mobile apps non-profit

All organizations should have a mobile app, if not an assortment of mobile apps in their possession.

Yes, we might be a little biased, but the facts back us up as well.

Based off a 2015 Internet Trends Analysis, the average person in the US spends 5.6 hours of their day interacting with digital media. The average person spends a majority of that time – 2.8 hours – on mobile phones rather than computers or other connected devices. These numbers have only been increasing over the past 7 years, and we don’t expect that trend to stop now. Furthermore, 90% of time spent on mobile is spent in apps. These statistics make a pretty compelling argument for developing a mobile strategy. Reach your members and ideal users with their preferred platform or risk damaging user engagement and retention.

But how exactly can you use mobile to boost your organization’s strategic goals? Look no further, here are some ideas we have for mobile apps non-profits can build to get started or add to your organization’s mobile strategy.

1. Support your Community with a Member Portal App

This is the most obvious app your non-profit can create. Your organization relies on members or a core group of supporters. Give your most important stakeholders the resources they need whenever they want and wherever they are.

Bonus Tip:  If your non-profit doesn’t rely on members, create a “Club” that supporters can join that will give them access to a more specialized group of resources, benefits and knowledge. Then create an app or section of an app for this group.

mobile apps non-profits National Association of Letter Carriers' Member App
via National Association of Letter Carriers’ Member App

2. Disperse Information & News with a Publications & News App

Your non-profit has a cause and mission it wants to educate communities about. Whether that knowledge is research based or news based, you need a mobile optimized version. With mobile, your supporters can access news and articles on their commutes, while traveling, at conferences or other out-of-office locations.

Bonus Tip: We understand mobile optimized content might not be your user’s ideal reading space, but enable easy share or save functions on mobile apps to ensure that your users can review content again in a more professional environment.

mobile apps non-profits
photo via Apollo Matrix

3. Prepare your Community to Further Your Organization’s Mission with an Essential Tools App

This app has the most potential to bring something unique to your organization’s digital properties. No matter what type of non-profit you are, your members or supporters have a cause they are working towards. Providing tools or guides for your community to use will only help create more meaningful relationships and a stronger cause.

For example, an archaeology organization can create an app for researchers to use in order to document artifacts found on digs. Or an advocacy organization can create a mobile guide and organization tool for volunteers. Volunteers can receive speaking tips and volunteer instructions directly from their phone.

Bonus Tip: It’s easy to create guides or checklists for members to access, but implementing personalized metrics dashboards or other high functioning tools will increase the number of positive interactions your supporters have with the organization.

via NAHB
via National Association of Home Builder’s Advocacy app

4. Build your Network with a Community App

A well-designed community-based app is great for increasing community engagement digitally and in real life. Great features for this app include a place to share event information and registration; personable content or stories involving your cause; and a place to bring your members together during fundraising campaigns. Typically, non-profits separate each of these features into different apps but being able to see all of this encouraging content in one app motivates people to get involved in the moment.

Bonus Tip: Allow your users to create event or fundraising campaigns on the app. This way your goals can continue to be met without having to instigate participation.

mobile apps non-profits via American Association of School Administrators community app
via American Association of School Administrators community app
mobile apps non-profits American Association of School Administrators community app
via American Association of School Administrators community app

5. Educate the Public with an Entertainment App

Most of the time, not for profits don’t have a “fun” cause or entertaining mission. Apps with entertainment purposes might not seem like an obvious fit for your organization’s strategy, but this can be a new avenue for your organization to engage users or educate your community. Even if your organization has a more serious focus, people love games and more light-hearted content. Serious and fun doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive here.

Bonus: Enable sharing or interactive components within the app in order to get users to spread the word and build your audience.

mobile apps non-profits via National Restaurant Association's Food Leap App
via National Restaurant Association’s Food Leap App

This list is just a generalization. With so many non-profits out there, it’s difficult to get down to specifics in one post. While the details of your mobile app will need to go more in depth than the list above, we hope this shows you that there are many ways and reasons for your organization to connect with stakeholders through mobile. Mobile app usage is only going to increase in the coming years, so give your users what they need before they want it.