Why your not-for-profit needs to know about mobile

Understanding mobile technology is a must for not-for-profits. Whether it’s for online fundraising, the accessing high-speed connections or finding innovative ways to support your community, mobile matter. John Kenyon explains.

Mobile for not-for-profits

Since 2007 I have been educating (and learning from) Australian organisations about truly effective uses of technology. In May at the Connecting Up conference, I’ll be leading a discussion around the important impact that mobile is having on the not-for-profit world. 

Australian organisations face many obstacles including geographic distances, lack of infrastructure and a constantly shifting technology landscape. While mobile is not able to solve these issues, there are ways it can help organisations better connect with donors, increase their reach and support their mission. 

Driving donations through mobile

According to the World Giving Index, Australia is the most generous country (donations + helping strangers + volunteering) in the world. (Thanks Eddie Harran for this link). In the U.S. and around the world donors increasingly are interacting with not-for-profits via mobile. While text-to-give has had a lot of attention for events with lots of press coverage, like the earthquake in Haiti, what is having a bigger impact is mobile-friendly websites.

Rather than the $5 or $10 folks can give via text, a mobile enabled website allows donors to give any amount they choose just as they can on a traditional website. Making it easy for donors to give – whenever and wherever they choose – means more donation opportunities for organisations. 

Faster access through NBN and mobile networks

In 2012 I was in southern Tasmania and visited the local community center where they had computers with internet access. There I met a fellow who drove an hour from his home each time he wanted to access the internet. He was looking forward to the coming expansion of the cellular network there so he could save the two-hour drive each time he wanted to use email or check in with his online footy community.

With the National Broadband Network and mobile networks continuing to expand in Australia, more folks with have access to not-for-profit’s online presence. But they wont be seeing it on a computer screen, it will need to work on the smaller screens of tablets and phones. 

Innovating with mobile at Connecting Up 2013

Some really interesting uses for mobile are coming out of Australia that support organisation’s missions, from supporting Koala counts to locating lost children to helping preserve Aboriginal languages. I’ll be sharing these and talking about excellent practices around mobile – including how they help manage operations – in my talk at the conference in May. I hope you’ll join Brad Howarth, Beth Kanter, myself along with some amazing workshop presenters and your not-for-profit colleagues at Connecting Up 2013.

 P.S. – To really be successful with your online presence, your strategy needs to be part of a thoughtful plan for how your organisation engages with technology. Join me on Wednesday 15 May for a master class that with provide you with the knowledge – and a road map - to make the most out of your investments in technology

About the author

John KenyonJohn Kenyon is a technology educator and strategist who’s worked with nonprofits for over 20 years providing advice, teaching seminars and writing articles. Every day he educates and counsels nonprofits about using technology strategically because he knows it can help their organizations operate more effectively and efficiently. John authored the chapter “Effective Online Communications” in the book Managing Technology to Meet your Mission (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2009). Along with Beth Kanter he helped craft curriculum for and present the “We Are Media” social media training for nonprofits and frequently speaks on social media topics. He is a member of the Executive Consultants Select Group at the Alliance for Children & Families and an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. John has been a featured speaker across the US, England, Australia and online. www.johnkenyon.org and twitter @jakenyon