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8 Ways Organizations Can Implement A Mobile Strategy

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It’s official – email is more widely read on mobile devices than on desktop email clients. Statistics from March 2017 say that 54% of email is now opened on a mobile device.

While that may seem staggering, Pew Internet found that a whopping 50% of charitable donors are already using mobile devices to access nonprofit websites and emails.

Another 40% of those surveyed used a mobile device to make a donation. Wow!

Pew Internet also found that a majority of young adults, black and Hispanic adults and low-income adults rely on their mobile devices for online access and not on desktops or laptops.

So, the lesson in all of this is that nonprofits need to get on board with the mobile explosion – and fast.

Despite the proliferation of mobile devices and the sheer amount of time that we all spend on our smartphones, too many nonprofits are not paying attention.

And many of the ones that do pay attention to “mobile” think that simply having a mobile-friendly website is enough.

It’s not!

Certainly, ensuring that you have a website accessible on a variety of different screens is a vital first step to a viable mobile strategy for your nonprofit. But don’t stop there!

What Is A “Mobile Strategy”?

In reality, an effective mobile strategy encompasses design, content and messaging into all channels used for marketing and fundraising – websites, emails, appeals, events, blogs and social media.

It’s much more than just making sure that your website looks good on mobile devices!

A great mobile strategy ensures that your supporters are getting and processing your information on their mobile devices.

Success on mobile means that your readers can do everything you want them to do on their mobile device – easily and without obstacles.

Here are 8 ways that your organization can get started implementing a mobile strategy.

  1. Create content designed for mobile.

Mari Smith, Facebook Guru, calls this kind of content “thumb-stopping”, because we usually scroll through our social feeds, text messages, and emails using our thumbs.

What kind of content can you create will stand out and make your supporters stop scrolling?

The types of content most read and shared on mobile devices are:

  • Valuable blog posts/articles
  • Shareable links
  • Key updates
  • Photos
  • Videos

In addition to “thumb-stopping” content, think about your message.

  • Can it be expressed in 140 characters?
  • Can it be expressed in a visually-compelling image?
  • What can you cut out?
  • What can you shorten?
  • Can it be easily shared?
  • Consider how people are consuming information on their phones and mobile devices – waiting in line at the grocery store, while watching TV, in the bathroom (may seem gross, but it’s happening!)

More importantly, when creating content, always think about the goal and the target audience.

What do you want them to do?

Who do you need to communicate with in order to get this action completed?

Advocacy actions require a much different message than eliciting a donation, or even an event sign-up.

Think through your goal, determine your target audience, and always create content with them in mind.

  1. Overhaul your long, graphics-heavy email newsletter. Please!

Because many people are going through their emails on their phones, before they even turn on their desktop computers or laptops, your email needs to cut through the clutter and grab attention.

Email newsletters now should function like email blasts – short, to the point and with a clear call-to-action in the middle. They need to be compelling and feature clickable stories.

PRO TIP: If you know that your audience is accessing your emails from their phones, try using a single column template for your emails.

You do not want your readers to have to zoom in, pinch, or scroll across.

Add more info to a mobile-friendly website or blog post and have readers click to access it.

Some great examples of organizations sending out mobile-friendly emails: Pajama Program, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Strong Women, Strong Girls, Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC)

  1. Create your website with responsive design.

You should have one website that functions as the information hub of your organization.

This is your most important outreach, marketing, and fundraising piece of collateral!

Did you know that Google announced a major mobile algorithm update in 2015 that penalizes websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, and it announced it would strengthen the ranking signal from mobile-friendly websites starting in 2016.

A responsive website means one where the information and images adapt to any screen size – from the smallest smart phone to the largest big screen.

More specific info on how to create a responsive website: Three Steps to Creating a Responsive Design For Your Nonprofit Website by John Haydon:

  1. Pay attention to headlines.

We live in an attention economy – competition for attention is fierce, especially in the online and mobile space!

Catchy, clickable blog headlines and enticing email subject lines are CRITICAL. Studies have even shown that including an emoji or two works wonders!

Of course, you want to be authentic to your brand voice, and always be thinking about the target audience. What would make them open a email? What would tempt them to click on a link?

Read more in this great article on the HubSpot blog: 17 Tips & Best Practices for Writing Catchy Email Subject Lines.

  1. Use white space and colorful buttons.

Do not write up huge blocks of text with no breaks.

Think short paragraphs (one sentence) and bulleted lists for emphasis.

