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Is the Humane Society the First Nonprofit to Link to a Mobile Website in a Group Text Alert?

May 16, 2011

[tweetmeme] Over the last 18 months I have subscribed to over 50 nonprofit text alert campaigns from a wide variety of organizations, but it wasn’t until this past April 28th that I finally received a text alert from a nonprofit that linked to a mobile website:

That the text came from the Humane Society of the United States was not surprising. They were also one of the first nonprofits to utilize Myspace back in 2005 and Facebook Groups in 2006. They know the importance of being an early adopter. That said, the link in the text, when tapped, opened this mobile-optimized web page:

Inside of their new mobile website (

Why is this so important? Because up until April 28th all the nonprofit text alerts (which included links) I had been sent over the previous 18 months from those 50+ nonprofits only linked to desktop websites – which more often than not can not be read on 2-inch smartphone screens. For example, and as much as I love Sea Shepherd and appreciate their effort to be an early adopter in group text messaging, so far all of their text alerts have linked to their desktop site. The most recent was received on April 26:

The link (smart for tracking click-through rates) then opened their online store – a desktop version (

It took almost four minutes to download the store on my mobile browser because it was designed for fast desktop shopping, and of course it would be almost impossible to actually buy anything from their store on my smartphone. They also have a new iPhone app, but it too only links to their desktop website. As they continue to pioneer the Mobile Web, I hope a new mobile website is high on their To Do List. They are close. Very, very close. 🙂

All that said, just nine days after the text from the Humane Society, on May 7th I then received my second text alert from a nonprofit that linked to a mobile website:

This time from the World Wildlife Fund (

Now, when two of the largest animal welfare and conservation organizations in the world coincidently make significant progress in their group text messaging campaigns within two weeks of each other, that’s definitely a trend alert. If you want to be one of the nonprofits to reap the benefits of early adoption, the time to launch a mobile website and group text messaging campaign is now.

Finally, that the three nonprofits listed above are all related to animal rights, animal welfare, and conservation is telling. After six years of spending 40-50 hours a week on social networking sites, I now consider myself an animal activist. These organizations and others like them, through social media, have made me aware of the plight of our world’s wildlife and as a result, have changed my consumer and donor behavior. I now give a lot more than I used to, and primarily to animal organizations. And apparently, that’s not unique to me. In the Giving USA 2010 Report, donations to animal and environmental organizations is one of only two sectors that grew and I believe its due to their excellence in utilizing the Social Web. It appears they are now well on their way to pioneering the Mobile Web and mobile fundraising as well. That said, I don’t know if the Humane Society is the absolute first to link to a mobile website in a text alert, but I know they are definitely one of the first. I’d love to know of others?

Related Links:
Webinar: How Nonprofits Can Successfully Utilize Mobile Websites, Group Texting and Text-to-Give Technology
Five Must-Have Characteristics of Nonprofit Mobile Websites
Four Reasons Why Nonprofits Need a Mobile Website
Don’t Think Social Media Results In Online Donations? Think Again!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2011 8:53 am

    I, too, am not surprised to learn that the Humane Society is once again trying new things with social media. I like that the WWF linked to a specialized mobile site with a direct call to action that is quick to load and easy to know what they want you to do. One trend I’d love to see more of are specialized mobile pages that are optimized for mobile campaigns, since the mobile screen is so small. A direct call to action from a customized mobile page would probably return good results, and that would be fascinating to read about if a nonprofit were to A/B test specialized mobile campaign pages vs. regular web pages.

    Thanks for highlighting what you’ve seen on your phone!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      May 16, 2011 11:42 am

      Thanks Debra. I want to see more mobile pages too. It shocking few nonprofits actually are even experimenting with mobile. It’s so inexpensive to do now… I don’t think that myth has been shattered yet. 🙂

  2. May 16, 2011 11:18 am

    Actually, we (the nature conservancy) experimented with pushing mobile web content via SMS three or four times in the last 4 months of 2010. we saw click rates up to 6% when we pushed to good, relevent issue content (such as the Gulf Oil Spill).

    Fundraising content didn’t do so well (obviously), but not so bad that we aren’t continuing to test.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      May 16, 2011 11:40 am

      Thanks Evan. Curious if you have any plans to create a “Text-to-Give Now” mobile pages, like:

      That you can then send to your mobile lists? Mercy Corps is the first I know that that has done it, but they don’t have a mobile website. Just one mobile web page. If so, please let me know how it goes. I have promoted your mobile website quite a bit on my blog. Definitely an early adopter, but I didn’t see a way to subscribe to your group text alerts?

      • May 17, 2011 3:28 am

        both are on our wish list, but we didn’t get the underlying mobile/crm integration bits setup until just this quarter — hoping to get both your examples launched by June. thanks!

  3. May 17, 2011 5:42 am

    Popping back in to say that I just read an article about native web apps vs. mobile apps. According to this article: The author, a mobile strategy analyst, states ” Furthermore, we’re seeing over 30% higher conversion for iPhone native app customers vs. mobile web customers. Therefore it’s imperative to have a well-designed, transactional app for those customers that want to use it. It also makes sense to drive users to that app to try to increase conversion overall.”

    Seems quite relevant to your blog post and this conversation!

  4. June 5, 2011 7:02 am

    We, Vaya Mobile, have been working with and they have been including links to their mobile site on a regular basis from their text messaging alerts. The key is to link to new and relevant content – the more you are able to target the audience with the alerts, the better. They have also implemented a smart redirect from the web site to their mobile site ( to help drive mobile traffic.

  5. June 20, 2011 9:18 am

    Thanks for this Heather! We (HSUS) hired a mobile manager a few months ago to prepare ourselves for the mobile shift, and I think it was a really good move.


  1. Three Ways Nonprofits Can Pioneer m-Advocacy « Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits
  2. KU Social Media » Project 2 – Jennifer Edwards & Bethany Hoppenthaler: Humane Society uses social media to build relationships, funds

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