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Darian Rodriguez Heyman Headshot

Top 6 Tips for Taking Your Cause Mobile

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Whether compared to adoption of the wheel, the car, or even fire, the mobile phone is the most popular tool in human history. But the real question is, how can your nonprofit leverage this device for social change?

Just as most nonprofits initially resisted getting on board with social media, they're also apprehensive to spend the time and resources to devise and implement a mobile strategy. But with over 28 percent of web traffic now coming from mobile devices, the truth is the mobile age isn't coming, it's here.

As part of the launch of my new company, BetterWorld Wireless, I recently wrote a blog sharing tips on devising an overall mobile strategy, with a focus on first and foremost clearly articulating and prioritizing objectives. But now let's dive into practical considerations and tips that can actually help your nonprofit execute on its goals.

One of the first question nonprofits inevitably ask when diving into the mobile waters is, "should I build a mobile website or a mobile app?"

The good news is the answer is simple: start by making your website mobile-friendly, and only then should you consider building an app.

Kleiner Perkins released a report projecting that mobile web traffic will eclipse desktop traffic this year. So whether you like it or not -- and whether your website is ready for it or not -- potential donors, volunteers, and other supporters are likely already looking at your online presence via tiny little screens while they're on the go. So meet them where they're at by implementing the following six tips to take your cause mobile:

1. Benchmark Current Traffic: Before doing anything else, use a free tool like Google Analytics to figure out what portion of your traffic comes from mobile devices. The higher the figure, the bigger the priority.

2. Be Responsive: Many website templates provided by development platforms like WordPress.org are "responsive," meaning they detect what kind of device is being used to access the site, and then serve up content in an appropriate display. This is crucial and now that the technology is commonly available and even free, there's no reason to not respond to your visitors' needs.

3. Remember the 2 Second Rule: Today's MTV Generation has no patience. Case in point: if your website takes more than 2-3 seconds to load on a computer, or especially a phone, you can expect to lose about half your visitors. So keep it concise, punchy, and avoid big files, but in general images and short videos are a great way to draw people in.

4. K.I.S.S.: If you say ten things about your cause, you say nothing. Especially with mobile visitors, keeping your message and ask simple is crucial. Focus in on the one thing you want people to do, even if you change it up every week, and it helps tons to minimize scrolling. Less is more, but...

5. More is More: Although keeping messaging streamlined is crucial, buttons and images need to be at least 30x30 pixels to be legible via mobile devices. And don't try to cramp too much content in -- white space is your friend.

6. Don't Forget Email: As of Q4 2013, 61 percent of emails are viewed on a smartphone or tablet. That means above and beyond all the earlier tips for optimizing your mobile website, you also need to mobilize your emails, newsletters, appeals, etc. Be sure to preview your draft emails on a mobile device, and if a majority of your audiences does indeed read your messages via mobile, send your emails on the weekend vs. the weekday, as that's when mobile users are most likely to use them to check email.

Good luck taking your cause mobile with these six simple tips, and as we launch an entirely new kind of mobile company that's dedicated to helping nonprofits fully leverage this tool for change, reach out with any questions, or if we can be of help!