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January 11, 2010 

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Despite the smartphone craze, non-profits with mobile apps are still rare. That will start to change in 2010. Heather Mansfield, a social media consultant who writes the popular Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blog, says we can expect larger non-profits to officially launch mobile apps this quarter.
Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blogger Heather Mansfield

Heather envisions a mobile app with a GuideStar database of non-profits that would make it possible for people to donate to any org at any time. A receipt would automatically be e-mailed along with a customized thank you letter. At year's end, givers could print out all their donation info on one page for tax purposes. Heather, here in her office in Springfield, Missouri, says non-profits can also use mobile programs that would update users on breaking legislative news and allow them to add their names to an online petition or dial their local representatives with the touch of a button.

Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blogger Heather Mansfield holding her dog

Cost has been a main barrier to non-profits thinking about mobile apps. Custom ones can cost $10,000-$50,000 and take a year to develop. The influx of new vendors and do-it-yourself app building programs are beginning to drive costs down, and Heather says it's possible to launch a mobile website, texting campaign, and a very basic iPhone app for $50-100 per month. CFOs, don’t salivate just yet. She says it's unlikely that people will be willing to pay to download non-profit apps.


Jeff Morgan, CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute

On Jeff Morgan's first day as CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute in Jan 2008, he gave a presentation to a group of member corporate investor relations professionals. One stood up and asked why the association did not support those in-between jobs. From there, Jeff got the idea to offer up to a year of free dues to members who've lost their jobs, allowing them to stay current with industry news and access job listings. The board approved in March 2008 and the majority of NIRI's 31 chapters signed on, too. "If you're a member, you're part of a family," Jeff says. "As a family, you just don't jettison people when they're in transition."

Jeff Morgan, CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute

To apply, members must detail their employment history and sign a form saying that they will continue paying dues as soon as they find a job. If they are still unemployed after a year, they can re-apply. Marketing and membership VP Mike McGough says 130 of NIRI's 4,000 members have taken advantage of the free dues, which otherwise cost $550 annually and are often paid for by employers. Of those, 10% have found jobs and started paying. Though the association had to dip into its reserves last year, Jeff and Mike hope that the program will hook those members, especially the younger ones, for life. The association plans to continue the offer indefinitely.


Association of Corporate Counsel president Fred Krebs

When Association of Corporate Counsel prez Fred Krebs moved to DC in 1975 to work for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, his first paycheck went toward rent. The second? Toward a camera. Fred has been taking photos on vacations and business trips ever since for the 25,000-member association. We snapped our own pic of Fred at his first photo exhibit and reception Friday at Penn Camera; we saw his photos from Mexico, Newfoundland, China and beyond.


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