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They Find You On Their Phones. They Donate On Their Laptops!

The annual nonprofit benchmarking study by M+R is an amazing resource on communicating with donors and, to quote from a 1990’s song, it is filled with “things that make you go hmmm.”

Here’s one.  More than half of nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile users, but three out of four donors use a desktop computer to give you money. 

What’s that mean?  First, there is a little statistical noise buried in those facts. So many more people visit your website than actually donate, so comparing visitors to funders is like comparing watermelons to cherries. Also, the numbers are skewed by donor age and preferences. Most donors are senior citizens, a demographic that is more likely to use a desktop and less likely to pay online.

The bigger message: You need to focus on the user experience on mobile and on your full site. Design your full site first. Make sure it tells your story in pictures, words and graphics. But then look at your mobile site the way the user would. That may mean fewer words, no video and pictures that capture your mission on a small screen.

Looking to the future, mobile online payments will grow and become a more important part of the donor pie. For now, focus on a mobile website that says, “This is who we are” and a desktop site that says, “This is how you can help.”


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