Mobile & Digital Engagement for Charities: Best Practices

Mobile Shift:fundiraising
Source: Neil Moralee

79% of Americans own a smartphone (Pew Research)

73% of younger baby boomers(50-59) own a smartphone (AARP)

58% of Google Searches are on mobile (Searchengineland)

By 2020, Smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic (Cisco VNI)

We are all aware of this mobile shift, yet not many charities and non-profits are successful at capitalising this tech trend, let alone gamification, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, or big data. However, there are some charities, those who are entrepreneurial enough to take advantage of digital disruption and mobile shift are changing the game.

charity: water

charity: water is one the fastest growing charity in the US, and recognised as a disruptor in the fundraising industry with their transparency approach, using 100% of the public donation to their water projects and reporting where the donation goes in detail. It’s what charity: water calls “uncomfortable transparency”.

Their digital strategy has also helped them reach the top of the game. They focus on design as the same way as Apple, Spotify or any other startups do. They have partnered with HubSpot to enhance their inbound marketing, with Buzzfeed(their Tasty channel) and DigitasLBi to create a buzz around their #FightDirty campaign. For them, its’s all about customer experience because brand is experience in this digital age.

Paull Young, Director of Digital at charity: water says in his Mashable interview:

Our belief is that by helping people see their impact, by giving them reporting and a better customer experience than they are used to from non-profits, we think that not only will make our fundraisers become repeat fundraisers, but that the donors will then become fundraisers. That’s why we focus so much on trying to provide an amazing donor experience.


We: Free the Children

Another game changer is WE (the former Free the Children), a Canadian charity who has massive followers of young people, specifically the Gen-Y generation. Their signature special event, WE Day,  draws a huge support from celebrities like Selena Gomez or Natalie Portman: it grabs local news headlines and makes social media buzz every year. As they mobilise young people and students to raise funds or take actions for their causes, they have integrated mobile platforms into all of their digital engagement. Their special app, WE365 and WE DAY App are good examples of this mobile shift and gamification of social activism.

This App is made possible by the partnership with a communication giant, Telus. If your charity cannot afford to develop your own App, no worries. The website is still an important customer engagement platform. It should be simple, clean, discoverable(SEO & Fundraising), and mobile-friendly though. As this Goole report suggests, people’s patience for a cumbersome and clumsy mobile site is waning. You should optimise the donor’s mobile experience by incorporating the following features into your mobile pages:

  • Large buttons

  • One-handed usability

  • Simple & Clean UX

  • Larger Fonts

  • Call to action buttons

  • Short yet engaging content(or story)

Global Fund for Women

What is encouraging is established non-profits like Global Fund for Women are also changing charities’ digital face with their new mobile-responsive landing page and digital storytelling.

A landing page with a one-page donation form, huge “Donate” button in the website header, call-to-action web pop-up, and social media-driven storytelling campaign,  all those provide donors with a quality giving experience and digital engagement opportunities.

Don’t have a budget or senior management’s support to revamp the whole website? Then just change your thank you landing page to invite more donors to engage in on online. See those best practices for your next landing page and start improving your digital engagement today!


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