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Julia Guthrie
July 23, 2015

Non-Profits and Educators: 5 Reasons It's Time to Go Mobile


8637598848_5d39b2b581_z Everyone's doing it.

Many non-profits and educational organizations have mastered DIY technology to reach target desktops. Apps like MailChimp enable non-profits to get their messages out to the world quickly and cost-effectively. Likewise Google+ and Google for Education foster meaningful collaboration and make effective classroom tools accessible to everyone. But even today, many organizations that really need mobile technology to reach those same targets on the go are still hesitant to take the plunge-- and rightfully so!

A simple Google search of the “cost of mobile app development” yields some frightening results. With traditional app development, you’d be hard-pressed to walk out of the door owing much less than $20,000, depending on the requirements of the app. Not to mention having to wait months on end, by which time your business or goals may have completely changed. It’s easy to see why cash-strapped organizations have been reticent to dip their feet into the mobile pool.

But with 1.2 billion people worldwide using their mobile devices right now, it’s also easy to see why mobilizing your organization is no longer a choice-- it’s imperative. If you’re still questioning whether going mobile is the right choice, read on to see what benefits a mobile app might add to your organization.

  1. Go Where the People Are It’s funny (and scary!) to hear stories about the kinds of things people do while simultaneously buried in their mobile phones. Right or wrong, we are always connected in some way or another through our devices-- so much so that some of us have totally foregone the desktop. Reaching constituents, volunteers, or students is absolutely vital in being able to tap into the worlds where these folks are already active participants.
  2. Foster Connected and Continuous Learning Education doesn’t have to exist solely in the classroom anymore. And in fact, studies show that giving people alternative options that speak to their own strengths and habits yields greater success. Access to mobile learning materials could mean the difference between an engaged or complacent student. Likewise, being able to provide up-to-date content about your organization that reaches potential donors immediately could mean the difference between a donation and a lost opportunity.
  3. Create Opportunities for Meaningful Communication Whether your organization needs a customer-facing or internal solution for collaboration, a mobile app can foster rapid exchange of ideas and information while on the go. Providing a mobile channel for the dissemination of data, updates, files etc. allows users to react and interact immediately, ensuring important items are addressed and internalized expeditiously.
  4. Take Advantage of Users’ Downtime When you’re waiting in line, sitting on a bus-- what do you do to pass the time? Most of us have used our mobile devices to avoid boredom and fill the space between the last activity and the next. While you can’t directly control whether anyone sees your content, you can make it easier for them to do so. Why not give them the ability to connect with your message when they’ve got nothing else to keep them busy?
  5. Access Mobile Technology Easier Than Ever Before With DIY Tools Now more than ever non-profits and education organizations have access to helpful tools they can leverage to augment business and learning opportunities. For example Taplytics allows businesses to do mobile A/B testing without app store updates. Zengine enables organizations to quickly build custom business applications for database management. And AppSheet gives cash-strapped organizations the ability to create effective mobile apps for business, collaboration, learning and more-- code free.

Opportunities abound-- what kinds of mobile tools could you use in your organization?

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