Monday, January 28, 2008

Going Mobile

I've discussed social networking on this blog a great deal, but I haven't spent much time discussing new ways for organizations to communicate with their audiences offline. Outside of printed pieces like newsletters and donation solicitations, what are an organization's options? What are the most effective ways to communicate with donors that aren't sitting in front of their computers?

Text messaging has emerged as a great way to communicate with younger users. The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project recently released a study demonstrating the effectiveness of using text/SMS messages to mobile phones to mobilize young voters in the November 2006 elections.

The fascinating study includes some key takeaways that may surprise some of us who can no longer check the "under 25" box when filling out forms (note that I've made some minor edits to their key points below to generalize their findings beyond youth voting):
  • Young [people] are a very mobile population and are increasingly difficult to reach by traditional ... channels such as telephone calls to landlines.
  • A quarter of Americans under the age of 25 used a mobile phone as their only telephone in the first half of 2006.
  • The mobile-only population is projected to reach nearly 30 percent of the entire American public by ... 2008.
  • Text / SMS messaging is already widely used among young people as a form of communication.
  • 59% of recipients reported that the [text message] was helpful, versus only 23% who found it bothersome.
Another key item I took away from their report was how cost effective Text/SMS messaging was for their efforts. In terms of votes generated, text messaging was less than 1/10th the cost of any other type of effort according to the chart below:

How can your organization use text messaging to reach those who rely heavily on this form of communication? Do you know if any of your key audiences fall in to this category? If they do, do you have their mobile phone numbers and permission to send them text messages?

In an increasingly connected - and increasingly mobile - world, these are going to become critical questions.

1 comment:

Laura said...

It amazes me how fast some people can text messages. I'm rather slow at texting, myself.