As an app builder, specifically focused on the needs of non-profits, we hear a multitude of reasons both for and against harnessing mobile apps and technology in general for member engagement. Unfortunately, a few outdated beliefs regarding mobile technology and member usage have lived past their relevance. If you still find yourself believing in the following myths, it is time to change your thinking.
“My members are too old for a mobile app.”
As smartphones become the norm, this statement has become nothing more than a past perception.
In fact, 83 percent of adults between the ages of 30–49 own a smartphone. For those between 50–64 and 65+ years old, it’s 58 percent and 30 percent respectively. Is your member average age above 65? If not, most likely a majority of your members are mobile-ready.
Overall, the total number of adults who own smartphones has doubled since 2011 from 35 percent to 68 percent. As smartphones continue to expand across markets, these numbers will only continue to increase.
If the above stats haven’t debunked the myth, here are a couple personal stats I want to share: three of my children’s four grandparents (all 65+) own smartphones (75 percent). All of them text, email and use apps. One is a FaceTime aficionado, and one may have a slight addition to Facebook.
“Shiny technology is a millennial magnet.”
This subject was broached in a 2014 Associations Now article, and it is perfect timing for a brief rehash of the subject.
It’s no secret device and technology usage is highest amongst the millennial generation compared to their predecessors. However, it would be hasty to assume technology alone will draw millennial users to your association’s newest gadget or app. If your application of the technology results in an experience that is not expected or doesn’t meet their needs, the millennial crowd, like most, won’t return. Focus on building a tech strategy that enhances your organization’s unique offerings. If the technology helps support your millennial members’ goals, it is sure to win.
“We have a responsive website, so our members don’t need an app for engagement.”
According to Flurry, it is an app world, and users spend 90 percent of their time on mobile inside apps, not a browser. With a mobile website, you can successfully maintain a transactional relationship with your members, but engagement is difficult. While responsive does address screen size, its inferior performance (slower) and user experience (no notifications, camera, contacts, location or offline storage) makes your website the wrong channel to use for mobile engagement.
Apps are for the young, the young-at-heart and may be perfect for your members; if the apps support your goals as an organization and provide benefits to your members. How are you using a mobile app to engage your members?