Nonprofits: Keep Calm and Mobile Friendly | Beth's Blog

Nonprofits: Keep Calm and Mobile Friendly

Digital Strategy

Click to Test Your Web Site Now

Is your web site mobile friendly?  Starting April 21, dubbed “Mobilegeddon”, Google changed the search results and will show mobile friendly sites in search results (while using your mobile phone).    You can test your web site here and find out if you passed the test and if you flunked it, there is some advice on what and how to fix it.  My colleague Amy Gahran, a mobile expert, has an analysis here.

My blog passed the test!   For years, I have been monitoring my mobile traffic numbers, asking myself that dreaded question – is it time to include mobile in my next site upgrade.  By 2012, about 20% of my audience was reading my blog through a mobile interface, either tablet or smartphone.   I had started to receive emails from readers complaining that my blog did not look good on this mobile device or that mobile device.  So, that’s why in 2012 I opted to invest in the programming time for responsive design.  What that means is that my blog is now smart enough to figure out what type of browser you’re using to read and then serve it up in a format that looks good on your device.

I didn’t do it myself — the credit goes to web developers,  Rad Campaign and their team for doing the heavy lifting.    Any web development company working with your nonprofit should be talking to you about mobile design and incorporating that into your design upgrades.    Those of you have sites that have not been overhauled for awhile (and you know who you are), you are over due!    Start planning for your web design.

I queried a few colleagues for advice.  Here’s what I learned:

Don’t Panic, Check Your Google Stats:   Ari Sahagun, web designer, suggested know your audience first.   She says that Google Analytics will give you a crystal clear picture of how many visitors are using mobile phones.  “You can see how many of those people leave the site quickly. That kind of data can ground an argument to a website redesign and use numbers (ex. lost potential donors) to justify the cost.”

Acceptance: Mobile Design Should Be Standard Part of Your Nonprofit’s Web Site Design: In this round up of expert nonprofit advice on web design, Jessica Dally, says “If your site is old enough that it isn’t mobile friendly it’s due for an overhaul anyway as it is, without question, horribly out of date and not simply because it’s not mobile friendly but because it was likely designed many years ago. Has your nonprofit or business not changed at all in that time? Then like your website, your nonprofit is going the way of the dodo.” In other words, a mobile web site should be part of your integrated digital strategy and Cindy Leonard, Bayer Center, says that you will most likely be paying a web designer even if you need to tweak a word press theme.  Says Madeline Turner from Blackbaud, “The Future Is Here

Take the Test, But Don’t Freak Out If You Flunk: John Kenyon, a nonprofit technology consultant, was the voice of calm.  He gave these simple, practical action steps – echoed by other web consultants.  John Haydon offers some step-by-step visuals on how to do it:

1. Test the site
2. Note the feedback as to what is not working
3. Meet with the person who built your current site & discuss the findings
4. If website person is not around/available, ask local folks in your org network who they use/recommend.
5 Interview several of them, get quotes, make a choice, budget for it (consider a fundraising campaign around it)
6. Work the project plan.

Do Your Mobile Friendly Web Redesign in Phases: Demetrio Cardona-Magigad, LimeRed Studio, a web development firm that works with nonprofits says phasing is important.  “What most nonprofits don’t know is that the range for a site build or even making it mobile friendly depends greatly on what you want it to do–what features need to be implemented and how.”  He advises nonprofits to accept the fact that your web site will eventually need to be responsive or have a mobile friendly solution.   Second, he suggests looking at your analytics and understanding how mobile visitors are using your site and adapt sections gradually if you are on a budget.  He says above all, he user flow for mobile should be consistent.  “No one wants to browse a partially responsive site on their mobile, get really excited to donate, sign a pledge or act only to find out the action pages are not mobile friendly. It defeats the purpose.”

Make Sure Donation Pages Are Mobile Friendly: Drew Barnard, Action Sprout, warns about not forgetting to mobile optimize the donation process and donation pages.  He notes that roughly 70% of ActionSprout actions are completed on mobile devices. And just as importantly, he notes, action takers who then go on to make donations are also on mobile devices.  He shared a write up of strategies for converting donors from mobile.

When I queried professional colleagues for their advice on Facebook,  Amy Sample Ward mentioned that NTEN’s site failed the test.   However, she was not surprised as they discovered this issue a year ago with some internal testing and have been working on a web design launch over the past few months.  “We’re launching the brand new NTEN website next month! We have over a third of our visitors coming to the site on mobile so making the site as accessible as possible is critical for us. Alternatively, we’ve ensured that conference microsites and our community platform are mobile friendly so those are already passing the tests and will continue to do so after the new site launches.”

You can hear about Amy’s experience and her advice to nonprofits this Friday on Nonprofit Radio (which has a web site that is not mobile friendly).   This show should be jam packed with great advice!

Is your nonprofit’s web site mobile friendly?    What is your strategy for making mobile an integrated part of your digital strategy moving forward?

12 Responses

  1. I’ve been outed! I know is not mobile-friendly. I had hoped to keep it a secret until we can assess the proportion of visitors who access on a mobile device. Thanks for the kick in the ass!

  2. Beth says:


    Hey – you got one of the best experts on this topic on your show on Friday – so you can get some good advice from Amy!! And it will be of enormous value to your listeners .. win win

  3. […] Nonprofits: Keep Calm and Mobile Friendly. If you’re among those who recently were notified by Google that your website was going to get […]

  4. […] Is your nonprofit’s website mobile friendly? I’m not — yet (a whole site revamp is in the works this summer)! New from Beth Kanter. […]

  5. […] to nonprofits that occur exclusively via mobile phone. Here are five pieces of advice from Beth Kanter’s latest blog post on how to be successful in launching your mobile […]

  6. Great post! Even though I think that Googles new algorithmic change is good and will motivate more companies to make their webpages mobile-friendly, I can’t help to feel sorry for the smaller companies or non-profit organizations that don’t have the resources to make their pages mobile-friendly yet.

    Now it will be even harder for them to be seen and it’s bad because after all, relevance is more important than ranking an irrelevant page higher up just for the fact that it is mobile-friendly.

  7. […] לאור השינוי של גוגל: כמה המלצות ספציפיות לארגונים שלא למטרות רווח בבלוג של בת' קנטר. בעיקר: בלי […]

  8. […] not utilize this phenomenon? Is your organization’s website mobile-friendly? An article on Beth’s Blog discusses this […]

  9. […] affect us all. Google is now favoring websites that are mobile friendly. But fear not, Beth Kanter offers some advice for upgrading your nonprofit’s […]

  10. […] Nonprofits: Keep Calm and Mobile-Friendly by Beth Kanter […]

  11. This is what we, Fundlio , are advising our audience too – having a mobile-friendly website comes with advantages such as better SEO, improved donor experience, encouraging social media sharing, and fostering impulse giving.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Great post! As more and more users are surfing the Internet with the help of their mobile devices it is important to make your sites mobile friendly. In my opinion every site should be mobile friendly as the number of mobile internet users is only increasing.