Nonprofit Mobile Advocacy: Four Essential Considerations

| GS INSIGHTS

Advocating for your nonprofit’s cause can mean formal advocacy programs or general outreach to encourage supporter engagement. Regardless of how you’re planning your advocacy campaign, it’s important that you engage as many supporters as possible. After all, you can’t accomplish your mission by yourself!

To engage your supporters, you need to meet them where they are: on their mobile devices. That’s right, your supporters can advocate for your cause from anywhere! 

An advocacy campaign gathers support from other individuals who share similar values and work together to make an impact on a cause they are fighting for. And when more individuals have convenient access to supporting activities, more will get involved, building a stronger community for your nonprofit. 

As you’re planning your nonprofit mobile advocacy campaign, keep the following considerations in mind:

  1. Why are you choosing mobile advocacy?
  2. What types of advocacy activities are right for your mission?
  3. How do you use visuals for mobile advocacy? 
  4. What are the newest online trends? 

As we walk through these essentials, you will learn everything you need to know to get started on your mobile advocacy campaign. Let’s jump in!

Step 1

1. Consider why you’re choosing mobile. 

One of the first things you need to ask yourself when you’re considering a mobile advocacy campaign is if it’s even a good choice. Will your audience use the mobile tools if they have access to them?

To answer this question, you should first analyze your audience. Ask yourself questions such as: 

  • What is the average age of my supporters? If you tend to cater to a younger or middle-aged audience, you’re more likely to have a positive reaction to a mobile advocacy campaign. However, older audiences may be more hesitant to make use of this technology. 
     
  • Have I incorporated mobile aspects into past campaigns? Consider the fundraising campaigns, events, and auctions that you’ve had in the past. Have your supporters used any mobile aspects of these past campaigns? If they’ve responded positively to mobile campaigns in the past, they’ll likely respond positively in the future.
     
  • What segments of my supporters will respond best to mobile campaigns? Your donors should be divided into descriptive segments that provide insight into their interests, history, and engagement. Look at the segments you’ve created in your nonprofit CRM to see which would be most receptive to mobile activities. 

Simply analyzing your audience can provide great insight as to whether or not mobile advocacy is a good move for your nonprofit. 

Many of the top advocacy solutions are designed to be adaptable for both mobile and desktop usability. However, to effectively conduct this campaign, you’d need to encourage mobile usage with well-developed marketing and platform targeting. 

Salsa’s list of top advocacy software can help get you started researching some of the best solutions that allow you to create advocacy campaigns for mobile users. With these types of software, not only can you enable mobile advocacy, but you can also encourage it among your best-suited supporters. 

Step 2

2. Consider the types of mobile advocacy activities.

According to Double the Donation, advocacy is defined as the concept of “public support of a particular cause, policy, or position.” This broad concept allows for a bit of wiggle room in considering what types of activities will make up your larger campaign. 

Some types of advocacy activities lend themselves better to mobile users than others. Take, for instance, the following top mobile advocacy activities:

  • Click-to-call advocacy
    Click-to-call advocacy automates phone calls to local representatives with a provided script, which encourages supporters to easily reach out to the policymakers in charge. The great thing about click-to-call? It’s already mobile!

    Optimize your targeted action page for a mobile screen. This way, your supporters can view it on their smartphones, easily click (or copy and paste) the number to call, and call their representatives all from the same device! 
  • Tweet-a-rep campaigns
    Tweet-a-rep advocacy provides a customized or pre-scripted message that supporters can easily share with their social media networks, thus engaging their legislators while motivating other supporters to join in. Frequently, people check their social media accounts from their phones, making this another great opportunity for mobile advocacy engagement.

    Make sure your supporters also share their involvement in the campaign with their friends and family by posting about it on their other social media platforms. This is an effective way for people to find, participate, and further share their engagement with your advocacy campaign.
  • Online petitions 
    Online petitions can be signed in seconds from any mobile device with an Internet connection. However, it’s important that you ensure the petition is mobile-optimized to make this signing process easier. Mobile-optimization ensures that supporters won’t need to zoom in and out on the screen or scroll extensively from side to side in order to read and sign the petition. 

    Again, you may encourage your supporters to share your petition on social media and with family and friends to spread engagement further. 

Pro Tip: You can find out more about these types of campaigns and examples of the other types of advocacy by reviewing articles like this one. Reading about other campaigns can help your organization decide which types of advocacy actions will be most effective for your mission. 

Step 3

3. Consider the visual aspects of mobile engagement.

Mobile campaigns require more visual considerations than general online advocacy. Mobile optimization of targeted action pages, petitions, and other related pages will ensure effective usability for your supporters. 

How can you make sure your campaign activities are not only usable but also mobile-friendly for your supporters? Look over these suggestions:

  • Investing in software with mobile-optimization built-in. This will reduce a lot of the tedious back-end work associated with ensuring that coding of different pages and tools is set up for all screen sizes. Make sure the software you use has preview options so that you can see what pages look like to users on various devices. 
     
  • Limiting the text on your advocacy pages. Reading a lot of text on a desktop is difficult enough, but when the screen size shrinks, it can be an unconquerable challenge. Limiting the text on mobile pages can streamline the engagement process for your supporters. 
     
  • Include highly visible calls-to-action. At the end of your petition or Twitter message box, include a “submit” button in a different color than that of the background on the page. This makes the next action very clear to your supporters who are actively participating in your campaign. 
     
  • Compress and size images correctly. Large images can be difficult to use on mobile pages because it takes a long time to zoom in and out to view the entire image. Additionally, make sure any images you use are sized well for all screen sizes and are compressed so they don’t slow down the page speed. 

On digital platforms, there tends to be so much clutter that you have to find some way to stand out from the crowd. Ensuring the smoothest process is one great way to make sure your advocacy actions stand above others. 

Step 4

4. Consider the newest online trends.

If you’re going to create a mobile campaign, understanding the current trends is essential. The Internet is constantly changing, with new ideas surfacing every day. Be sure to keep educated about online trends—this way you will be relevant to your audience while creating a larger impact.

You can use these trends to tell the story of your organization and spread the word about how individuals can get involved. Let supporters know about your upcoming advocacy campaigns and how they can make a difference.

Here are a few current trends to consider:

  • Mobile first: Web design experts suggest taking a mobile first approach with your digital content, due to the overwhelming (and increasing) portion of web traffic that comes from mobile devices. Mobile first design ensures that webpages are optimized for mobile traffic, and that your webpage looks pristine on a cell phone or tablet-sized screen.
  • Direct messages: Using direct messages as a method of communication with your organization’s advocates has gained popularity in recent years, providing supporters with a quick and easy way to get in touch with someone at your organization without having to deal with phone calls or emails. This is useful for any simple questions, concerns, feedback, etc. from your audience.
  • New social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the three biggest social media marketing platforms, are great tools for getting your message out there. However, you don’t want to neglect some of the smaller, more niche (and growing!) channels such as Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, or even Tik Tok. 

Along with these three trends, there are thousands of others that you may choose to take part in to gain traction for your cause. Make sure you’re always on the lookout for new trends to take advantage of, as the online world evolves very quickly.

Remember that advocacy campaigns are a great opportunity to spread your mission alongside your regular fundraising platforms because fundraising is another form of advocacy. Make sure your supporters understand the impact that their gift has towards your mission. This takes the act of fundraising from “supporting a nonprofit” to “supporting a mission,” which is, after all, what advocacy is all about.


Mobile advocacy is a great way to reach a broader audience or to better meet your current audience where they are. When done well, it can result in a higher participation rate and better supporter engagement with your cause.