“A Lively Experiment,” a popular 24-year-old local political roundtable TV show on air through Rhode Island PBS, is also available through YouTube on a mobile phone, tablet or computer. Such on-air programming is in demand in online platforms for mobile distribution, says Molly Garrison, Rhode Island PBS director of development and external affairs.
So the Providence-based nonprofit is doing its own redesign of its website so it will be “responsive” on mobile devices – that is, adaptable on different platforms without losing functionality.
“Television is likely here to stay,” said Garrison, citing a 2013 Accenture study that shows 70 percent of full-length show viewing is still on television. “It’s just that it is not the sole way to view shows. People tend to gather around a TV screen for that shared experience. Viewing around a computer or phone tends to be more of a solo experience. As we migrate to a more user-friendly platform, we’ll be driving people there.”
Rhode Island PBS is one of several nonprofits that find connecting with their audience on smartphones and tablets is key to building their audiences – and not just viewers, members or volunteers but donors as well.
“We want people to be able to donate from their phone,” said Ruth Meteer, the communications director for the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. “It’s something all nonprofits have to think about now. Cash is less common in people’s pockets. Nonprofits need to give people the opportunity to support us when they feel the desire to support us, rather than making them do it later, when it’s not top of mind.”
Sarah Kessler, a feature writer for technology-news website Mashable, noted that, “according to some projections, mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop usage before 2015. In preparation, companies are developing new mobile-commerce platforms, strategies and marketing efforts.”