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Volunteers of America streamlines donations, content via mobile site

Volunteers of America worked with UR Mobile on this initiative. Consumers can access the new mobile site at

“The main goal behind the mobile site is that it is where our audience is, and we want them to find us there,” said Elizabeth Mace, director of online and social media strategy at Volunteers of America, Alexandria, VA.

“Our current desktop was designed in late 2009 so there were lots of ways for us to approach mobile, but we chose to do a smaller version with a mobile site,” she said.

“We want to stay ahead of the trend.”

Volunteers of America is a national nonprofit with the goal of helping people in need live healthy, productive and safe lives.

Mobile donations
This is Volunteers for America’s first mobile site.

One of the main functions of the site is a donation feature. To make a donation, consumers can either choose an amount from a list or by typing in their own amount.

Consumers can then fill out a form that includes credit card number, name and address to finish the donation. Via the form, consumers can also opt-in to receive emails from Volunteers of America.

Additionally, users can learn more about the organization and how to get involved from the mobile site.

The app uses a device’s built-in GPS to find the organization’s local offices. Locations can also be found by entering an address, city or ZIP code.

Each location includes a landing page that lets users contact the office via click-to-call or email. Users can also find directions through the landing pages.

Icons for the company’s social media sites, which include Facebook, Twitter, Google +, YouTube, WordPress, Flickr and a RSS feed are also featured along the bottom of the site.

For a nonprofit such as Volunteers of America, establishing a one-on-one relationship with constituents is critical and social media can be a great way to consistently keep a nonprofit top of mind for users.

“Volunteers of America is pursuing a multichannel and business strategy, and mobile is an important part that ties together their online site with printed materials – it is another touch point,” said Luke Lightfoot, marketing and client services expert at UR Mobile, Oklahoma City.

“It is important for nonprofits to allow their constituents to donate wherever their inspiration comes from,” he said.

The nonprofit’s next priority in mobile is to optimize some of its email campaigns, per Ms. Mace.

Optimize for mobile
Volunteers of America is only the latest in a string of nonprofits mobilizing their Web sites to help consumers connect with their organization while on the go.

Most recently, the American Red Cross revamped both its mobile and Web site to focus more on location and donations (see story).

“It is important that nonprofits have a mobile site in their strategies,” Mr. Lightfoot said.

“Whenever people are interested in looking something up while on the go, they will do a Google search for a company, and if the site is optimized they are much more likely to interact with you,” he said.

“It makes it one less step for their constituents.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York