All of us have routines in the morning: wake up, figure out if it's really time to get up, figure out if it's possible to stay in bed any longer...
I used to have a very specific routine on Sunday mornings: this used to involve getting up, contemplating breakfast, watching the Sunday politics shows.
Recently, I've noticed a new habit sneak not only into my Sunday morning routine, but into every morning.
I wake up and feel around on my nightstand for my iPhone. I open one eye and manage to put in my password. I navigate to my four favorite iPhone apps and check them. First, I check the Woot iPhone app and see what's on sale that day. Then, I mosey on over to my Twitter iPhone app and wonder to myself who's already Tweeting this early in the morning. I then check an app that won't be mentioned here for good laughs, and finally, navigate to the new NPR app to see what's happening in the world this morning.
I say this bc I never thought I would turn into a "app" person, never mind that they would become a key part of my morning routine. To date, I have actually purchased 1 song from iTunes. If apps can sneak into my life in such a manner, surely they can sneak into the life of donors everywhere.
Now there are those who will make the argument that apps aren't the be all and end all of mobile and online these days--they provide stats about how many people actually own a smartphone--one capable of hosting applications, and how folks that own such a phone are a very specific section of the population.
This is of course what folks said about email and the Internet back in the early 90's. Smartphones are the fastest growing in sales of mobile phones. And may I note, that if someone has $200 to spend on a smartphone, they are a potential donor I want to be talking to.
There are certainly lots of nonprofits who are getting and already are on the app bandwagon, trying out all sorts of ways to get donors' attention. And apps are expanding the potential for donor and activist engagement, as in the example of the Extraordinaries app, about which I've written here before.
I am fascinated to see which organization's app will make it into my morning routine and why--will it be something regarding the H1N1 during the fall months helping me figure out whether I should even leave the house that day? If I were a pet owner, would it be an app that would tell me whether I should put a sweater on my toy dog that day bc of the weather near my house? Or say I cared about the Sudan, would it be an update from an organization on the ground telling me exactly what's going on that day?
As with everything with marketing, the key to successful apps us relevance. The only nonprofit app that has made it past my relevancy threshold is public radio. But I am sure it is just the first of many.