Does one size really fit all online? | npENGAGE

Does one size really fit all online?

By on Jul 14, 2011 | NONPROFIT-FUNDRAISING

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This topic keeps surfacing around the office right now. It’s about how we’re all going to deal with the multitude of options people have for getting online. People are online on their smartphones, their tablets, their computers, their TVs, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some options. Basically, people are looking at content in XS, S, M, L and XL screens. And all these devices are better suited for some kinds of content than others.

So, the question in my head is, will we be able to create one-size-fits-all internet content? Or will we always need to be optimizing content for the various options that are there? And what kind of capacity do we as the non-profit community (often stretched thin for resources) have for that effort?

For  now, I think we are stuck in a hybrid land. And I’m not talking about cars. Most folks are understanding that they need some mobile device optimized content in addition to their standard website. And we are starting to see mobile sites emerge. Need convincing? Take a look at these stats, including the fact that one in four smartphone users makes use of the device as their primary method to go online.

Here are a few things to consider as you dive in:

1.    Look at your data. Of your current content, what can you already tell about the content you offer? What pages get the most mobile hits? Can you offer those pages in a format that better fits mobile devices? Which systems are driving the traffic you see? This should be a starting point for mobile optimization. See a good overview of general trends here.

2.    Think about what just makes sense. Perhaps your organization collects donations of food or clothing. You want to make sure people can find out what your organization needs and when and where they can drop it off while they are out running their errands. Or maybe you host some runs, make sure people can see the events and sign up easily or that friends that want to cheer them on can get to a route map on the day of the event.

3.    Get ready for mobile giving. A lot of non-profits already offer a “text to give” option and they also offer a donation form on their website. What they might not yet offer is a donation form that is has a layout that works for your phone. Check out this great example (best viewed from your mobile device of course!) from the Humane Society of the United States.

4.    While you are at it, prepare for mobile advocacy. You know it’s just around the corner too. People want to do things on their phone that they already do on their computers. In fact, while passing time waiting for the bus to come or sitting at the doctors office, they just might take an action they might otherwise have not made time for. Some good thoughts mobile advocacy are here and here.

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