Do not make the text too small to read on a mobile device – no smaller than size 12 font.

Make the links easy to tap or click on with a finger.

TIP: The most effective way to encourage readers to click on links it to feature large, colorful buttons embedded into the content.

  1. Incorporate visuals.

One vibrant, eye-catching visual is all you need for great mobile content. Avoid too many visuals as they can confuse people.

When sending out an email with visuals, and when writing a blog post, make sure that all visuals are clickable links.

Social media posts always need a visual (ideally something moving, like a GIF, Boomerang, or a video) in order to stand a better chance of catching attention.

  1. Have a very clear CTA (Call To Action).

Think through what you are posting, writing, sharing, sending via email – What is the #1 action you want people to take?

  • Sign a petition?
  • Donate a certain amount?
  • Sign up to volunteer?
  • Register for an event?
  • Watch a video?

Make sure that you feature one crystal clear call-to-action per email, blog post or other piece of content.

  1. Don’t purchase a mobile app for your nonprofit – YET.

Before you invest in creating an individual mobile app for your nonprofit organization, think about the reasons WHY people download and use apps on their phones.

They use them as resources, to help them, to make life easier, to access email, social media, games, to receive a value-added service (finding the cheapest gas, coupons, Google Maps).

I know that personally, if there are apps on my phone that I don’t use at least a few times per week, I will delete them and free up space. (I still have three full screens of apps on my phone, but that’s another story!)

Ask yourself: What would an expensive mobile app do for your organization that a great mobile strategy can’t do?

If you want to experiment in the mobile app space, I suggest signing up for the free nonprofit app Let’s All Do Good – it can help you access supporters, promote events, and connect with donors, in a space where other nonprofits and businesses are engaging. Take a look at Let’s All Do Good on their website.

It’s Not About You

The first step on the path to an effective mobile strategy is to just do it!

Always remember that it’s not about your organization and what you want – it’s about your audience and your donors. What do they want?

Always make sure you are reaching your audiences where they are – not where you want them to be.

And where they are is on their phones.

This article originally appeared on the 501Social Blog ( by Julia Campbell, one of the speaker of the 6th Social Media Day at UMass Boston

About the Author: Julia Campbell is a digital marketing strategist and online fundraising coach to nonprofits big and small. She is the author of the forthcoming book Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits, and a frequent speaker and webinar presenter. Learn more about her on her website.

Now open – 6th Social Media Day at UMass Boston, May 19th, 2017

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The wait is over. Please save the date for the:

6th Social Media Day at UMass Boston
Getting Serious about Social Media

Friday, May 19th, 2017, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
McCormack Hall, Ryan Lounge, 3. Floor, UMass Boston

Register here

Although Social Media has become a primary communication and information channel for consumers today, many businesses find it challenging to use social media in an effective and sustainable manner. It’s time to fix this and get serious about social media marketing! More specifically:

  • How to develop a social media strategy that delivers measurable, positive, and sustainable results?
  • How to stay on top in this constantly changing environment?

If you want to know more, do not miss the 6th Social Media Day at UMass Boston.  Join us for an innovative conference experience featuring inspiring keynote speakers and multiple interactive break-out sessions. Meet and learn from our keynote speakers below:

Werner Kunz (@WerKunz)
Social Media Scientist and Professor of Marketing at UMass Boston

Sophia Bernazzani (@soph_bern)
Content Marketing, Hubspot

Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar)
Chief Digital Evangelist, Salesforce
Author of “The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence”

Amanda Healy (@Amanda_Healy)
Award-Winning Marketing Leader, National Speaker, and Social Media Evangelist

Eric Enge (@stonetemple)
CEO of Stone Temple Consulting

Julia Campbell (@JuliaCSocial)
Principal of J Campbell Social Marketing
Author “Storytelling in the Digital Age?”

Elizabeth Carr (@EJordanCarr)
Director of Communications & Marketing,
MAB Community Services and Consultant

Angela Pitter (@angelapitter)
Founder and CEO of Live Wire Collaborative

Georgina Cannie (@GeorginaCannie)
Community strategist, The Community Roundtable

Amma Marfo (@ammamarfo)
Writer, Educator, Podcaster, + Persistent Creative

Brian Mahony (@BrianMahony)
Managing Director, Compelum

Jason Muth (@Jason_Muth)
Interactive Sales + Strategy Director
Beasley Broadcast Group

Read more about our speakers here.

Please stay tuned and like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and use our hashtag (#UMBSocial). Please help us get the word out and promote the Social Media Day in your channels and circles!

