Charities urged to improve websites on mobile phones

The sector needs to make it easier for people to donate using mobile devices, says experts

The Charity Commission has a mobile website
The Charity Commission has a mobile website

Charities could be missing out on donations because they have not optimised their websites for mobile devices, digital fundraising experts warned yesterday.

At a session called The Latest Digital Fundraising Trends, Jonathan Waddingham, product manager at the online donations platform JustGiving, said charities must "think mobile first".

But a straw poll of the room, which was filled to capacity with 145 delegates, showed that only one of the organisations represented had a website that was adapted for mobile phone and tablet users.

And only four delegates said their organisations measured how much traffic to their website came from mobiles.

Waddingham said charities should make it easy for people to donate using their mobiles. "People are finding it hard to give when it should be frictionless, so that in the act of giving there is not a barrier," he said.

"Think not just about designing a campaign for desktop, but how we make this mobile."

Thirty-two per cent of JustGiving’s traffic came through mobile devices in April this year, he said.

The growth in traffic from mobile devices was being driven by social media, he said. In 2011, the site received 4 per cent of traffic from mobile Facebook, but this grew to 11 per cent this year.

He also urged charities to ensure their websites could be viewed properly from desktops, mobiles and tablets.

"Mobile is not going to be the last disruptive device," he said. "Smart TVs will allow people to access the web from ever more diverse places. There is a need for responsively designed websites. I urge you to think – how do we do this responsively?"

Jason Potts, director of the consultancy agency Think, told delegates that they should make sure their sites were user-centred and were geared towards "shaping a unique experience for different audiences".

"Are they on an iPhone or a PC? How do we give them the best experience? What do we know about them and how do we follow up, based on what they have done?" he said.

Michael Hoffman, chief executive of the US communications agency See3, said he was shocked that delegates did not know where traffic to their websites was coming from.

- Read more news and comment from this year's IoF National Convention

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