According to Tonia Zampieri, Mobile Strategist at Atlantic BT, “a full 50% of US adults own and use smartphones. This number jumps to over 75% for those under 44 years old. These numbers are only going up…” Yet, many organizations still have not chosen to enter the mobile fray. Here are a few reasons why I think small to medium-sized organizations of all types remain sluggish in their response to the mobile revolution.
Generation Gap or…
If you look at the demographic of individual donors who give $1,000 or more to any given cause, I’m betting most of them are over the age of 40-50 years. Indeed, I would also hazard a guess to say most nonprofit directors would be among this age range or older. Whether from a subtle, underlying apprehension to learn yet another technology that experience says will be outdated in two years, or maybe just out of pure wisdom, this older, more seasoned demographic tends to be slower at adopting the latest technologies, including mobile computing.
In the natural course of responding to today’s hectic schedules, I think most folks are still content with email at the desktop. Most C-level executives and program administrators I know don’t do much surfing from mobile (but they’re more than happy to check their email in the middle of a meeting!) If they’re not using the technology in that way, they have considerably less notion that others will use the technology in that way. When this is the case, a firm mobile strategy becomes less of a priority and the focus is placed on more familiar traditional strategies.
The Advent of Mobile-Friendly Web Design
Additionally, web technology is evolving in such a way as to compete with mobile apps. In the past, if you wanted a mobile-friendly website (which sometimes was what the client really wanted—not an app like they originally requested) you had to develop a whole new shell for the site’s content; if you were lucky enough to have a database-driven site. For those who had static websites, you had to create a whole new site and now you would be charged with the tedious task of maintaining two websites instead of one.
With more thoughtful design, we now have websites that collapse to fit a mobile format. These sites require no extra management to be mobile-friendly—you still manage a single site. Additionally, if you build a web application using the same mindfulness, now your web application can double as a “mobile app” (or, at least, a mobile-friendly app.) Obviously, there is a difference between this and a true mobile application, but for those on a budget (which I think describes most small to mid-size organizations,) this approach can help fulfill the mobile strategy they seek.
Ultimately, if you’re a small business or nonprofit interested in marketing online, you should be watching your web statistics on a weekly basis (at a minimum) to determine how much of your traffic is coming through mobile platforms. Whatever that number is now, you can bet it will only continue to grow as mobile computing becomes more popular and as the mobile-savvy population advances in their careers and influence.
T. Zampieri. Unlike Facebook, Nonprofits Don’t Get an IPO. May 28 , 2012. Retrieved from http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/unlike-facebook-nonprofits-dont-get-an-ipo.