology platforms are not designed with their capabilities and mission in mind.
So the mission-based organization is trying to figure out their mobile strategy. I hope this article provides you comfort and support in the long dark night of the executive director considering his or her technology strategy.
If your digital assets aren’t mobile-ready, they should be.
This is low-hanging fruit. You have already taken the efforts and time and expense to create a digital presence, or digital content. Re-purposing this content so that it is available on all digital platforms should be a straightforward task. Sometimes it means upgrading your Content Management System, or adopting a theme that is mobile-friendly. Sometimes it means making a native app available on tablets and phones, etc. These should be incremental changes that your technology staff or vendors can guide you on your next steps, and any technical or budgetary roadblocks to getting there. But by far this is the easiest part of this quest.
Consider the experiences that are not digital. How could these be enabled by mobile solutions?
Let’s say you run a volunteer management function that allows community members to sign up and review content as part of your accreditation process. Maybe you want to crowdsource some marketing campaigns. Each of these activities could be a custom, highly interactive human services that you provide with staff members, training, email campaigns, and administrative support. Or, these could be part of a data collection or content management strategy that embraces your community as members. These members are much easier to reach and communicate with on their mobile devices. You can push information to them, notify them of change in their status or upcoming activities, and never require them to log into your systems.
Basically, “going mobile” is for any organization out there that is looking to communicate with its clients or followers on a more consistent and personal level. Utilizing mobile applications and notifications is an easy way to remind others that you’re there for them at the click of a link. On the other hand, if you choose not to go mobile for any reason, you may be missing out on a key market or an opportunity to maintain an easy back-and-forth. The outreach mobile can provide is incomparable to the outreach of a standard company website, even if it just means making your existing site mobile-friendly. Since so much of today’s technology is handheld, having at least a mobile-friendly website will elevate your nonprofit organization or association to a much more user-friendly status.
With this information, hopefully you are now more confident in your decision in whether or not to go mobile. If you stay tuned, we’ll have a post coming up soon on what to do once you have decided that having either an notification-inducing application or a mobile friendly website is for you! Don’t be afraid to reach out if you have any questions or want to start the conversation now.