How to Retain Volunteers and Donors with a Mobile App

by Reece Anderson

Published on August 13, 2014

image article How to Retain Volunteers and Donors with a Mobile App

Scenario 1: You’ve got a big event coming up and the 30 volunteers you had last year has dwindled down to 12. You’ve sent them all emails, texts, and made some phone calls pleading for their help, but during the “offseason,” they went missing! When offering a free t-shirt and a box sandwich lunch isn’t enough, maybe the problem is keeping them engaged and interested in your cause when you don’t have an event for them to work on. Email communication is great, but the obvious problems occur when people don’t read them or the team feels isolated because they can’t see what everyone is doing through emails alone.

Having a mobile app will accomplish a few things for your event and go along way in making your volunteers feel connected to the team and the organization’s mission. Websites like will allow you to build an extremely affordable custom app for your non-profit and then drop in customizable features for events, scheduling, and many more. Imagine having all of the content for the event on your app and then updating it as needed. Also, you can send out push notifications to the team when there are important updates to send out.

Here’s where the magic happens….When the event is over, use the other features on your app to share your organization’s story throughout the year and keep them in the loop by streaming videos, writing blogs, tracking fundraising campaign progress, and many other interactive features. This is more intimate than sending a blasted email out through mailchimp or constant contact. Recent trends show that while emails are still a powerful communication tool, fewer consumers are using it outside of work correspondence.

Scenario 2: More of your donor base is lapsing than you had expected. You followed all of the golden rules of stewardship, but something is missing…You notice that fewer checks have come in and online donations have picked up. To stay ahead of the technology curve, you started a Facebook page and struggle to reach over 1,000 likes…While many of your older donors preferred a handwritten thank you letter, the new generation gets annoyed that you spent money on postage! With all of the competition from global non-profits with 7 figure marketing budgets, you are doing everything you can to engage more people to donate online and tell your story in a way that connects with them. Chances are you send out some regular email newsletters with compelling stories and bullet points about the cause, and I would bet that the majority of those are deleted before being read.

Why not try something new? Does your organization have an app? Thanks to they are very affordable and easy to build. I’ll bet your volunteer and donor email template is more difficult to create than your app will be to build! When you are out visiting with donors at a special event or fundraising function, have them download your mobile app. You can stream videos, document your campaign progress, and send out push notification for important announcements (Like your campaign ends in a month and you are only $10,000 short of the goal!)