Need a Quick Mobile Win for Your Organization? | npENGAGE

Need a Quick Mobile Win for Your Organization?

By on Sep 10, 2013


If it’s one thing the Three Key Takeaways point to it’s that the mobile invasion has landed.

This is certainly not breaking news with Smartphone penetration hitting 55% in the US, but if that’s the case, why hasn’t the nonprofit community responded with greater resolve?

The commercial sector has led the charge, and will continue to push the envelope on more personalized email communication, but nonprofit organizations have historically lagged behind their for-profit counterparts.

This is not surprising as there are inherent challenges associated with breaking from a desktop-centric world, but when Boomers – a multi-channel savvy generation – are expected to contribute 43% of the $143.6B estimated annual contributions I prefer to think of this as a lost opportunity cost.

I suspect one reason why the nonprofit community hasn’t fully embraced a mobile readiness approach is due to the necessary resources involved as email and website design is not cheap.

However, one tactic that your organization cannot afford NOT to adopt is scalable email design.

What is scalable email design? First, think back to 1999 when emails were simpler in design, layout, and delivery. Scalable email design is just that, a return to simpler times.

A scalable email layout is readable and clickable regardless of the device size. There is only one version (one HTML file) of the email, but the email scales to look great on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. A scalable design utilizes techniques such as:

  • A grid system for alignment and proportion
  • A single column design
  • Larger fonts (at least 14px)
  • Touch-friendly buttons
  • Key information & CTA in the upper left of the email

Two organizations that have recently embraced scalable email design principles is the Metropolitan Council of Jewish Poverty and the PEW Charitable Trust.

Met Council of Jewish Poverty: Appeal

MCJP_scalable example1

PEW: eNewsletter

PEW_scalable example2


Chas  Offutt is a senior fundraising and marketing professional with more than 10 years experience in the nonprofit sector. He joined Convio, now Blackbaud, in 2008 and has worked with more than 75 clients across all verticals to develop and implement acquisition campaigns, fundraising strategies, and integrated marketing programs. Prior to his current position, Chas was the Director of Internet Strategy at American Rivers where he was responsible for the management and execution of all online programs.

Chas has spoken at the Association for Fundraising Professionals (Greater Atlanta Chapter), Convio Customer Summit, NTEN, Blackbaud Conference, Forum One Communication’s Web Executive Seminar, and other public speaking engagements on a variety of topics including mobile fundraising, generational giving, and online marketing strategies.

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