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Humane Society: Mobile traffic grew 138pc year-over-year

“The Humane Society: How Mobile Can Transform Charitable Giving,” keynote presentation addressed how the Humane Society has ramped up its mobile strategy using mobile Web, mobile donations, QR codes, apps and SMS. The executive also stressed the importance of making sure that each part of a mobile campaign is optimized.

“If I tap on a link via SMS and am redirected to a regular Web site, rage kicks in,” said Lara Koch, mobile communications manager at The Humane Society, Washington.

“A big priority for us is making sure that any kind of donation tool or video sends users to a mobile-friendly version,” she said.

Mobile paws
During the session, Ms. Koch discussed the importance that SMS plays in the company’s overall initiatives.

In December 2011, The Humane Society had a database of approximately 27,000.

The nonprofit has been using SMS since 2007 and increased its use over the past year.

The organization promotes the program through advocacy forms in addition to Web and print advertising.

After launching its mobile site – – in May, the organization rolled out mobile-friendly donation and advocacy forms in June and July.

Ms. Koch said that The Humane Society received 16 gift donations in the first half of June that led users to a non-optimized donation form. After the mobile form was rolled out, the organization received 85 gift donations.

The mobile forms made up three percent of overall end-of-year gifts, accounting for two percent of total donations raised.

In August, The Humane Society rolled out a mobile and email campaign in support of Meatless Mondays where users were encouraged to sign up to get weekly recipes via email or SMS.

To opt-in to the program, consumers can text the keyword MONDAY to the short code 30644.

In one campaign, The Humane Society increased its end-of-year donations by 77 percent. This shows how SMS can be a powerful mobile tool to leverage for donations.

Web advancements
Mobile Web also plays a big role in The Humane Society’s strategy.

The goal of the organization’s mobile Web efforts are meant to drive users to places of conversion where they can donate and sign up for programs.

According to Ms. Koch, 6.9 percent of traffic in January 2011 to the company’s Web site came from a mobile device. In December, mobile traffic accounted for 16.4 percent of overall traffic.

Showing its dominance in the smartphone market, the iPhone was the No.1 device that traffic came in on with 4.5 percent of mobile traffic. Android devices generated 4.3 percent.

When delving into mobile, one of the top priorities for The Humane Society was to include its multimedia content.

The nonprofit has also been testing email donations with optimized links that drive users to the mobile donation forms.

The Humane Society also has apps, although it is not a major focus, per Ms. Koch.

HumaneTV is a multimedia-driven app for iOS and Android devices that was developed by the nonprofit as a central hub where users can view videos.

The nonprofit also recently launched an app called Protect Seals that is being used as a digital tool to support its annual campaign against seal slaughters in Canada. The app is currently available for iPhone devices and will be rolled out for iPad and Android devices soon.

Best in show
Ms. Koch also offered a few best practice tips for nonprofits looking to get into mobile.

Timing is key when sending out a SMS message. For example, a campaign for The Humane Society sent out in the early afternoon did better than one sent during the early evening.

However, it is also important to remember context. More news-driven messages might make sense to be sent out in the early evening when mobile users are likely to share the message with friends and family.

The Humane Society has its eyes on developing a mobile CMS wrapper, more SMS testing, mobile advertising and expanding its app line in 2012.

The organization is also dipping its toes into mobile bar codes in the coming year.

“Guiding our mobile strategy in 2012 is the goal to make it as seamless and easy as possible for users to access us,” Ms. Koch said.

“I like data, and I like testing things,” she said.