Here’s the scenario. Your organization has already put a lot of time, resources, and brainpower into developing a mobile app for smartphones or tablets (or maybe you’re in the process of developing this awe-inspiring app as we speak). Let’s say your app distributes content about your cause to anyone who successfully installs the app. That content could be anything from action alerts to campaign updates to a daily photo of a cute baby endangered animal who needs help. That core content is free to anyone who has installed your app, and that’s not going to change. You’ve also developed paid content, let’s say it ranges in price from $.99-$4.99, because you wanted to monetize your mobile apps. That was a fantastic idea on paper, but the problem is that now nobody is downloading your paid content. Bummer.

You’ve already put the development time and budget into developing the paid content, so let’s think about how we can get the most out of it now. If the app isn’t revenue generating, maybe it’s time to view it as a tool to grow your membership and encourage member engagement instead. After all, if you have more members, and you have more engaged members, a bump in donations is sure to follow (feel free to borrow that logic when you explain the change in strategy to your development team).

  1. Recruit new members by allowing anyone to download all of the paid apps for free as long as they provide their First Name/Last Name, email address and mobile number instead of a payment. Use this information to register them as a member of your organization (but be sure you include a notice that downloading the app for free signs them up as a member in your fine print. No need to get legal all up in arms).
  2. Send a text out to people who were members in the past, but have allowed their membership to lapse. Offer them the premium content for free as an added bonus when they renew their membership through your app.
  3. Create value for consumers who already support you by giving them the premium content for free. If someone is already a member of your organization or a nonprofit, they can be verified as such through SheerID’s mobile SDK and get the paid app for free.
  4. Craft a mobile survey and provide responders with the premium apps as a thank you for their time. You can choose whether only verified members can participate in the survey, or if it’s open to anyone.
  5. If you already have a magazine or newsletter that is only mailed to members, offer that content through your premium app as a value-add. It’s possible to ensure that only subscribers, members, or donors can access the content, making it possible for you to advertise the mobile optimized version as a benefit of membership.

These are just a few examples to get the ball rolling. The key concept here is that now it’s entirely possible for you to use your premium content to reward existing members or lure in new members by creating incentives using your existing premium content and apps. Pretty awesome, eh?