Contact us today with any questions. If you are interested in collaboration with the Social Media Days, please contact me regarding sponsorship opportunities.

We hope to see you at the Social Media Day on May 19th.

Werner Kunz & The Social Media Days Team

We thank our generous sponsors and partners for supporting this event

Impression from the last Social Media Day

Disclaimer: This event is hosted by the digital media lab at UMass Boston and organized by the Digital Media & Marketing Institute Boston. To request disability-related accommodations, including dietary accommodations, visit

Please be advised that photographs will be taken at the event for use on the conference websites, online channels, in the press, marketing materials, and all other university publications. By entering this event, you consent to the event photographing and using your image and likeness.

By registering to the event you verify that you would like to be added to our email list and that you will now allow the event organizer and their partners to send periodic information pertaining to the event or related promotions. Please remember you can unsubscribe at any time by sending an e-mail to or the sending e-mail with “remove” in the subject line or using the unsubscribe button in the mail.

Thank you for the success of 5th Social Media Day

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Thank you to all the people that made the 5th Social Media Day at UMass Boston so special. Let’s keep on moving and please keep in touch.

UMass 5th Social Media Day

7 Reasons Why LinkedIn Should Become Your New CRM

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guest post by Neal Schaffer

Many companies invest in using a customer relationship management tool, or CRM, such as Salesforce. But there’s a free tool at your fingertips that you need to take advantage of: LinkedIn. LinkedIn has plenty of functions like searching and tagging that allow you to keep track of and maintain your professional relationships, sometimes better than CRM tools that are already out there. After collecting boxes of business cards for many years, I decided it was time to take the plunge and use it as my CRM. In this week’s episode, I explain why you should do the same.

Neal Schaffer (2)

Neal Schaffer is author of the best-selling Book “Maximize your Social”, global social media speaker and also organizer of the Social Tools Summit in Boston.


Meet #umbsocial Speaker – Robert Bochnak

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the Tufts University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. For the past two years, I’ve managed social media—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram—for the Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Alumni Office as an Assistant Director of Alumni Marketing and Communications. Before HBS, I was a Senior Writer and Communications Manager for the Tufts University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Along with managing social media for the school, I was the co-editor-in-chief and contributing writer of Alma Matters, the magazine for Tufts arts, sciences, and engineering (AS&E) graduate alumni, editor of Graduate E-News, the e-newsletter for AS&E graduate students, and project manager for a number of GSAS marketing materials. I was also the editor and writer of Grad Matters, the blog for GSAS alumni.

In my free time, I like to hang out with my children and wife, play golf (poorly), and write about social media through my blog, Social Media Matters.

Bobpic2When did you start to work in social media?

I began my social media work in 2010.

How does a typical work day of you look like?

Each morning, I typically “run my numbers.” This involves reviewing alumni social media activity from the previous day and adding this information to my tracking sheets (for more on tracking sheets and its relationship to social media ROI go to Once I complete this process, I spend the rest of the day reviewing my Twitter lists looking for engagement opportunities, pushing out questions to our alumni on Twitter, posting content on Facebook and LinkedIn, and conducting social media research.

Do you have a role model in social media. Someone who inspires you?
I wouldn’t say I have social media role models, but I do appreciate people who pursue creative projects in this area. A perfect example of this is my colleague Allison Matherly from Texas Tech University. She helped spearhead the #IAmARedRaider project which I’m a HUGE fan of.

What is the hardest thing about social media?

Being okay with failure. I do a lot of experimentation on social media and sometimes my strategies work and sometimes they do not. But even when I fail, I try to learn something from the process so I increase my chances of success the next time around.

What do you see as some up-and-coming trend in social media?

An increased focus on big data in social media. I’m not sure what this will look like but it seems like a likely direction.

Did you make any social media mistakes in the past or is there anything you would avoid in future?
Yes, I’ve definitely made mistakes in the past! I’ve actually blogged about a few of them at and

To be successful in social media, you need to ….?

Take chances and always be willing to try something new.

What is your favorite book and why?

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s a terrific read.

What is your favorite quote?


“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” –Albert Einstein


“I AM AN F.B.I. Agent!” –Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) from Point Break

What is your favorite movie and why?

Shawshank Redemption. Great dialogue, great music. Let’s just say it gets REAL dusty at the Bochnak residence when Red and Andy reunite at the end of the film.

Where can we find more about you and you work?

You can learn more about me on LinkedIn at and by reading my blog, GradMatters, at