The Future Is Mobile
The Future Is Mobileback

Klunk! That was the personal computer landing in the e-waste recycling bin. At least, it sure sounds like that. Mobile phones are more prevelant than toothbrushes, worldwide and the numbers are growing. Just about every demographic group is turning to mobile for shopping, news, and entertainment.

Will you be there when they look for your nonprofit?

Every new generation of phones (and of consumers) has more and faster options for searching the web or directly connecting with people or companies. Faster and simpler and comprehensive: They can gather together all the information from your website and your social media pages into one concise application.

To make mobile work for you, don’t expect people to download your website and click through all the layers there. Mobile apps must download quickly, be simple and easy to read on a small screen, and use the features phones have, from touch screens to location-based information.

Yes, there is a learning curve. Yes, you may need outside expertise to do it right. But as all marketing people know, you must go where your customers are. Bite the bullet and learn mobile.

Research undertaken by Ventureneer and Message Medium, Ditch Digital Dabbling: How Small Businesses + Nonprofits Can Master Online Marketing, shows that small businesses and nonprofits are losing out because they haven’t learned new ways of marketing.

Matt McKee is an entrepreneur who feels strongly that businesses and nonprofits need to go mobile sooner rather than later. He is the president of ROAR, a company that develops applications for mobile phones. Its apps are particularly targeted at nonprofits, such as churches, but he counts small businesses among his customers as well.

With the mobile-oriented content-management system ROAR provides, congregants can pull out their mobile phones to check their church’s calendar, listen to a sermon they missed, check the list of recommended readings that round out the sermon, see prayer requests as they come up, and even be alerted when their wanderings put them near a community service opportunity.

Schools can notify parents about subjects discussed in schools as well as suggest follow-up dinner table conversation. And imagine the convenience of not having to go through your first-grader’s backpack to make sure there’s no permission slip or art project due tomorrow?

One of his clients, a nonprofit that helps the homeless in Cincinnati, OH, uses ROAR’s mobile app to keep supporters up to date, instead of using email.

“It doesn’t matter what culture you are, there are three things you always leave the house with,” he says, “your money, your keys, and your mobile phone.”

Therein lies the future. Will you be ready?

The online marketing survey, Ditch Digital Dabbling: How Small Businesses + Nonprofits Can Master Online Marketing, gathered extensive data and benchmarks about how small businesses and nonprofits use online marketing and whether they are seeing results. For highlights, visit our website.

Flickr photo: By hankenstein, adapted with screen capture from ROAR