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How to make website mobile friendly for your nonprofit

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

The key to a successful nonprofit is testing and utilizing all resources available at your disposal. The mobile device use is taking over. In 2008, 80 percent of digital media engagement was on a desktop or laptop computer, compared with only 12 percent on a mobile device. By 2020, not only has overall digital media consumption nearly doubled, but more than 75% percent of all digital media consumption is on mobile. 

Google has indicated that they show mobile-optimized websites higher on mobile searches and 42% of people use mobile exclusively as their primary research tool.  Having a mobile friendly website can give your organization an SEO advantage over your competition. Today’s donors have gone mobile too and are increasingly willing to give through mobile devices.

Mobile isn’t the future — it’s the present. You can reach out to your potential audience effectively presenting you with an immense opportunity to connect with your current and prospective audience and donors.

Why should your nonprofit have mobile friendly website?

Although as a nonprofit you are catering to a greater cause, at the core, you are still a business and therefore, want to embrace the shift to mobile devices, and create mobile friendly sites to better engage as the competition for resources is fierce and donors’ attention spans are shrinking.

The web—that is, the browser is already built into your smartphone and tablet—comes fully equipped with search, email and social media. It all just works. Still, organizations continue to spend a lot of money building device-specific apps. Usability expert Jakob Neilsen says, “A few mobile apps do get frequent use, ranging from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to the Weather Channel. But most businesses can't realistically aspire to enter this category.” In the end, it’s easier to build for the web and make it mobile friendly which ensures that your website will work on every web-enabled gadget, no matter which operating system.

So what exactly is mobile friendly website?

A mobile-friendly website is one that is designed to work the exact same way across devices(Tablets, iPad or smartphone). The text is easy to read, the site is easy to navigate, and it’s easy for someone to find what they’re looking for. The website is literally the same across the board, with no usability concerns regardless of the device on which it is being viewed.

An effective mobile friendly site encompasses design, content, and messaging into all channels used for marketing and fundraising – websites, emails, appeals, events, blogs, and social media.

How to create mobile friendly website?

  •  Start with the right design

Your website needs to detect the screen size and render the right structure. For example, on a computer a site will be rendered as following:

While, opening the same website on a mobile device would render as following:

You have a few options when it comes to creating a mobile-friendly website.

1. Responsive design: This is the most common way to make your website mobile friendly. With this option, your desktop website adapts based on the width of the browser that is accessing the site.

Key features of responsive design:

  • Static content that doesn't change or modify

  • Simplified navigation

  • Images display smaller

  • Not reliant on a mobile operating system to function properly

2. Adaptive Design: In case of adaptive design, your website design and content are altered based on the user’s device. Adaptive web design promotes the creation of multiple versions of a web page to better fit the user's device, as opposed to a single static page which loads the same on all devices or a single page.

3. Mobile Site: This option involves the creation of an entirely different website for mobile users on a subdomain. The site’s structure can be similar to a desktop website, or be changed completely depending on your preference. These should be considered for advanced use cases.

Nonprofits and charities often work with a limited budget, which is one of the reasons why responsive design is the mobile-friendly design option used by most organizations in the nonprofit field. Give your mobile users the information they need from your mobile site by doing the following:

  • Prioritize the information that you want your audience to see first

  • Avoid too many words or images on any page. Keep it clean and simple (around 2-4 paragraphs is ideal).

  • Arrange content (including images and any calls to action) in a single column.

  • Keep Content at a Minimum:

Mobile users want simplicity, which is why website content viewed on a mobile device should be kept to a minimum.

  • Simplify Forms

Nonprofits tend to ask for a good deal of information from website visitors, especially from those who are interested in giving a donation or signing up for a newsletter. Given a lot of your audience are consuming information on-the-go, ensure that you keep the form simple and to-the-point. 

  • Optimize Images And Video:       

Images and videos are a great way to share your nonprofit’s message without cluttering a site with lengthy written content. However, you don’t want to slow down your website page loading speed by overloading your mobile site with too many features. Optimize your images for mobile viewing with the help of the following:

  1. Choose images that are smaller in size (simple pictures work best)

  2. Size your images to work with your website, making sure they are proportional to the rest of your site content.

  3. Compress your images with a photo resizer like this one from PicResize. Simple, free tools like can reduce the size of image files by 60-70% with no notable degradation in quality.

  • Test Your Newly Developed Mobile Friendly Site

When all is said and done, test, and test again. Have everyone in your organization take out their mobile devices and access your website. Gather feedback from your teams and track any issues and resolve immediately.

And last but not the least, have fun while creating it!

All the work you put into making your site mobile-friendly can pay off in the long term. Giving attention to this important detail now, will pay off in building your nonprofit, expanding your brand identity and establishing loyal customers. 

About CLASS Consulting Group

The CLASS Consulting Group is a trusted advisor to the Board of Directors and Senior Leadership of Nonprofits. It is a boutique management consulting firm headquartered in SFO- Bay Area that provides consulting services to senior management and the Board of Directors of nonprofit organizations and offers community leadership opportunities to professionals.

Since 2002 CLASS volunteers have been assisting nonprofit organizations in the SF Bay Area and supporting the communities in which, we all live and work. Learn more about  our missionand story.

Interested in finding more about our services for nonprofit organizations? Simply request a meeting here and we’ll get in touch to tell you all about this opportunity and how our volunteer-run teams are helping nonprofits make the bay area a better place, one community at a time.


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