Should Charities Be Communicating With Their Service Users Through Mobile Devices?

Research shows that the UK has experienced a massive 4000% growth in web traffic accounted for by mobile devices.  Stats show a huge increase from around 0.02% in September 2009 to 8.09% in August 2011.

CAN THESE FIGURES BE IGNORED?

Data from *Tecmark on UK Mobile Internet Statistics - August 2011 also shows:

• Mobile now accounts for 12.59% of UK Web Traffic

• This figure has increased month on month since March 2010 – 17 consecutive months of growth.

• Apple still accounts for the lion’s share, with 58% of mobile visits coming from iPhones and an additional 17% coming from iPad devices

WHY IS THIS INFORMATION PARTICULARLY RELEVANT TO CHARITIES & THIRD SECTOR ORGANISATIONS?

It’s important for Charities and Third Sector Organisations to reach out to their service users in the right place at the right time. It’s vital to be able to deliver help in “real time” when the person most needs help.

DIGITAL SERVICE DELIVERY FOR CHARITIES THROUGH MOBILE SITES

The number of people accessing websites through mobile devices (phones and tablets) is continuing to rise.  Many websites are not user-friendly and are not displayed correctly when viewed on the small screen of a smart-phone or tablet, hence the growth in mobile websites and apps for smart phones.

At the very least, every organisation should be able to deliver a simplified version of their website for smart phone users.  If running a helpline or other information service, this needs to be fully accessible from a mobile site (for online information and communication, live web chat and more).

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR SERVICE USERS VIA SMS

Many Charities & Third Sector Organisations are already using SMS as a means of communicating with their service users.  Housing Associations are using it for repair updates, work program providers are using text messages to encourage job-seekers to follow through on their programme.  SMS works best when fully integrated in a digital service platform.

SOCIAL MEDIA ON MOBILE DEVICES

When the last time you walked down a street, was sat in a train station or busy public place and did NOT see anyone using a smart phone?  Chances are they where tweeting, updating their status on Facebook, blogging or visiting a website.

Many forward thinking charities are already communicating with their service users socially (through mobile devices).  They realise that their service users will talk about them regardless of whether the Charity joins in the conversation or not.

To summarise, I would encourage every Charity and Third Sector to join the Mobile Revolution, it’s happening all around us. Charities that are already integrating Mobile technology into their Digital Service Delivery Strategy are reaping the rewards.

 

Posted on 4th October 2011, by Patrick Nash, under Charity landscape, Opinion, Technology

Tags: apps, assist, charity, connect, media, mobile, nash, patrick, sector, service, sms, social, third, users