One of the things that bothers me sometimes is hearing the phrase, “We are a Nonprofit”. As if that fact somehow makes it ok not to conduct your operations like a business. Sorry, nonprofits everywhere, regardless of their size or mission, experience competition for the hearts and minds of members and donors. Naturally, then, the key question is this: what must nonprofits do in order to engage and grow their member and donor base? In this article, I discuss how winning the mobile moment with the use of membership software is so critical in order to achieve higher engagement and participation at your association.
Mobility in Membership Software
Some time ago, I read an interview with John Graham, the President of the The Center for Association Leadership (ASAE) which sparked my thoughts here. In the interview, Mr. Graham states overtly that he believes the answer to engagement lies in mobile technology.
Per Mr. Graham, “Mobile changes the way members interact with your organization and how they access the information and resources they really want”.
I believe too that in order to engage your members, you must prepare to offer your members ways to collaborate, share, ideas, and educate themselves where they are at any given moment. I can’t tell you how many times I pull out my phone while waiting at a doctor’s appointment, standing in line at the grocery store, or at an airport. Your members are interacting this way too!
The New Normal of Membership Software
In the same interview, Graham urges nonprofit leaders to focus on mobile as “the new normal” for interacting with members—especially younger, potential members who have grown up using technology. The idea is that nonprofit membership organizations who invest in mobile first membership software to attract and retain members and donors, facilitate donations, will consistently help members to feel like they are part of their member family and more likely have a strong and lasting membership experience.
Association Executives purchasing software today have a key role to play in “Setting the tone” in the new normal of membership software. In other words, Executives need to demand nothing less than “always on technology” accessible anywhere, anytime, any place.
Looking Towards the Future of Membership
Sustainability requires nonprofits to add members and donors continuously. Within that framework, two directions emerge for nonprofit leaders: strategies for expanding their current membership and donors of any age, and strategies that focus on building their future membership and donor base. The intense competition for members and donors—and the attendant barrage of messages that members receive—requires that nonprofits identify ways to keep and attract members and donors by, at the very least, keeping up with best practices and ultimately, finding ways to set themselves apart from their competition.
Mobile First Mentality with Membership Software
Mobile technologies allow the individual to [proactively] seek the content they really want from the organization and not have it pushed to them. So your organization needs to be nimble and flexible enough to make it easy for the individual to seek content from you in a very efficient way. I believe that the use of mobile today is as much a game changer as any technology enhancement in the last 30 years. If you look at the world of computer sales compared to sales in mobile technology, the trend shows a steady drop in computer sales and a rising trend in mobile technologies.
Dues, Donations, & Orders Simplified with Membership Software Mobility
Donations, Dues, & Orders (transactional items) become simplified with mobile technologies. We all saw the impact of mobile technology on fundraising following the terrible earthquake in Haiti. Scrolling across TV screens across America was a number to text to make a donation. That successful foray into mobile crowdfunding was a foreshadowing of the future for the nonprofit world. Marrying mobile technologies and social media has repercussions for nonprofit sustainability, too.
Mobility and Social Media Integrated in Membership Software
Younger people demand to access and share information about your organization easily. Marrying mobile technologies with social media empowers younger members and potential members to do so. Women, who currently overshadow men in the use of social media, are likely to easily integrate your messages into their online activities and forums which they participate in today. Engaged members can be your best advocates in marketing efforts. Without mobility, you are likely losing members.
The Next Step for Nonprofit Associations
Graham points out, associations’ next step is to invest in “technology and messaging platforms.” He goes even further, saying: “they should at least be on the cutting edge if they want to remain relevant with their members,” and adding: “it’s critically important — especially for trade associations — to invest wisely in their messaging platforms.”
At SmartThoughts, we understand that winning the mobile moment is a significant investment. You want to get it right the first time. So, when exploring membership software today responsive design (or event adaptive design) needs to be a primary element present in all solutions today. And, if your nonprofit software does not have it, “Get Rid of It”!
With all the options available, it can be a challenge to find the right fit. Please contact us to see how we can assist you in making a smarter software decision.