For most people, mobile apps have become a major part of everyday life. People use mobile apps to do just about anything we can imagine, including to read news, chat, connect with friends and colleagues, and plan events. Associations can take advantage of many of these functions by getting their own custom-branded app.
There are numerous features that make a mobile app an attractive proposition for an association, particularly its function as a powerful membership engagement tool. Associations can use mobile apps to share news and information about the association, which can be sent directly to members through notifications or seen when a user is browsing through content on the app. Mobile apps can serve as a communication platform, where members can connect with colleagues and discuss ideas. Mobile apps can even provide timely reminders for membership renewals and events or meetings.
Associations that have a mobile app can expect several advantages. Likely due to the ease of use and availability of the mobile app, members who use the app are able to be more active in the organization than those who only use a traditional website. Since members who use the app can stay informed of relevant news and information, the members feel like they can have an impact. Members who stay informed through association mobile apps also report more satisfaction with the association. For associations seeking to increase involvement of young professionals, it is important to note that users who engage organizations using mobile apps tend to be younger than the average association member.
When determining the design of a mobile app, an association should consider factors that affect ease of use. The app should use intuitive mobile conventions in its features, flow, and navigation scheme. To keep the mobile app easy to use, also consider streamlining content and only including features that members will use most often, such as news and updates, connecting with colleagues, and discussions.
Associations that decide to develop a mobile app need to be aware of potential costs that may not be included in the original development plan. Some app platforms can easily be published across multiple mobile device platforms, while other apps do not. While integration with the association’s online community may be appealing, this will result in increased cost to setup and maintain. Some apps allow an organization to publish updates to the app, while others require the development firm to make any changes, which can lead to greater costs to modify the app for multiple device platforms.
Custom-branded mobile apps make a lot of sense for associations that value member engagement. An easy-to-use app can provide a platform for the association to inform and connect with members, resulting in increased member satisfaction. If an organization decides to develop of custom-branded membership app, it should understand what it is purchasing and any potential costs to update and maintain the app.
For questions or more information about valuable tools for associations, contact Eric Hittle or one of our nonprofit specialists at 301.231.6200.