Ministries are now using mobile device technologies their members use every day, to quickly inform their members of important events. Mobile devices are used anywhere your members carry them giving you direct access to their opinions and help when needed. Below are some statistics of how mobile devices are used in today’s connected families:
- The number of smartphone users reached 74% of total mobile phones in the US, in 2013.
- 90% of all American adults have a cell phone.
- 29% describe their phone as “something they cannot live without.”
- It was reported by Apigee that 85% of smartphone users would give up drinking water, rather than give up their apps.
- As of December, 2013 there are estimated 336 Million wireless devices in use. This includes cell phones, tablets, and eReaders.
What 5 questions need answering before you develop a mobile app for your ministry?
Should I Outsource My Development?
Developing your application in-house gives you control over the direction your project takes, but it will also cost you much more time and money than if the project was outsourced. You can still have control over the direction and branding of your project when someone else works on it, by providing input into the development, or you can create an application from a service who knows your ministry’s needs.
Which Devices should I Target?
This answer depends upon your church and those you will be providing the app for. If the majority of your users have Android phones, then you should focus on Androids. Studies show, however, that Apple iPhone users are more likely to spend or give than Android users. Members who use tablet devices also tend to spend even more than those using smartphones. Conducting a survey of your members, to see what they use, may be helpful.
What Should My App do?
You should have a clear plan already defined, in regards to what you want your application to do. You can create discussions via your application, linking to social media, or you can send simple messages out in a flash, for immediate attention. Sharing web URLs to online streaming video or audio of your sermons and messages will give those who are unable to attend the ability to watch and listen when they can. Increase the giving by adding the ability for your members to decide on the amounts they want to give to any of your campaigns.
Can My Ministry Handle the Traffic?
Your preparations will involve having the content available to support the interest, the personnel to engage and help users with prayer requests, someone who can manage the application, and someone who can assist those who need help with the app. Make sure your website is updated and reflects the new app so that you don’t appear to be out of the loop. Scalability should be something that is built into your preparations for launching your app. Inexpensive cloud services are available for building scalability.
How Do I Design the App?.
You should already have the other questions answered, before you get to the design phase of your project. Decisions about aesthetics, functionality, visibility, and similar should have already been ironed out. Going online and crafting your application or having an outsourced partner carry out the work for you will be that much easier with the hard work behind you. Testing your application and getting feedback from your members will indicate whether you should make any changes to your design. Having an outsourced partner who will help you in this area will be key to making your app work for you and your members.