We use cookies to help us provide you with the best experience, improve and tailor our services, and carry out our marketing activities. For more information, including how to manage your cookie settings, see our privacy notice.


Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

We’ve made our member-only resources free to everyone because of the current situation. We think it’s important people have the guidance they need to run their organisations during this time.

If you want to find out more about how you can volunteer to help deal with coronavirus, see our volunteering and coronavirus page.

If you are looking for advice on coronavirus and your charity, please see our dedicated coronavirus page.

Community-made content which you can improve Case study from our community

How to make use of mobile

71%* of Adults in the UK own a smartphone and 36%* of these say that this device is their primary way of accessing web content. So as mobile use continues to grow in popularity, charities need to ensure they are making the best use of the medium. This guide explains how to use mobile in charities to better engage the target audience and gain the best online representation.

(* Ofcom Communications Market Report 2016)

Things you'll need

  • Clear messaging
  • Understanding of target audience
  • Clear purpose for mobile representation
  • Existing website (optional but beneficial)

Getting started

There are many successful mobile websites and apps out there and the charity sector is already making really good use of the medium. But just because mobile is right for one charity, doesn't mean it's right for all of them.

Key points to consider before even getting started on mobile are:

  • Who are your audience? What is their age and how do they currently use mobile? Would they use your mobile website/app if you had one?
  • What do your audience want from you? Why do they come to you and what value do you currently hold for them?
  • How can you improve your offering through mobile?

Understanding your target audience and how you can better serve them will guide the decision on whether or not to use mobile at all.

Ask yourself. Have you viewed your organisation's website on a smartphone? Could a visitor easily navigate their way around it? 


Mobile websites vs Mobile apps

If mobile is right for you and your charity, you'll need to decide whether you want a mobile website or a mobile app, both of which have their pros and cons.

Mobile websites

Generally speaking, mobile websites are the cheaper option for charities moving into mobile. However, simply streamlining your desktop content and putting it into a smartphone format isn’t enough to really engage the end user; good mobile websites will be responsive utilising added functionality, such as pinch-and-zoom, and a restructured  navigation to provide an optimised, bespoke mobile experience. The WWF website is a good example of this. 

Mobile apps

Mobile apps are typically the more expensive option, both in terms of set up and maintenance cost, and for that reason charities must ensure their offering is suitable to an app to get the best return on investment.


Don't rush in!

Take your time to consider your mobile choices. Don't feel pressured to move quickly into the mobile arena; it's a medium which continues to grow and which will be around for a long time yet, so it's far better to take your time and create something truly valuable for the end user.

Taking your time will also give your organisation the chance to get used to the idea of mobile and better understand how it can be used, both on a practical level and also in terms of strategy and marketing.


Comparison of mobile app vs mobile web responsive website


  • App - runs locally with quick loading and fluid interaction.
  • Web - intenet reliance results in slower load and response.


  • App - more investment due to resource and time demand.
  • Web - less investment as it's quicker and easier to develop.


  • App - updated through new versions for user to download.
  • Web - relatively simpe to maintain with instant updates.


  • App - separate versions required for each operating system.
  • Web - easy creation of cross platform and browser versions.

User experience

  • App - made for mobile so smooth, fast and intuitive to use.
  • Web - optimised from desktop to website so less satisfying.

Further information


Page last edited Jul 20, 2017 History

Help us to improve this page – give us feedback.