Accounting for nonprofits changes as times change. Nowhere is this more apparent than in how people shop. Since many nonprofits also sell goods, it’s important to know how shopping patterns are changing and how your nonprofit can keep up to date.
The past decade has seen a complete change in the way people shop for goods and services. Less than 100 years ago, people shopped at multiple, local single stores for items like clothing, shoes, furniture, groceries and more. Then came the big shopping malls, department stores and supermarkets, which promised convenience by gathering many goods in one location.
But the internet changed everything. Now you weren’t just limited to what you could find locally or through mail order catalogs. A virtual world of good was available at the touch of a button. E-commerce was born, changing how people shopped forever.
Because the only thing that’s constant is change, the world is undergoing another shift today: mobile commerce. Like its predecessor e-commerce, mobile commerce relies upon online transactions. Instead of logging in through your desktop computer, however, mobile commerce uses the smartphone or a mobile device to facilitate the transaction.
Mobile Usage Growing
According to the Pew Center for Research, smartphone use is up again throughout the United States. Their research states that 95% of Americans now own a cell phone of some type. Among those who own cell phones 77% own a smartphone. That number has grown 35% since the first survey about smartphone use was undertaken by Pew in 2011.
Many smartphone users access their devices for everything, including internet use, banking, shopping, and phone calls. Some do not have broadband access but rely upon smartphones for internet connectivity. This trend is expected to continue to grow, with more people relying than ever before on their smartphones.
What does this mean for your nonprofit? It means that if you aren’t onboard with the mobile evolution, you may be left behind – and leaving behind those you serve, too.
Accounting for Nonprofits and the Mobile Evolution
As more people join the mobile evolution and become wedded to their smartphones, nonprofits must also keep pace with these developments. This includes:
- Opening mobile-optimized e-commerce stores: A website must be optimized for mobile viewing so that it changes it loads more quickly and with less data usage on a mobile device than it does on a laptop or desktop. This “responsive” website may already be built into your current site, or you may need to update your site so that it is responsive. A responsive site will help your nonprofit sell more, interact better with members, and accept donations via smartphone.
- Create and launch mobile donation campaigns: Accounting for nonprofits includes fundraising. Campaigns aimed at mobile users include faster, shorter messages and other enhancements targeted at mobile users.
- Add apps: Larger nonprofits may be able to afford the development of apps for their constituencies. Apps provide shortcuts for mobile users to your site and may be a valuable addition for improved interactions.
Nonprofits must keep abreast of technology updates affecting their members, donors, and supporters. If not, they are at risk of being left behind and having followers turn to other groups. Having a practical understanding of technology isn’t just a nice thing now, it’s a must-have. And for those working with accounting for nonprofits, an important commitment to the financial health and success of your organization.
Beck & Company
If you struggle with your accounting for nonprofits, Beck & Company can help. We are a CPA and business advisory firm dedicated to the nonprofit sector. Our many years of experience can help you update your financial compliance or handle all types of accounting for nonprofits. Please contact Beck & Company today for further details.