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How nonprofits can get their apps on fundraisers’ phones

Many savvy nonprofits have already taken the important step of adding native iOS and Android apps to their fundraising toolkit. These apps allow fundraisers to track and share their campaign progress from their mobile phones, using an interface and features that are optimized – and in some cases, only available on – their phones. Of course, having these apps is only half the story – they also need to be installed and used on fundraisers’ phones.

Getting app installs

With the hundreds of thousands of apps available for iOS and Android, nonprofits may worry that they will have a hard time getting their apps in front of supporters. However, nonprofits should not underestimate the special bond they share with their fundraisers, who are often passionate about supporting the mission. In many cases, the nonprofit’s existing digital communications channels to supporters – such as email and social media – can be excellent ways to get the word out for supporters to download the nonprofit’s apps.

From the moment an app becomes available for download, nonprofits also need to add calls-to-action to download the app, with links directly to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store (for Android). Beyond piggy-backing on already existing communications to supporters, other places where nonprofits can remind fundraisers to download their apps include:

  • Event registration. This can include directly on the registration thank you page, as well as the registration confirmation email.
  • Inside the Fundraiser Dashboard, possibly with a dedicated section with more info on the apps. Add visually compelling links (possibly QR codes) that can be scanned or clicked to add the Android and iOS versions of the app.

Links to download the apps on the fundraiser dashboard.

  • In print. QR codes also work great as an offline bridge from posters, postal mail and print advertisements to supporters’ smartphones.
  • Smart banners that show up to fundraisers to remind them to download the app

A popup reminder to download the apps.

If a fundraising campaign has a physical event, QR codes and other print materials – as well as staff onsite to help install the app – can not only allow participants that haven’t already installed the app to post status updates during the event, but can also encourage fundraising to continue post-event.

What to expect from users once apps are installed

Our data has shown that active fundraisers that have downloaded a campaign mobile app, open the app on average of about 5 times per month, or more than once a week. So, even if a fundraiser never looks at their web-based Fundraiser Dashboard after setting up their personal fundraising page, with an installed iOS or Android fundraising app, nonprofits can expect that their supporters are regularly checking on, updating and asking for donations through their phones. So all of that work to drive installs can certainly pay off for nonprofit development efforts.


Also published on Medium.