These days, it seems like there are mobile apps for everything. Online shopping, stargazing, photo editing, meditation — the list goes on. Apps can help you figure out what to cook for dinner. They can keep you from getting bored in a waiting room. Or introduce you to your new favorite music.
Twenty percent of Americans are smartphone-only internet users. And 1/4 of donors give via a mobile device. And that’s not all — check out a few additional stand-out stats in the graphic below:
A mobile app for your organization can help reach donors and other supporters on a device they constantly use, even if your in-person events are still paused. Beyond that, smartphone apps allow you to:
- Provide a convenient platform for mobile donations.
- Enhance your organization’s brand recognition and marketing.
- Engage supporters in an innovative way.
- Collect valuable donor data.
- Empower supporters to become fundraisers.
Here at DNL OmniMedia, we’re familiar with the latest nonprofit tech shaking up the fundraising world. And we’ve seen the difference a quality app can make for nonprofits. You’ll find that apps not only provide a unique engagement outlet. They also allow your organization to stay up-to-date on current trends. Let’s dive in!
1. Provide a convenient platform for mobile donations.
Let’s circle back to a previously mentioned statistic. One-quarter of all nonprofit donors contribute using their mobile devices. That’s a large chunk of supporters using their phones to donate.
By creating a fundraising app for your organization, you add efficiency to your fundraising tools. And you set your mission up for the funding boost it needs to emerge from the pandemic in a strong position.
Make your donation forms and nonprofit information accessible to mobile users. That ensures all supporters can give, no matter what device they’re using. Mobile accessibility also means donors can give immediately. No need to pull up their laptop or desktop computer and search for your organization. You want as little time as possible between “I want to give” and “I gave”.
Mobile fundraising apps also allow donors to choose how they want to engage with your organization. With some apps, donors can independently update their profile information, review their giving history, and choose their donation amount and frequency. Here’s an example of what this could look like on the user’s side:
This gives supporters a greater sense of agency with their involvement. They choose the level of engagement they’d like. As this example displays, you can also allow app users to turn on and off news alerts. Then they can choose the content that’s most relevant and interesting to them.
2. Enhance your organization’s brand recognition and marketing.
Mobile apps are a convenient way to boost your nonprofit’s brand awareness with your target audience. Customizable apps allow you to take a pre-established, successful framework and customize it to reflect your organization’s branding.
This can enhance your organization’s brand recognition. You can leverage that familiarity to reassure your supporters that your organization is dedicated to providing a trustworthy experience.
For example, if you decide to invest in a custom fundraising app like MobileAction! by DNL OmniMedia, Team DNL creates the app for you with familiar imagery, language, and brand specifics that align with your nonprofit’s preferences. Then, your organization gains full control over editing the app going forward.
For instance, here’s an example of how the MobileAction! app could be configured for an organization focused on saving turtles:
Be sure to include evocative images in your app from your photo bank. You want to show as well as tell about projects related to your mission. According to DNL OmniMedia’s nonprofit branding guide, strong digital branding using images and familiar logos creates a uniform look. This can unite your marketing efforts across multiple platforms for a more cohesive digital strategy.
3. Engage supporters in an innovative way.
You have been soliciting donations through direct mail, email, or your website. Now mobile apps can add an innovative element to your fundraising strategy.
Mobile apps are relatively new additions to nonprofit fundraising. They can revamp your strategy and engage supporters in new ways. With your nonprofit’s custom app, you can:
- Get feedback and communicate with supporters. Use your app to send surveys and polls to supporters. Asking for feedback builds trust – and the donor relationship. You can use their comments to adjust your strategy. For instance, if you recently finished a crowdfunding campaign, you can send out a survey asking your app users questions. Where did they hear about the campaign? What made them decide to donate? What communications changes would they like to see in future campaigns?
- Promote advocacy opportunities. You can send alerts to users reminding them about upcoming opportunities to get involved. Whether you’ve got events, volunteer opportunities, or fundraising campaigns on the calendar, your supporters can stay in the know about all your activities.
- Provide ongoing campaign updates. Your supporters want to know how their donations and volunteer efforts are working. So use your app to send alerts with campaign updates.
- If you’re currently engaged in a fundraising push for a new program, provide supporters with ongoing updates about the effort. This helps them feel more connected to your organization. They’re now active participants in your mission.
These are all effective ideas for using your mobile app to engage current supporters on a deeper level. Donor engagement matters because retaining current supporters and donors is much more cost-effective than constantly reaching out to new ones.
Your new donors are valuable. But it’s your repeat supporters who carry your nonprofit through times of change or crisis. Your loyal major, monthly, or long-time donors provide your organization with a steady revenue stream. It’s important to cultivate relationships with them.
4. Collect valuable donor data.
You want to build stronger relationships with donors. So getting to know them is critical. When supporters create a profile on your nonprofit’s app, you gain access to some basic information, such as their:
- Email addresses
- Preferred names
- Donation histories
- Communication preferences (gathered through supporter surveys)
You can use this information to strengthen your connection with each individual by:
- Using their preferred name in all future communications.
- Referencing their giving history to thank them for their specific contributions.
- Segmenting your donors based on communication preferences. Then each group receives messages that appeal to them.
When donors see you’ve taken the time to personalize your communication and appeal to their interests, they’ll understand how much your organization appreciates them. Plus, they’ll be more likely to stay involved because they know your organization sees and expresses gratitude for their individual contributions.
5. Empower supporters to become fundraisers.
Lastly, your app can be an effective tool to empower supporters to become fundraisers themselves.
Choose an app that offers peer-to-peer campaign features. Then you can provide supporters with all the information they need to create their own fundraising pages and start collecting donations from their networks of family and friends. Your app can allow users to:
- View past events they’ve participated in as well as upcoming events on the calendar.
- Register for new P2P events.
- Track their fundraising progress.
- Send messages to their contacts to solicit donations.
- Track their mileage for P2P walking/running/cycling events.
These features provide volunteer fundraisers with the tools they need to conduct a successful P2P campaign. And to know that their work has contributed substantially to the effort. Don’t forget to thank all participants through your app as well as a great thank you letter. Their efforts shouldn’t go unnoticed!
Mobile apps are a viable way to engage supporters, promote your nonprofit’s brand, and raise more money to help support your mission. Be sure to explore your options for partnering with a mobile app provider. You’ll want a partner that can handle the initial setup for you to streamline the process and reduce the hassle associated with this new investment. Happy fundraising!
Guest author: Carl Diesing
Carl Diesing, Managing Director – Carl co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with on-going web development projects. Together DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As Managing Director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease, and solve social issues. Carl lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Sarah and their two children Charlie and Evelyn.